This quick and easy recipe for sourdough lemon cake is a wonderful way to use sourdough discard. It's moist, flavorful, and topped with a deliciously sweet lemon glaze!
Sourdough lemon cake is a sweet and versatile recipe that can be enjoyed as either a breakfast or dessert option. Its combination of sourdough tang and refreshing lemon flavor makes it a delightful treat to satisfy your cravings at any time of the day.
Just like our sourdough lemon poppy seed muffins, this lemon cake recipe offers flexibility, allowing you to choose between two methods. You can mix the batter and bake the cake immediately, or alternatively, you have the option to let the batter ferment in the fridge overnight for a more developed flavor.
Whether you prefer immediate baking or a longer fermentation period, both approaches will result in a delicious lemon cake. The choice is yours!
- sourdough starter discard
- lemons, juice & zest
- vanilla extract
- baking soda
- baking powder
- powdered sugar
How to make it
Step 1: Preheat your oven
If you prefer not to allow your batter to long-ferment and intend to bake immediately, begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (176°C).
Next, take a 9" x 5" loaf pan and lightly grease it using either butter or cooking spray. This will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan during the baking process.
Step 2: Mix the batter
In order to prepare the batter, whisk the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another.
NOTE: If you decide to ferment the batter overnight, it's important to note that you should exclude the baking soda and baking powder initially and add them right before baking. This ensures that the leavening agents retain their optimal effectiveness, resulting in a well-risen and fluffy lemon cake.
Afterward, carefully pour the wet ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix them together until they are just combined. It's important to avoid overmixing at this stage.
NOTE: When the leavening agents and lemon juice interact, you may notice the batter becoming slightly "fizzy." This is normal.
Step 3: Bake
Once you have prepared the lemon cake batter, carefully pour it into the greased loaf pan, ensuring that you evenly distribute the batter and smooth out the surface for a uniform appearance.
Bake the cake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. At this point, the surface of the cake should have a light golden color, indicating that it is fully baked.
Step 4: Cool
To make slicing easier, it is essential to allow the cake to cool completely. This will help the cake firm up and set, making it more manageable to achieve clean and neat slices.
Patience is key, so resist the temptation to slice it prematurely and let the cake cool thoroughly before glazing it.
Step 5: Glaze
In addition to making slicing easier, allowing the cake to cool completely has another advantage. It enables the glaze to rest on top of the cake rather than melting into it.
When the cake is cooled, the glaze can properly set and create a smooth, glossy layer on the surface, enhancing the overall presentation and taste.
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until a smooth consistency is achieved. If the glaze appears too thin, you can gradually add a small amount of powdered sugar to thicken it.
On the other hand, if the glaze seems too thick, you can add more lemon juice in small increments to achieve the desired pouring consistency.
Once the lemon glaze is ready, proceed to drizzle it over the pound cake. Pour the glaze gently and evenly across the surface of the cake, allowing it to cascade down the sides.
The addition of the tangy and sweet glaze to the pound cake adds a delightful burst of lemony flavor!
- For the best results, it's important to allow this sourdough lemon loaf to cool completely before slicing. Due to its ultra-moist texture, slicing this cake while it is still hot may result in crumbling and it falling apart in your hands. Once cooled, you can enjoy the cake without any mishaps!
- If you prefer a thinner cake that can be frosted, you can adapt this sourdough lemon cake recipe by using an 8" x 8" baking tin instead. Bake the cake in the tin for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remember to incorporate the baking soda and baking powder just before you are ready to bake the cake if you choose the overnight fermentation method.
- To ensure optimal results for your cake, it is important to check the expiration date on your baking soda and baking powder containers. These ingredients act as leavening agents and contribute to the cake's rising process. Generally, 6 months after opening, these leavening agents tend to lose their effectiveness.
How to store leftovers
For any remaining slices of lemon cake, we recommend storing them in one of two ways. First, you can keep them loosely covered either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a period of up to 4 days.
However, if you wish to store the slices for a longer duration, it is recommended to tightly wrap each individual slice in plastic wrap and then enclose them with a layer of foil. By doing so, the slices will retain their freshness for up to 3 months.
When you're ready to enjoy the slices, make sure to allow them to thaw either at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving. If desired, you can heat them in the microwave or oven.
More Sourdough Discard Recipes:
- sourdough graham crackers for s'mores
- sourdough zucchini bread
- sourdough banana bread
- sourdough pumpkin bread
- sourdough blueberry muffins with crumb topping
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Sourdough Lemon Cake
- 9" x 5" bread loaf pan
- 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- ½ cup (60 g) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C) and lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and set aside. (If fermenting the batter overnight, omit the baking soda and baking powder and add it just before baking.)
- Melt the butter in a bowl and add the sugar. Use a spatula to cream them together until smooth. Add the egg, sourdough discard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and applesauce, and mix until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. (If fermenting overnight, cover the bowl and place in the fridge.)
- Bake on the center rack for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before transferring the cake to a wire rack.
- Mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and drizzle over the cake.
- For best results, if you opt to ferment the batter overnight, it's necessary to take the batter out of the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature before incorporating the baking soda and baking powder. This step ensures that the leavening agents can effectively react and contribute to the cake's rise.