I'm sorry for my absence last week! We had house guests (my parents) and things got a bit hectic. My parents have bought a house here in Florida and will finally be moving down! Their new house has a pool so we are all looking forward to a summer of swimming. :) This lemon cake is the perfect kick-off to the warmer weather and will make a great housewarming gift. It's light, fluffy, and the perfect mix of tart and sweet.
You will need:
2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 white sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg whites
1 cup milk (skim is fine)
1 tsp lemon extract
zest from one lemon (minus 1 tsp)
1/2 cup butter, melted but cool
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest
milk (amount varies--enough to make thin icing)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (don't use cooking spray for this cake) two 8-inch round cake pans.
When a cake calls for egg whites (or meringue) I always use All Whites in the little container found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store (near the sour cream and cottage cheese). It works perfectly and you don't have to waste a bunch of yolks. Beat the egg whites (the amount is listed on the container) until they start to thicken but are still moist.
Gradually beat in the 1/4 cup of sugar until soft peaks form. Then set aside.
I really recommend using cake flour, but if you have to substitute use 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour mixed thoroughly with 1/4 cup cornstarch. Sift together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the milk, lemon extract, zest, and butter to the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes. (About the lemon extract--you can't substitute lemon juice in this recipe. The pure lemon extract adds a punch of lemon flavor but none of the acids from the actual juice.)
Now fold the egg whites into your cake batter. Combine thoroughly, but carefully. You don't want to squash all the air out of the egg whites. Folding them in carefully will give you a light, fluffy cake!
Pour cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
Bake for 25 minutes and then transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar, extract, zest, and milk until very thin and runny.
Place one cake onto a cake pedestal or plate and cover with about a third of the icing. You may need a bit more to get it covered.
Place the second cake on top and pour the rest of the icing over the cakes. Use a knife to help the icing run over the sides.
This cake is so amazing. Perfectly light and fluffy and the lemon is refreshing. Cut a nice thick slice because you won't want to stop eating it once you start!
Don't be intimidated by the egg whites. This cake is easy and super impressive. Take it to a picnic or pot luck and then stand back and let everyone rave on about it. You could very easily make cupcakes out of this recipe. Just fill each cup 2/3 of the way full (you'll probably end up with 24) and drizzle on the icing after they are cool.
While my parents were visiting I made my spaghetti sauce, roasted green beans, German chocolate cake, dinner rolls, strawberry shortcake, and blueberry muffins.