Spiced Lemon Cake

spiced lemon cake!

When you've tackled 5 loads of laundry, cleaned up Cheerios for the 1000th time after being on hold with the garbage company for 25 minutes, and you're working from home battling Excel spreadsheets to the soundtrack of a little boy screaming "baseball and skateboards," THIS is the cake that you must turn to to quiet the shit storm you've just encountered.

love at first slice

You are worthy. You are capable and you can handle anything now that you have a slice of this cake. Go ahead. You deserve it! The liberation derived from a slice can be compared to the feeling of removing your spanx, pantyhose AND clingy dress with too tight of a waistband and substituting them with a baggy sweatshirt and soft yoga pants.  Finally, you can breathe again.

i love you lemon cake

Spiced Lemon Cake. Spiced? Not really. The cardamon didn't pack as much of a spice punch as I'd hoped. Is it still worthy of being one of the best/simplest lemon cakes? Yes. The glaze provides just enough tang to match the fluffy light lemony cake it rests upon. If you are looking to fulfill the spice aspect, perhaps a full teaspoon instead of 3/4 will do the trick.

Pair a slice with a cup of milky tea, and this cake is absolutely divine.

Crazy day? What crazy day? There's cake!

And we're off!

Here are your ingredients:

rally the troops!

You'll need to zest your lemon.

zest away!

And get all your dry stuff together in a bowl.

dry ingredients

Cream your butter, zest & spice.

the spice....

Add in the eggs- 1 at a time.

egg beating

Get ready to add your lemon juice in.

squeezing the juice

Add it in and alternate with the dry ingredients & the sour cream. MIX!

wet meets dry

Who wants dibs on the beaters?!!

want dibs on the beaters?

Pour it into your lubed cake pan. I used a 9 inch pan and sprayed it with PAM.


Now you are ready to bake that baby.  Take a breath. Smell that lemon cake batter. Taste it?

into the oven

It's out of the oven and you're ready to frost. Add the lemon juice to the powdered sugar.

getting ready to frost

And slowly pour that citrus spiked glaze on top of your cake.


Watch it drip down the sides....


And top with a few zests of your leftover lemon. Pretty!

Spiced Lemon Cake

(recipe from Martha Stewart Magazine)

Makes one 8-inch cake

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, zest, and cardamom with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into cake pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool, top side up. Whisk confectioners' sugar with remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth; pour over cooled cake.

Shutterbean Notes:

-I used a 9 inch cake pan

-I had to add a little bit extra lemon juice to the frosting because it didn't saturate enough of the powdered sugar

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say something
  • October 19, 2010

    Yes, yes I do deserve it ;) Looks delicious, Tracy. Would love a little slice of that with my afternoon cup of tea.

  • October 19, 2010

    This looks beautiful and delicious! I'm glad it brought a little calm to your day, ahhh the superpowers of dessert!

  • October 19, 2010

    I LOVE cardamom! Combining it with lemon in a cake sounds heavenly! I'll give it a try with the extra spice like you suggested.

  • October 20, 2010

    Oooo, some of my favorites there. Lemon, sugar and glaze. Oh yeeeesssss! Now you're talking.

  • October 20, 2010

    Your pics on flickr totally inspired me to make this last night. It's SO tasty but next time I think will double the cardamom.

    • October 20, 2010

      awesome!! And good idea- it totally needs it! :)

  • October 20, 2010

    Ohh, lemon cake is probably my favorite kind! Cardamom totally autumns it up. :)

  • October 21, 2010

    Droooool! This cake looks so amazing.

  • June 2, 2011

    I've made this cake a few times and I found the cardamom wasn't as strong as I would like it so I punched it up a little. It has always gotten rave reviews at the office. Absolutely golden and just right for soothing some shattered nerves too.

    • June 2, 2011

      Good idea! How much did you end up putting in?

      • June 2, 2011

        I think I ended up doubling it. I love cardamom!

  • Lucy
    June 8, 2011

    This cake was amazing. Took it to work where its made me look like a star baker

  • June 10, 2011

    Hi Tracy,
    I took this cake in a new direction this week (check it out at http://onechicchickpea.blogspot.com/2011/06/trapping-sunshine.html). Got great reviews at work, there wasn't even a piece left for me!

  • April 8, 2012

    I made this to bring to easter dinner today. It turned out really well and very moist! I was looking for a spring type dessert that didn't involve chocolate, I am glad I found this.

    I didn't have cardamoom, so I subbed cinnamon, allspice, and a tiny bit of ginger. Next time I will increase the amounts of each just because it was not quite spicy enough for me.

    Thanks for yet another GREAT recipe, Tracy!!!

  • April 28, 2012

    Just made this as a late night treat for me and my love. My goodness it is lemony and delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

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