I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, or a bad thing, but for the longest time my girls didn’t like cupcakes or really any birthday cake I’d found or made. I suspected they found them overwhelmingly sweet between the sweet cake and the often overloaded frosting. At most parties, they’d eagerly delight in the prettiness of the cupcake in front of them, but then push it aside after a bite or two, bitterly disappointed that it didn’t yield more happiness.
But then, we were introduced to what is now known in our family as The Lemon Cake, and since then only this cake will do for family celebrations. We discovered this recipe when an acquaintance served the cupcakes at a large multi-family camping trip. My girls devoured them, as did my husband and I, and really every other person in the crowd. Yes, they’re sweet, but the lemon gives them a great tartness to balance it. The buttermilk makes it so moist, and the simple lemony icing on top finishes it perfectly. I’ve made the recipe mainly in cupcake form, but I’ve also done it as a cake, even tripling it for a half-sheet cake once. It is not going to be the flashiest cupcake on the block with its simple lemon glaze for “frosting”, but boy is it delicious. After making this recipe six times over the last week for the two big birthday celebrations this week, I’m confident I’ve got the recipe memorized. After my girls and I sampled a piece of the cake with a smear of raspberry jam, we’re thinking of trying it as a layer cake with a raspberry filling, but still using the glaze over the whole thing. Mmm!
You can find the recipe here at the Martha Stewart website: Glazed Lemon Cakes*
*My only asterisk for this recipe is to really watch the temperature and cooking time, they seem to go from underdone to burned pretty fast, so be nearby as you get to the minimum cooking time. I’ve only ever made the cupcakes using standard muffin cups, not the large ones used in the recipe, so baking time should be more like 20 minutes. When cooking it longer for a cake, I tend to turn the oven down just a little bit.