I call this the Tuscan Lemon Cake because I first found the recipe inside the memoir Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I was impressed by the creative way her book infused the narrative centering around her love for travel and cooking with actual recipes. I also was drawn to this particular cake because it was an heirloom recipe from her Southern family.
The cake has a terrific lemon flavor that seems just right any time of year. It is wonderfully moist, and has a rich dense consistency, similar to a poundcake. It is a winner that freinds and family ask for again and again.
Initially, I had difficulty with the cake sticking to the pan. I overcompensated by using a lot of cooking spray – but going that route gave the cake a hard brown crust versus the slightly browned edge I was looking for. I tried Pam with Flour – it solved the sticking but the crust was still overdone. I found the old school technique of generously buttering the pan, and then lightly coating it with flour, did the trick. No sticking and the cake browned beautifully.
A few other tips – make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. I use the defrost feature on my microwave to gently warm anything coming directly out of the fridge. Also sifting the dry ingredients together work wonders to help create a lighter texture. Finally, make sure the cake is fully cooled before icing it.
This cake is wonderful served with fresh berries or ice cream. And it is equally good for breakfast or dessert.
Tuscan Lemon Cake
3 Cups White Flour + additional amount to flour the pan
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/4 TSP Salt
1 Stick Unsalted Butter + additional butter to grease the pan
2 Cups Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
Juice (about 4 TBSP) and Zest of One Large Lemon
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
Juice of one Lemon (about 4 TBS)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
In a large bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
Zest and juice the lemon.
Butter and flour a standard bundt pan – I brush about 3 TBS soft butter onto the pan using a pastry brush and then lightly sprinkle a small amount of flour all over the pan – shifting the pan back and forth to evenly coat the butter.
Using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until well combined – about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer on a low speed alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the lemon juice and zest and continue to mix until well combined. Do not over-mix.
Spread the mixture into the pan – using a rubber spatula to evenly distribute the batter and flatten out the top. Bake for one hour. Remove cake from oven, let it rest five minutes, and then remove it from the pan. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, flour and butter – stirring constantly until there are no lumps. Glaze the cake – starting along the top ridge of the cake – allowing the icing to drip down and cover the sides.