½cupsour creamroom temperature preferred; OR Greek yogurt
3tablespoonsfresh lemon juice1-2 lemons
1teaspoonfinely grated lemon zestabout 1 lemon; zest before cutting in half/juicing
2cupsflourspooned and levelled (240g or 8.5 ounces; do NOT over-measure flour! If you have kitchen scales, I highly recommend weighing your flour!)
½cuplemon juiceabout 3 lemons; please measure juice before adding icing sugar
1cupicing sugarsifted if clumpy
1cupicing sugarsifted if clumpy
1-2tablespoonslemon juiceabout ½ lemon
Prep: Preheat oven to 360°F. Line a 9x5 inch (OR 8x4 inch) loaf pan with baking parchment.
Cream ingredients: Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer using the beater attachments until creamy (you can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment). Add eggs and sugar and cream until light in color and fluffy. Add sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice; mix until combined (it's OK if it looks split and scraggly).
Add dry ingredients: Add flour to bowl with creamed ingredients, then sprinkle baking powder and salt on top. Mix on low with your mixer, until you have a smooth batter.
Bake: Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before adding the syrup (leave cake in pan).
Syrup: Combine ½ cup lemon juice with 1 cup icing sugar. Using a skewer, poke several holes into cake, about ¾ into the cake (do not poke holes all the way down to bottom of cake!). Brush syrup over cake, waiting for syrup to soak in before adding more. Let cake sit in pan for 10 more minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Glaze: Mix 1 cup icing sugar and 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth and barely pourable (it's a thick glaze). Carefully spread on top of completely cooled cake. Let firm up for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Lemons: I highly recommend fresh lemons to juice and zest here. They will give you the best flavor by a long shot.If you only have bottled lemon juice and store-bought zest, I recommend adding 1-2 teaspoons of lemon extract to the cake batter.Mixing: Don’t worry too much about overmixing the batter, that is more an issue with muffins and quick breads. You don’t want to exaggerate the mixing, but you do want to end up with a smooth, creamy batter – not a lumpy one.Batter consistency: The batter is a little scraggly before you add the flour. Do not worry about this at ALL, this recipe is very forgiving and you really can throw in the sugar and eggs at the same time and then cream until fluffy.Dry ingredients: If your baking powder is very clumpy, I recommend sifting the dry ingredients before adding them to the cake batter. Otherwise, you will not achieve an even rise.Hole poking: Make sure to poke enough holes into the cake, but also make sure to not poke all the way to the bottom – else the lemon syrup would just run through the cake instead of staying inside. Go about ¾ down.If you zoom in on the photo I added in the post, you can easily see how many holes I poked into my cake, if you need a visual reference.Syrup: Wait a few seconds in between brushing on the syrup, it takes a little longer vs just pouring it on top, but it helps the syrup to really soak into the cake instead of just running down the sides.The syrup adds a lot of lemon flavor, tanginess and mositure, so it’s important to take your time here.Careful when moving the cake: The cake is quite springy and fragile, especially once it has been soaked with sryup. Be careful when transferring it to the cooling rack, and also to the cake platter.I also recommend going for thick slices over very skimpy ones.