I have a love / hate relationship with lemon cakes. Most of the store and bakery options I've tried have tasted harsh and artificial. No doubt they rely on lemon extracts and flavorings and those do not appeal to me. Even my own attempts to make lemon cake, using lemon juice, have been too harsh. But I'm still tempted whenever I see a photo or recipe which explains why I pinned this beautiful looking cake from Martha Stewart. A few weeks later, I saw that Elyse from The Cultural Dish had made the recipe and her photo was as tempting as the original so I was determined to give it a try.
The original recipe also includes a glaze but I tend to prefer a simpler dusting of powdered sugar on my desserts. I've included the original glaze ingredients in the recipe, though, if you'd like to try it. I will say that this cake also has a very thick streusel layer. You could easily halve the amounts in the recipe and still have enough if you wanted less streusel. Although, actually, I can't think of any reason why anyone would want less streusel... Oh, and Brian still prefers the blueberry version. Enjoy!
For the Streusel Topping:
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 Sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
3/4 Cup light brown sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon (not in the original recipe)
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until clumps form. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the batter.
For the Cake:
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon salt (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Cup sugar
3-4 Tablespoons lemon zest (about 5-6 lemons)
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
1 Cup sour cream
Spoon the batter into the pan and even it out. Evenly sprinkle on the chilled streusel and bake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool thoroughly before removing from the pan.
For the Glaze:
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 Cup confectioner's sugar
Finish the cake by whisking together the lemon juice and confectioner's sugar and drizzling over the cake. Or, leave off the glaze and dust the top of the cake with confectioner's sugar before serving.