This lovely rustic cake is made with whole Meyer lemons. It has a moist, dense texture and is intensely lemony!
This pretty little lemon cake has a moist, close-textured crumb and lovely light, buttery flavor that bursts with citrus.
And yes, this cake is made with the entire lemon!
How to make a cake with a whole lemon
The batter for this cake is flavored with whole lemon, including the lemon peel and flesh.
First, you’ll slice the lemon into wedges, remove the seeds and puree in a food processor with a little sugar.
The reason it’s a good idea to remove the seeds is that they don’t always break down completely in the food processor, and will leave hard bits in the cake.
Mix up the batter and bake in a small cake pan.
I have a mini 7-inch Bundt cake pan that turns out a decorative swirl-topped cake, but you can also use a plain 8-inch round pan.
In the tradition of a classic lemon drizzle cake, the top is finished with a tart and creamy glaze once the cake is cool.
The lemony drizzle has a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and yogurt to make it extra silky.
Lemon cakes from scratch
If you’ve been cooking and baking with me for a while, you might know I have a thing for anything lemon-y.
Especially lemon cakes — they’re probably my favorite sweet when I crave a treat that isn’t chocolate.
I LOVE all kinds of citrus, and lemons and oranges are especially good for baking.
But when Meyer lemons are at their peak season in North America (winter) they are really like the best of both worlds.
What are Meyer lemons?
Meyer lemons are a cross between a type of tangerine and a lemon, so they have a milder, sweeter bite than the typical Eureka lemon.
They have less acidity and more sweetness than regular lemons, with a hint of orange-flower aroma.
I absolutely love them.
The Meyer lemon also has a thinner, more delicate skin that has less bitter pith than regular lemons.
They’re a great choice to use whole in the batter for that very reason.
Semolina flour in cakes
I subbed a small amount of semolina flour for the all-purpose flour to add a bit of texture and color.
Semolina flour is the same finely ground durum flour used to make pasta.
It has a cheerful buttery yellow color that pairs nicely with all the lemon.
You can use the same amount of fine, blanched almond flour if you don’t have semolina, or use only all-purpose flour.
Flavor of whole lemon cake
The crumb of whole Meyer lemon cake is moist, close-textured and sooo lemony. It’s a perfect lemon tea cake or morning cake.
There’s just a tiny bit of bitterness from the peel, which is actually very pleasant.
If you enjoy candied citrus peel, you’ll know the kind of sweet bitterness I’m talking about.
This cake keeps well at room temperature for a day or two — wrap it well to keep it moist.
More lemon cake recipes you’ll love
- Double Italian Lemon Cake
- French Lemon Yogurt Cake
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with Mascarpone Icing
- Lemon Polenta Cake
Whole Meyer Lemon Semolina Cake
- 2 teaspoons (60 g) plus 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon (150 g) plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 small (175 g) Meyer lemons
- ½ cup (120 g) granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup (80 g) semolina flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
For the glaze:
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla flavored
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 325 (160 C) degrees.
- Use your fingers to smear the 2 teaspoons butter all over the inside and into the nooks and crannies of a half-size Bundt pan (6 – 7 inches in diameter) or 8-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour into the pan and rotate to distribute the flour in an even coating over the butter. Knock out any excess flour by tapping the pan upside down. This is an important step to ensure your cake doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Cut the lemons in half, then into 8 wedges each. Remove the seeds. Put the lemons in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and process until fairly smooth. It’s okay if some very small pieces of peel are visible. You should have about 1/2 cup puree.
- In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup flour together with the semolina, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- Beat the remaining stick of butter with the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the lemon puree to the mixer. Beat until combined (it will look curdled, but that's okay). Add the flour mixture and stir just until the batter comes together with no streaks. Spread the batter evenly into the Bundt pan.
- Bake 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick emerges from the cake with a few moist crumbs. Cool the cake in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, stir together all the ingredients until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set a few minutes before slicing.