For when you’re tired of lemonade

Posted 3/13/20

So, I had a theory, that then took a hard left.

Although I love frosting, and think it should be a food group (whole grains, lean protein, buttercream…) cream cheese is pretty low on my frosting …

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For when you’re tired of lemonade

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So, I had a theory, that then took a hard left.

Although I love frosting, and think it should be a food group (whole grains, lean protein, buttercream…) cream cheese is pretty low on my frosting fave list.

But I wondered if lemon cake, with its bright sourness, might be the perfect foil for cream cheese’s tang and richness. So I set out to bake a lemon cake and test my thesis.


Except it’s Myer lemon season, and I couldn’t help myself. So, instead of lemon, I used Myer lemons, which tastes like a blend of lemon and tangerine. The cake turned out bright and delicious. It worked perfectly with cream cheese frosting.

But I still don’t have an answer for the whole conventional lemon/cream cheese icing thing. I guess my cake and frosting experimentation must continue.

I do it all for you, Gentle Reader…all for you.

Thanks for your time.

Contact me at

Myer Lemon Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

Day one

Ingredients: 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 vanilla bean, scraped

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup grated Myer lemon zest (6 to 8 Myer lemons)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup freshly squeezed Myer lemon juice, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream butter, the vanilla bean innards you’ve scraped out, and 2 cups granulated sugar in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and Myer lemon zest.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl. In another bowl, combine ¼ cup Myer lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide batter evenly between the pans (approximately 3 cups per pan), smooth the tops, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake — it will get very dry.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with ½ cup Myer lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook on low just until sugar dissolves. When cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and set them on cooling rack set over a tray or sheet pan; brush the lemon syrup over them, using most of it. Allow cakes to cool completely.

Wrap cakes very well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day Two:

Cut the cakes in half. Using a lazy Susan and bread knife will make the job much easier. Find a spoon or tool that is half as tall as the cake. Use it as a spacer under the knife, and cut all the way around the cake. Then while slowly spinning the lazy Susan, spiral cut all the way through until you have two layers of the same thickness. Repeat with other cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 sticks butter, softened

2 8-ounce blocks of full-fat cream cheese, softened

2 pounds powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat until smooth, creamy, and fluffy (4-6 minutes).

Evenly frost the tops of the layers as you build cake, leaving a 1/4-inch unfrosted border around edges so it doesn’t ooze out. When all four layers are assembled, frost top and sides.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours to set up before serving. Serves 10-12.


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