Barefoot Contessa Lemon Cake

This past weekend I had some lemons to use up, so I decided to bake Ina’s lemon cake. I picked it because it’s made in two loaf pans. I could keep one and give one away. I’ve never made it before. But I always enjoy a really moist cake, and I really wanted to drive the lemon flavor home. This recipe uses juice and zest in the cake, plus juice and zest in the glaze on the top.

I baked it according to the directions, exactly. But I knew I wanted to put more lemon flavor in it, so I decided to add a glaze into the hot cake right when it came out of the oven. I melted a stick of butter, along with 1/2 a cup of lemon juice and 1/2 a cup of sugar. I poured it over the hot cake and let it soak in. After the cake cooled for 20 minutes, I took the cakes out of the pan. When they were cool, I glazed them with confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.

The cakes were great! Very lemony and moist! I think I have a new hack for a lot of cakes that need some extra flavor.


I haven’t tried her recipe.

This is my favorie lemon cake - quick, delicious and very easy cleanup:

This recipe uses the glaze technique I’ve used since I was a child - lemon juice with confectioners sugar!

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I love this cake - it bakes up well in just about any pan, including a bundt and a 9x13 (just a shorter cooking time). The additional soak you used sounds fantastic!

All of the nerve endings of the teeth I still have went haywire as I read this. My eyes have started to twitch too.


I’ve heard it’s fab but never tried it. Will put it on the list.

Slightly OT but have you ever tried a lemon olive oil cake? Lots of synergy with those ingredients. :lemon::lemon: The recipe came from FN but I put it into 2 loaf pans rather than individual mini cakes as per the recipe.

I’m posting from a very old IPad and it’s not letting me copy and paste.
Will start linking recipes soon.


Here’s an even easier method. Buy three Costco pound cakes for less than $8.00. Poke the tops with a fork and pour fresh lemon juice over the cake. Blend lemon juice and confectioners sugar and frost the darn thing. Serve with fresh berries.

That Ina cake has a serious fan base! My mom makes it regularly when their lemon tree is going crazy, usually some mini loaves to give away and freeze easily

I’m going to try this for Easter.

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I hope you and yours enjoy it! Lemon has such a fresh flavor.

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Definitely going to try this shortcut version if entertaining and don’t have the time or energy for Ina’s or the lemon-olive oil cake recipe. Ina’s looks easy & the lemon olive oil cake goes together very quickly.

I’ve alway be hesitant to try one, because I just think it might be too olivey tasting? (You know what I mean?) What does it taste like when you use olive oil?

I am not a baker by a long shot, but i had the olive oil cake and muffins at Maialino (in nyc) and absolutely loved it- not especially sweet, and a bit more dense than a usual cake. I’ve made the recipe many times, usually as muffins (i dont even own a round cake pan) i’ve omitted the alcohol and used all juice instead , there’s just a faint orangey flavor once done

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Great idea. Sounds amazing!

Made 2 lime cakes again yesterday, one for us, one for our neighbour. They were so good. Lemons work as well, lime are more refreshing. This time, I didn’t add any mint fresh leaves this time, I have to admit, it was better with mint. You don’t sense it but it added a subtle complexity. Quite similar to @heidicooksandbakes’s very moist cake, in this case it is also quite dense. The cake was quite simple, ingredient was a bit unusual with liquid cream, which I believe add the extra moisture, also note that unlike Ina’s lemon cake, mine is baked at a lower temperature 150ºC for 1 hour 10 minutes. But I’m surprise that the two recipes are very similar with minor differences, like no juice in the cake itself and no vanilla and mint difference etc.

Right out of the oven, the cake is cooled for 5 minutes, then brush lime juice all over the cake and into the freezer for 30 minutes. A lime glaze at the end and in the oven again for 5 minutes to warm it up.I added 1/3 of icing sugar in the glaze…I don’t like it too sweet.

As for the cake, I used 90% of the sugar suggested in the recipe. I need longer time than the recipe for baking.


Just a note on loaf pans. I have two, one in cast iron, another in glass, more or less the same size. Both in oven the same time, the cakes came out were virtually the same, the pans didn’t make any difference in cooking. Also noted that the oven was in convection mode.


I heard a professional pastry chef when he talked about this cake, he “drilled” holes in the cake and let it soaked a night in the fridge. Of course only if you like the lemon cake very tart.

No drilling is necessary. It just sucks right into the warm cake.

It was his way, I never made any holes.

I always wondered that too when reading recipes for it. Surprised how much I loved it and it held together perfectly. Only took about 15 minutes to put together and It isn’t too sweet as mentioned up thread.

I would suggest that you use a nice fruity olive oil, or one that you like.

Let me know if you try the cake. :lemon:

Oh and I was mistaken about the 2 loaf pans; actually baked it in an 8x8 or slightly larger pan I think. The recipe I used doesn’t make a big cake.

Better late than never. I baked my first bundt! lol…
This recipe appealed to me and it makes enough batter to use a 10" bundt pan for 50 mins at 350. Easter was more than complete dessert wise, so I saved this for today. The thyme ginger syrup is very subtle.

We plan to enjoy slices with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and strawberry ice cream.