This is one of the best recipes I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling my own. It’s just as easy as a box mix, and so, so worth making from scratch. Enjoy this little bit of sunshine!
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1/2 cup sour cream***
1/2 cup whole plain yogurt***
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup separated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 packed tbsp. fresh lemon zest, plus 1 pinch separated (typically 2 normal sized lemons)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt, plus 1 pinch separated
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp, all separated out
1 generous cup powdered sugar
PAM Baking Spray
1. Heat oven to 350*F. Choose a cake pan - bundt, loaf with 4 compartments, 8-9 inch round, etc. I love to use a bundt pan!
2. Combine the sour cream, yogurt, 1 cup granulated sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, 1 tsp. salt, and oil on medium for 30 seconds, mixing well.
3. Add in the flour and baking powder, then mix on low for about 10 seconds to prevent a flour cloud. Mix on medium for 30 seconds. Add in the 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, mix for a few seconds on low, then mix on medium for 30 more seconds.
4. Coat the inside of your cake pan with PAM Baking Spray, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is rounded and no longer jiggly. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean, and you will see golden brown around the outside. Remove the cake from the oven as soon as it’s baked!
5. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes while you prepare a syrup - combine 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Bring to a quick boil in a small pan on the stove, swirling or whisking regularly. As soon as the mixture is clear and starts to bubble/rise, remove it from the heat and swirl it around a few times.
6. While both the cake and the syrup are still hot, use a skewer to poke holes all over the surface of the cake, then pour the syrup evenly over the top! Allow the cake to cool just as it is for 10-20 minutes, then turn it out onto a platter and let it cool completely.
7. Mix 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice with a generous cup of powdered sugar and a pinch of lemon zest. At first, it won’t seem like it’s going to come together, but keep mixing until it becomes smooth, glossy, and fluid. Give this glaze a couple minutes to thicken, then spoon it evenly over the top of your cake. Enjoy!
NOTE: Make this recipe into cupcakes by simply adding 1 extra tsp. baking powder (for a total of 1 tbsp. baking powder)! Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350*F for about 15 minutes, or until the tops have just rounded out and become springy to the touch. This recipe yields about 18 cupcakes. Remove from the oven immediately and allow to rest while you prepare the lemon syrup. When you’re ready, gently remove a thin layer from the rounded centers of the cupcakes with your fingers and carefully spoon about 1/2 tsp lemon syrup inside each one. Be patient. Using a dropper/pipette is a fun way to do this step. From here, you can make and add the glaze OR try a different icing!
*** During development, I made this recipe 15 times and found that half sour cream and half yogurt made the best cake. However, it will still be delicious if you use a full cup of either instead of buying both ingredients. Using all sour cream will make a more dense cake, and using all yogurt will make a lighter one!
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