It’s nothing too fancy, just a single layer lemon cake with a simple powdered sugar lemon glaze that gets sprinkled with lemon zest. But it has appealed to my Dad from the very first bite. Ever since that first bite he has requested it for his birthday, for special occasions and sometimes just because it’s a Tuesday. It’s my go-to cake when I want to make him something special or show him how much I appreciate him.
And believe me, I definitely have many occasions to show how much I appreciate him. Because my dad is not just my father, he’s my best friend, my confidant, and my moral compass. If I’ve got a problem, a nagging issue, or some sort of decision to make, he’s always there to hear about it. Frankly, I’m not sure how he hasn’t gotten sick of me after all these years. He listens to me babble on and on, offers advice when it’s needed, and does all this without making me feel as if I’m being a nuisance. And by doing this, he makes me feel loved and secure, which as I grow older I’m realizing are two very important ways to feel.
And so, with Father’s Day upon us, I wanted to take a moment to express just how grateful I am for having someone as special as my Dad to guide me through this crazy world. Not only is he there for me when I need him most, but he’s also an all-around wonderful person. The examples that he has set for me in how to be a strong, sensitive, giving human being, are some of the most important lessons I will ever learn in my life. It’s hard for me to put into words how important he is to me, because it’s simply just too many words to say.
And so, for being such an outstanding Father, I will make this cake whenever he wants. Love you Dad!My Dad also just happens to be the one who affectionately named this dessert. The original recipe called it simply a Meyer Lemon Cake, but whenever my dad asks for it, he says “Make me that lemon drizzle cake”. And so, I think it’s fitting that after all this time, and all of his consumption of the cake, the name just stuck.
The reason I have been making this cake for all these years, besides the fact that my Dad continues to request it, is because it is without a doubt one of the very best cakes in my cooking repertoire. There’s just something magical about this little unassuming wonder. It may only be a single layer of cake, but it makes up for size in each moist and tender, lemon flavored bite. I love the way this cake looks as well; something reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting the way the icing is splattered across the top of it.
This cake may at first glance not look like anything special, and yet, as long as I am able to cook, I know I will be baking it. And every time I do, I will think of my Dad, which makes it a pretty damn special cake in my opinion.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
A few notes: make sure to use a deep 9 inch cake pan with at least 3 inch sides, or else the amount of batter may exceed the pan. This cake can sometimes have a tendency to sink a little in the middle if the butter and sugar are not creamed until very light and fluffy, and if the bowl is not scraped down often during that process. Using a pan that is not deep enough can cause this as well. I personally don't mind a little sinkage though, and this cake is so delicious that no one else has ever seemed to mind it either.
1 ½ sticks softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with at least 3 inch sides, and place a 9-inch parchment round in the bottom of the pan. Butter the parchment round and sides of pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid, stirring until well incorporated. Stir in the sour cream and blend well.
Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and invert it onto a rack to cool completely.
Make the icing: into a bowl, whisk 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice with powdered sugar adding more juice if necessary until mixture is smooth and glossy. You want the icing to be a bit on the thicker side so that it does not spread across the top of the cake. If it feels too loose, add more powdered sugar until you get a consistency you’re happy with.
*If anybody recognizes the recipe I would love to know where it came from! I can't remember what magazine I pulled it from all those years ago...