Friday, February 7, 2014

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake With Glaze

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Meyer Lemons are so good and so special they present a dilemma as far as what to make with them when they are in season.  They are a natural for desserts and can be substituted anytime lemons are called for, but you have to be careful how you use them to highlight the special qualities of this wonderful citrus.  To begin with, they are sweeter and juicier than regular lemons and intensely aromatic.  They are native to China and are said to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.

Meyer lemons were introduced to the United States in 1908 by Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China.

The Meyer lemon is commonly grown in China in garden pots as an ornamental tree. It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse during the California Cuisine revolution. Popularity further climbed when Martha Stewart began featuring them in her recipes. 

In my opinion, the assertive floral-citrus of Meyer lemons  is best enjoyed in curds, whether by themselves or in a cake or pie, and in this delightful pound cake which is by far the best I have ever had.   Martha Stewart also has a recipe for linguine with a Meyer lemon and pistachio pesto which is high on my list of savory recipes to try. 

I have changed the recipe a bit by substituting Meyer lemon juice for some of the vanilla in the pound cake.  I also have to warn you that the original recipe calls for a cooking time of 1 1/2 hours.  I halved the recipe and only made one loaf which took only 50 minutes to bake, so watch the timing carefully.  Next time I may even triple the amounts, it was that good.

The season for Meyer lemons is November to April so hurry up and stock up.  I plan to freeze the juice and some of the zest to make lemonade and these Meyer Lemon Squares in the summer.  For my Meyer Lemon Curd recipe go here

You will adore this pound cake.  Make the full recipe and freeze a loaf for later on.  You won't be sorry.


Meyer Lemon Pound Cake


For the cake
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 4 cups sifted cake flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 8 eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. Meyer lemon juice*      
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
For the glaze
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-by-5-by-3-inch (or larger) loaf pans and set aside.
Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder two times and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir only until thoroughly blended. Gently fold in the zest.

Pour batter into the prepared pans, making sure to divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Level tops with an offset spatula.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours**, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan about 10 minutes; then remove to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.


In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients to combine. If necessary, add additional confectioners' sugar to desired consistency.

Pour glaze on top of cakes and serve.

*I have added 2 tsps.Meyer lemon juice to the original recipe and changed the vanilla to 1 tsp
**Watch time carefully.  Mine was done after 50 minutes.. 

 Adapted from Martha Bakes, February 2011


  1. Oh, I always make curd with the ones I grow but I may have to buy a bag at the market and make this cake! i adore lemon pound cakes (the best I've found are Ina Garten's). Having company for dinner on Saturday -- friends who have also traveled in Italy and Sorrento and this would make a really good dessert!

  2. Martha,

    Do bake it and make the whole recipe with the changes I made. I guarantee it will be a hit!

  3. Well, after looking at your recipe and then one of my favorite lemon cakes by Ina Garten, I chose hers, however, I DID double it and have one big and 4 small ones baking. I'm adding zest to the glaze and I may use your glaze rather than hers. Yours seems more substantial! The big cake is for a dinner party tomorrow night, two of the little ones are for guests to take home and one is for this afternoon's tea!


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