My Sweet Mama’s Lemon Cake

I loved being pregnant. I mean REALLY loved being pregnant. I was that annoying, always smiling, belly rubbing, eye roll inducing, soaking it in kind of pregnant gal. Maybe it was the three miscarriages that came before, and maybe it was that I was so completely flipping grateful that THIS WAS IT, that my life long desire to be a mother was actually going to be fulfilled.

Those 40 weeks were some of the happiest of my life despite the 17 weeks of torturous 24 hour nausea and despite the twice self administered daily heparin shots. I was high, high, high on hormone marination. And just as soon as I got pregnant, I craved lemon and completely lost my appetite for chocolate.

You know the Starbucks Lemon Loaf? The one with that little coating of hardened lemony sugar glaze? I lived for that but being the crazy vain disciplined bitch that I am, I only caved twice. Yes, twice. In 9 months! So, every time I see that lemon cake, or smell lemon it brings me back to the blissful days of incubating my little boy. This lemon cake is my mother’s recipe. It’s simple, lemony, delicious, kicks Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf’s processed ass and wait for it…it’s made entirely in the food processor. 

My Sweet Mama’s Lemon Cake


1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter (I use Land O’lakes, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup less 2 tbs flour
1 tsp baking powder

For glaze:
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter and flour (or use Baker’s Joy or Pam for Baking) a 9″x5″ loaf pan. Cut a rectangular piece of parchment paper that fits the bottom of the loaf pan (7, 8 or 9 does not have to be the exact size) to prevent the cake from sticking. You’ll be dropping f-bombs left and right if this mother-loving cake doesn’t easily come out of the pan and I’ll be smugly enjoying mine with a cup of coffee. Do it, you’ll thank me after you’re done hating my baking loving ass.

Use a microplane to zest the lemon.


Put the steel blade in the food processor bowl add the lemon peel, sugar and butter and process until well combined and creamy.


Add the eggs one at a time.


Process about 15 seconds after each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.


Fill a measuring cup half with flour, and stir in the teaspoon of baking powder. Add remaining flour. Remove the food processor cover and add the flour to the mixture in the bowl.


Replace the cover and pulse on and off two or three times. Do not over process; that leads to a tough cake. That little bit of flour still on the side of the bowl is a good sign that you have not over processed the batter.


Use a spatula to transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.


Bake in the center rack of the oven for about 25 minutes until light golden brown and springy to the touch. You can also poke the center with a toothpick and if just a few crumbs (but no batter) stick to the toothpick, it’s done.


Let stand for a few minutes and remove to a rack to cool (this part should be easy because you’ve obediently followed my parchment paper instructions).

Roll the peeled lemon back and forth a few times on your countertop to soften the lemon, cut it in half and squeeze the crap out of it extracting the juice. Remove the pits. Mix the juice with the powdered sugar. Put a cookie sheet under the cooling rack or place the cake on a tray and spoon some of this mixture over the top of the cake and continue to do so while the cake is cooling until all the mixture has been absorbed.


Yes, this cake may be a bit more involved, but the processor does 99% of the work and if you want to skip the glaze part do so. I won’t tell (but it is worth the extra effort). The cake keeps well covered in the fridge for about a week, so you can make it in advance.

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar.





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