Whole Meyer Lemon Cake
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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! It’s a special cake recipe I hope you’ll try when Meyer lemons are in season.
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.
- 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.
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 — a traditional, simple cake to make without a mixer.
- Lemon Ricotta Cake with Mascarpone Icing
- Lemon Polenta Cake has a rustic cornmeal crunch.
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Whole Meyer Lemon Semolina Cake
To prep the cake pan
- 2 teaspoons softened butter
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 small Meyer lemons
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup (80 g) semolina flour, or fine blanched almond 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.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
Hey, I’m Karen
Creator of Familystyle Food
I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. It looks delicious and I’d like to bake it. When reading through your recipe, I found some of the gram measurements confusing. Perhaps they got by the proofreader 🤷🏼♀️? Using the suggested weight chart at King Arthur’s, 2 teaspoons of butter is 9.4g or roughly 10g, compared to the 60 grams indicated in the recipe. 1 tablespoon of flour is 7.5g or 8g if rounded up, and if added to 120g of AP flour, would not total 150 grams. 1/2 cup of granulated sugar is 99g and 1 cup of powdered sugar is 113.5g.
Would you suggest I follow the King Arthur weight conversions to grams from your volume measurements as opposed to what is printed?
Thanks for your reply.
Thank you Barbara! Apologies for the inaccurate metric conversions! I have corrected them so feel free to follow my measurements if you’re using a scale.
Thank you so much!
Just made this cake last night and it was delicious!! I never have tried Meyer lemons before nor have I ever used an entire lemon including the peal before and it was so good!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. A big hit in our house!
Any other suggestions for an alternate pan? My bundt pan is way too big.
Liza, you can make it in an 8″ round springform pan instead. Butter and flour the pan as directed, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment. Hope that helps!
Thank you very much for your wonderful blog. I live outside US, therefore I always struggles with correct measurements. Cups and tablespoons differ – Google gives different results for Australia, US, Europe, let alone Eastern Europe. I will appreciate a little clarification on this issue: how many grams of butter are in your cup and what’s the size of the cup (in ml?); how many grams of flour are in a cup; how many grams of butter in 1 stick; how many grams are in 1 tablespoon of butter, and how many grams are in 1 tablespoon of flour, etc?
Thank you very very much! I would love to bake this beautiful cake, I am sure it also has a wonderful lemon smell )
1 tablespoon plus 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Meyer lemons
½ cup semolina flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Hi Alla – thanks for your question. I use US measurements in all my recipes: 1 stick of butter = 113 grams, 1 cup flour = 120 grams.
Here are a few handy references to help in conversion: https://leitesculinaria.com/wp-content/themes/leitesv3/lib/conversions.html
Let me know how it works out!
Karen, Thank you very much for your help! I am planning to bake the cake on one of these days ) Will post how it turned out ) Anticipating. Thank you very much once again! )
Can this recipe be doubled so I can use the large bundt pan?
Can I double this recipe and use the larger bundt pan?
Hi Victoria – by “larger” pan, what size do you mean? You could try experimenting by doubling the recipe if you have a 10 – 12 cup pan, but I really have no idea how that might turn out. Doubling cake recipes can be tricky. Increase the baking time for sure if you do try it.
It’s an 8 cup bundt pan. Would I double the baking time? (sorry posted the question twice without realizing it). I just don’t want the cake to look strange…
Ah – okay. For an 8-inch pan, I don’t recommend doubling the recipe because there’ll be too much batter and it will overflow (rule of thumb, cake batter shouldn’t fill the pan by more than 2/3). You can use the recipe as is in your pan, but the cake will be somewhat flatter. Hope that helps!
Hi Karen, just come across your website. My mum has a lemon tree so I have about 10kilos of lemons. I have recently gone crazy cooking lemon cake, it started with making a simple lemon sponge, which had a real lemon sherbet taste to it. However, I wanted a more lemony tasting cake without adding more sugar as most recipes will have you do a syrup glaze or icing! Does this cake give you a real strong lemon taste? Or maybe I should just eat a whole lemon to satisfy my taste buds.
Thanks for recipe I’m going to make this weekend as I have plough through another cake 1st.
I just returned from a trip to Texas and – guess what – had Meyer Lemons in my carry-on! We don’t get them here in Germany. So your cake is in the oven right now. Thanks for that creative idea with the semolina. I want such a tree asap and we already have been tree-shopping.
Nicola – lucky girl! Nice to know that Texas lemons made their way to Germany safe and sound;achieving that takes a bit of determination and just a tiny obsession with food (which I totally relate to. I’m packing some California garlic into a suitcase today)..I hope you savor the cake!
Hi Karen, It seems we have more in common than just our name. I too love everything lemony. Your Meyer lemon cake looks beautiful and sound delicious. I’m glad I discovered you lovely blog today.
Karen, thank you so much! I’m glad you landed here and that you’re a lemon-lover, too. This is definitely the cake for you 🙂
I adore meyer lemons, and this beautiful cake! Just lovely!
Thank you Carol! This is the ticket to lots of lemon. It’s great with a cup of Earl Grey 😉
This looks so beautiful. I love the mold–where can I find something like that? (It looks different from mini-bundt pans I’ve seen). Someone just gave me meyer lemons–this would be perfect.
Hi Tiffany – I can’t remember where or when I found the pan, but the one I linked to from King Arthur seems very similar. I hope you like the cake!
I love how YELLOW this cake is–you can practically see the lemon flavor! I don’t think I’ve ever made a glaze with yogurt before–most intriguing. 🙂
Thanks, Eileen. The whole lemons contribute to the deep color, but I think the semolina adds its own hue as well. I think the yogurt is a nice option instead of milk. Glad you think so too!
We have a small Meyer lemon tree in the backyard and I am eagerly anticipating those lemons!
Sylvie, Oh, yes – I would be too! I have a feeling you will make something beautiful and delicious once they’re ready.
Oh my, but what a joy to see a quote from Paula Peck. I just love that book, and it is a pleasure to meet another fan.
What a very pretty and tantalizing cake. I too love lemons, and Meyers are a breed apart. Winter citrus is such a joy – a bit of summer in the bleak winter. Although the bleak part is rather more in my mind as I am here in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, it is special to have those lovely fruits now. Each morning when I go out to pick the Meyers and blood oranges I realize just how fortunate we are out here in California.
Your work is spectacular, and I extend my sincerest compliments. It is a pleasure to visit your site and I look forward to reading more from you.
Adri, thank you! It’s really a pleasure to hear from you as well.
The Paula Peck book is a treasure, one of a collection of vintage books I have. I try to refer to old classics when I go about working on a baking recipe – they’re simple, the recipes work and serve as a perfect starting point for experimenting.
I’m sure I’m not the only one “jealous” of your LA bounty – it must be very inspiring, Not to mention fresh!
This is my kind of cake, I’m all about Meyer lemons! Love the shape of your Bundt pan too!
Laura – yes, aren’t they the BEST? I kind of hoard them every year. I buy more than I know what to do with, so always looking for ways to enjoy them. Last year I preserved them Moroccan-style.