Many years ago I sought a new, simple cake recipe that called for sour cream. I often had sour cream on hand (it is a key ingredient for my favorite chocolate cake recipe) and needed to use it up. I also wanted to find a recipe that was extremely simple, basic but extremely flavorful (and NOT chocolate or spice). I generally like citrus fruits but never really got into baked citrus flavors in cakes but after making this lemon cake the first time, I finally saw the light.
This cake has become a regular in my arsenal of cakes. People almost unanimously love it, comment on it, want the recipe for it. For some it even evokes emotional responses. For example, an Italian friend in Iceland exclaimed that it reminds her so much of her grandmother's beloved lemon cake. It is the one cake my non-dessert-eating friend loves and requests.
(The picture is quite blurry and in bad lighting; cake was made in a rose-shaped cupcake pan instead of the traditional bundt pan I normally use.)
Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch bundt cake pan (or make individual cupcakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature/softened
2 cups granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
If desired, you can make a glaze for the cake. I never do, preferring the simplest, purest form of the cake:
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream 1 cup butter and granulated sugar; beat at high speed until mixture is very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down side of bowl frequently. Blend in lemon zest. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, adding each in 3 additions. Scrape sides of bowl frequently.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan; bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, if making glaze, combine ingredients, blending until smooth. Carefully turn cake out onto a platter; drizzle with glaze.