Tender Lemon Cake

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 8 1/2" cake, 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe photo

A maryann cake pan has a well in the top, which provides plenty of space for topping with berries, pastry cream, or other fillings. Try filling with lemon curd, whipped cream, or pudding, then topping with fresh berries or sliced peaches.

Tender Lemon Cake

star rating (9) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 8 1/2" cake, 6 to 8 servings.
Published: 01/01/2010



  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup milk


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  • 1 cup fresh fruit, chopped or sliced; or fresh berries
  • whipped cream, lemon curd, pastry cream, or pudding

Tips from our bakers

  • Substitute lime or orange juice for the lemon juice, if desired.


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" maryann pan.

2) To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3) Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the juice and then the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and beating well after each. The mixture may look somewhat curdled, but will smooth out with the addition of flour.

4) Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk.

5) Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

6) Bake the cake for 34 to 38 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

7) To make the glaze: While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Combine sugar and lemon juice over low heat (or in the microwave), stirring often, until sugar is dissolved. Don't let it boil. Let glaze cool slightly before using.

8) Brush glaze over warm cake, allowing it time to sink into the cake. Cool completely before filling with cream or pudding, and topping with fruit.

Yield: one 8 1/2" cake, 6 to 8 servings.


  • star rating 08/24/2014
  • Monica from DC from Washington DC
  • I made it again by using KAF's cake flour and cake enhancer. I measured everything like I always do and did not over mix, either. I still don't like this heavy cake. I even bought the pan from KAF to make this cake. What a waste of money! So annoying!
    We are sorry to hear of the difficulty with the recipe. Don't hesitate to give the hotline a call or drop us an email if you'd like to troubleshoot. ~ MJ
  • star rating 06/04/2014
  • suerago from KAF Community
  • I've made this cake now twice and it came out beautiful both times. Yes, it is a dense cake, but very delicious and not too sickenly sweet. I do believe that you can shorten the cooking time a bit though--will try next time.
  • star rating 07/07/2012
  • lisaslewisphd from KAF Community
  • This cake takes far less time than stated in the recipe, (and yes my oven is calibrated correctly). After 35 minutes it was already verging on too brown. It was very heavy and dense. The flavor was nice and it was tender, but it has the consistency of a heavy pound cake. I topped it with lemon curd and blueberries and though it was nice, it is not something I'd make again. I'll be looking for a lighter recipe for my maryann pan.
  • star rating 08/25/2011
  • Horibams@hotmail.com from KAF Community
  • My expectation was different from the final product. I thought it was a little firm than I thought it would be. I measure all ingredients on scale, so it is not miscalculation. Maybe I thought this was supposed to be light sponge,but the final product was similar to pound cake. It was still good,but I expected better. Any suggestion? Did I over mix when I add flour, alternating with whole milk? I always pay attention not to do that. How long am I supposed to mix when I add flour and milk?
    We would be able to better help troubleshoot with you on the Baker's Hotline 1-800-827-6836, rather then in this small space! Give us a call, and we'd love to help. ~JDT@KAF
  • star rating 06/08/2010
  • Carla from WA
  • I made this in a glass 8" square pan. I think it got a little too brown on the edges because of that, but it was still very moist and delicious. I did top it with lemon curd and blueberries, but I think it's lemony enough (and I love lemon) on its own to use a non-citrus topping. That's how I"ll do it next time. I took it to a dinner and every piece of it is gone now. Thanks for the fab recipe!
  • star rating 05/25/2010
  • Susan Harrison from Connecticut
  • I make this frequently in the summer months. I flavor the cake with lemon and fill it with a mascarpone-cream filling. I top it all with a combo of steawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries mixed with a little sugar, and topped with a glaze of melted seedless blackberry jam, thinned with a little pomegranite juice. It is yummy! Have also made a chocolate version - chocolate cake, topped with chocolate ganache, fresh raspberries and either a dusting of 10X sugar or a spritz of whipped cream.
  • star rating 04/06/2010
  • Jennifer from Columbus, OH
  • This only needs to be cooked for 40-42 minutes. Otherwise, the crust gets too tough, and the glaze does not absorb. I top this with diced strawberries tossed in lemon juice and sugar.
    Thanks for commenting. Remember, all ovens run differently, so be sure to check for doneness early and often.
  • star rating 01/11/2010
  • Sofia from Santa Maria, CA
  • I used a 8 1/2 round metal mold since i don't have a Marianne...yet. The cake came out wonderful but a little on the drier side. Perhaps a little more milk next time might do the trick. however, i do plan to make it again as my husband ate it all!!!
  • star rating 08/23/2009
  • Shelley from http://blog.thesprouffskes.com
  • A good, dense cake recipe. I've only made it once so far - would definitely check at 45 minutes next time. Used lemon curd, fresh blueberries and powdered sugar on top. Loved the glaze - would probably double next time! Will be making again!