When I was a kid my dad’s favorite cake flavor was lemon. I always wondered why anyone would prefer a lemon cake over a chocolate cake. I suppose that was my teenage mind at work. Since then I’ve come to understand that there are a lot of good things to be said about lemon cake. (Don’t get me wrong, I still love chocolate cake too.)
Lemon cakes are sophisticated and elegant. Even with simplistic decorating, a lemon cake has an abundance of charisma. There are occasions when a lemon cake is the perfect choice. They are adored at certain celebrations, and following heavy meals when other cakes are just to rich. You will never taste artificial flavors in a lemon cake made from scratch (because there aren’t any), and you can always control the level of tartness, or sweetness by adding more or less zest and juice.
1/4 c. margarine
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 lemon – juiced
Zest from 1/2 of lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (I made two round 6” layer cakes and 6 cupcakes with this recipe.) Prepare cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Spay the top of parchment paper too. Line cupcake tins with papers.
In a large bowl, cream margarine, oil, eggs, sour cream and sugar. Beat with electric mixer until creamy and air bubbles form. Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour; mix thoroughly. Add juice and zest and mix well.
Pour batter into pans and liners. Bake 6“ cakes for about 20-23 minutes. Bake cupcakes for about 15-17 minutes. (Make sure a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.) Cool and remove from pans, and cool completely before frosting.
Top with your favorite icing. I made a butter cream icing with a touch of both vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice for flavoring.