Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake


I really enjoyed trying this recipe! I love lemon “everything” in the Spring and this cake has a perfect balance. It’s similar to the classic pound cake…buttery, lemony but not too dense.

Visit Ina’s website, Barefoot Contessa, for more great recipes!

Make mini loaves and give them as gifts to your neighbors. I found this decorative Easter packaging at Walmart.

Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake

Lemony cake with a sweet glaze. Recipe from Ina Garten's book, Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Servings 2 8 inch loaves
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs


  • KitchenAid® Professional 600 Series Mixer
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Loaf Pans
  • Cooling rack
  • Small sauce pan
  • Large spoon
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz), room temperature
  • cups granulated sugar divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs room temperature
  • cup lemon zest grated (about 6 large lemons)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed, divided
  • ¾ cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2 medium lemons)


  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
  • tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (about 1 large lemon)



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour 2 (8 ½ by 4 ¼ by 2 ½-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
  • Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine ¼ cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan.


  • Combine ½ cup granulated sugar with ½ cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
  • Spoon the lemon syrup generously over the cakes while still warm. Then, allow the cakes to cool completely.


  • For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
  • Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.


Wondering how many lemons you will need for this recipe? Visit Recipe Lion for a breakdown of lemon sizes and conversions.
  • To slightly cut the sweetness and increase the power of the lemon, only use 2 cups of granulated sugar.
  • For a more moist texture and mellow lemon flavor, allow the cakes to sit overnight before cutting.
This recipe was originally published in 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All Rights Reserved.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: Cake, Glaze, Lemon, Loaf, Syrup

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram and tag with @morganskitchn and #morganskitchn.

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