I love to make cakes for people. Not just random, anyone next in line people, but my friends and family. My usual rule is the higher the better. I’m madly, madly in love with 3 layer cakes. They make me beyond happy. There is something about the all those layers stacked up, filling gently oozing out and swirls and swirls of icing. Never mind the decorating part, ooohhh! When I get one of those cakes done, the sense of accomplishment is so very sweet. Turning it around for a last look, nodding, yep, they’re gonna like this. I just know that with each bite they’re going to feel the love. Mercy! Feel the love! CAKE = LOVE. Okay, before you start looking up the closest Mental Health facility (do they have spas?) I am aware that cake is not love (sob) and there won’t be a tent revival in anyone’s mouth when eating a piece of cake. I was just letting you in on the giddy delirium that happens at 2am when you finally finish one of those suckers. But I digress.
Sour Cream Lemon Cake will not make you giddy, it’s not a 3 mile high show stopper, and I’ve never put icing on it. An abundance of powdered sugar sometimes (I can get carried away with that), a fruit sauce might get dribbled over now and then, but never icing. This cake is very simple to put together, there are no scary ingredients, or stacks of cake pans, and lists of a plan of attack need not be attached to your fridge. One bowl, one pan, one cake. Embellish or not. It’s good, tender and delicately tangy, and appropriate for almost any occasion. The LBD of cakes. So you know, I will only make this cake in twos from now on. There will be one in the freezer, ready to be unwrapped, put on a plate and served so that anyone who drops by for tea will think that there must be a bit of magic in my home. I might suggest that you do the same. Oh, and pssssssttt? Cake does equal love.
That’s lemon zest clinging to the beater. Ummm. Where to start, I’m going to give you the list of ingredients, and the very simple instructions. You’ll need 1 bowl (either your stand mixer, or a bowl and a hand mixer), 1 buttered 9″ cake pan, with a parchment round in the bottom also buttered, and oven preheated to 350 degrees. So we begin!
1 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil, I feel it’s best to use a neutral flavor oil so the citrus shines
3/4 cup sugar
one lemon, zested
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put the first 5 ingredients into your bowl and mix until well incorporated. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each one. Add one cup of the flour, mix until combined (you don’t want to overmix this, so really, stop when it gets together) sprinkle the baking powder, salt, and baking soda over the batter, mix once or twice, add the rest of the flour and mix, again, just until it incorporates into the batter.
Pour into your buttered, parchment lined pan.
Bake on the center rack of your oven for 30 to 40 minutes. I start checking at 30. The cake should be golden brown around the edges and a knife inserted into the middle should come out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and then if needed run a knife around the edge and invert onto either a serving plate or onto a plate than over again on the rack. Decorate as you wish. I think strawberry or blackberry sauce would be brilliant with this. A light lemon glaze would also be wonderful. Or, like I did, powdered sugar and fresh berries. This lemon cake will never steer you wrong.
Oh, and of course, of course, you can change the lemon for orange, or lime, or even grapefruit. Go wild.
This was cobbled together from a variety of cakes, a plain yellow cake, a few yogurt cake recipes, and a sour cream chocolate cake that made me realize that sour cream doesn’t mean the cake will be heavy. You get inspiration everywhere people, literally, everywhere.