There are some recipes that are just classics – they’re not particularly fancy or complicated, but delicious nonetheless. I think the lemon cake recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties falls into this category. I make this cake every year during meyer lemon season, and it’s definitely the best lemon cake I’ve ever had.
The recipe is pretty straightforward, but what elevates this cake to the next level is the use of lemon syrup. Equal parts of lemon juice and sugar are cooked together, and then drizzled over the warm cake. The syrup soaks into the cake and adds an extra layer of lemon flavor and additional moisture.
I made two changes to the recipe. The obvious change is the use of meyer lemons in lieu of regular lemons. In addition, I added some zest from a buddha’s hand citron to the batter. I didn’t notice a major difference in the flavor of the cake from the citron, it just added to the overall citrus flavor.
My only caveat with this recipe is to make sure you butter and flour your pans well, and don’t skip the parchment lining on the pans. The first time I made this I decided to forgo the parchment, which was not a good idea!