Lemon Cake Easy
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  • Recipe: Lemon Cake
  • Writer: Lizzie Green
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

The ideal dessert to enjoy with afternoon tea or coffee is this light lemon cake recipe, which only calls for ten ingredients. It is bright and only slightly sweet.

I wholeheartedly concur with Julia Turshen when she writes of her lemon cake recipe, “This not-too-sweet, the very easy cake is excellent for that ‘it’s four o’clock and I need a little something with a cup of the coffee moment.”

Every day this week, I’ve enjoyed a small slice of this lemon olive oil cake, and it’s been delicious.

The author Julia Turshen’s book Small Victories contains a simple recipe for lemon cake.

If you don’t think you are familiar with her work, you probably are because she has written books with celebrities like Mario Batali and Gweneth Paltrow, to mention a few.

Her simple recipe for lemon cake has me completely smitten. It just has ten basic ingredients, is fluffy and light, and has a citrus flavor that makes it taste extremely fresh. You’ll probably enjoy it too.

Ingredients for a Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake Yum
Food: Lemon Cake (Source: The Travel Bite)

I couldn’t believe there were only 10 ingredients in this lovely, tasty cake. And even better, you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. Here is what’s included:

  • The batter’s foundation is made of all-purpose flour.
  • This cake’s super moist crumb is a result of finely ground almonds (or almond flour). Any ground nut will suffice in its place if you don’t have almonds!
  • Baking soda aids in the ascent.
  • The sweetness and brightness are brought forward by the salt.
  • Eggs offer richness and moisture.
  • Fruity undertones from olive oil bring out the citrus flavor.
  • Granulated sugar makes it sweeter.
  • Vanilla extract enhances flavor depth.
  • It is lively and bright because of the lemon juice and zest.
  • A sprinkle of powdered sugar finishes it off with a pleasant sweetness.

Time to bake!

Recipe Variations for Lemon Cake

I adore the fact that Julia offers variations on each recipe in Small Victories.

(I am aware of your collective love for recipe choices, and I share it!) Although she stated that any citrus fruit would work in place of the orange called for in her original Afternoon Cake recipe, I created a lemon cake for obvious reasons.

She offers the following additional spin-offs:

  • Change out the citrus. Citrus zests such as orange, lemon, clementine, tangerine, blood orange, and grapefruit all perform admirably.
  • Use lemon zest, juice, and 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds in the batter to make a lemon poppyseed cake.
  • Boost the flavor of the almonds. Almost any nut can be used in place of the finely ground almonds in Julia’s recipe, according to her. If you decide to use ground almonds, you can boost the almond flavor of the batter by adding 12 tsp of almond extract.
  • Swirl it in. Dot the cake with 1/4 cup raspberry jam and swirl it in with a fork or the tip of a paring knife just before placing it in the oven.
  • Make it free of nuts. Leave out the ground nuts and increase the flour in the batter by 1/2 cup.

Recipe Advice for Lemon Cake

Additionally, each dish includes a brief suggestion (the titular small victory). This method is much simpler than the one I used to share with you for cutting the parchment paper to fit in a round pan:

An area of parchment somewhat larger than your pan should be ripped off. It is squared off. Next, fold it in half to form a triangle, and then again to form a narrower triangle.

The triangle’s point should then be positioned in the middle of the pan. Trim any extra parchment that sticks out beyond the pan with scissors. Once the paper has been opened, you will have a beautiful circle that fits your pan.

And here’s a suggestion from me: for added pleasure, top this lemon olive oil cake with dollops of coconut cream (or whipped cream). The delicious, vibrant cake, makes a nice creamy contrast.

Lemon Cake

15 minutes to prepare prints
25 minutes for cooking
forty minutes in total

Recipe for Lemon Cake from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Published again with permission.


  • 1 cup [120 g] all-purpose flour (I used spelled)
  • ½ cup [50 g] almond flour or finely ground almonds (see Note)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup [120 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup [100 g] granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus ¼ cup [60 ml] fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


Lemon Cake
Food: Lemon Cake (Source: The Travel Bite)
  1. Set the oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) cake pan with your hands, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper to be safe. Discard the pan.
  2. Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a big bowl until the whites and yolks are well combined. Whisk in the granulated sugar after adding the olive oil until the sugar is dissolved (test by rubbing some of the mixtures between two fingers). Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest by whisking. the flour mixture after whisking.
  4. Ensure that you use a rubber spatula to scrape all of the batters from the bowl before pouring them onto the prepared pan. To remove any air bubbles, hold the pan just slightly over the counter and then drop it on the surface.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is gorgeously golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the cake on a wire rack while it’s still in the pan and allow it to cool fully. Once cool, transfer the cake onto your work area using a dinner knife to remove the sides from the pan (you might need to give the pan a little whack). Peel the parchment off and throw it away. Onto a serving tray, invert the cake once more so that the flat side is down and the rounded side is up.
  6. Dust the cake with powdered sugar just before serving.


  • Any nut will work in this cake, as noted. To produce ground nuts, simply place any kind of nut into the food processor and process until it resembles cornmeal. I’ve successfully made this cake using walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios, and I’m sure pecans and pine nuts would also be fantastic. Or you can use a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, you can buy ground nuts, which are frequently sold as “meal” or “flour,” such as “almond meal” or “almond flour.” Simply leave out the ground nuts and add 1/2 cup [60 g] flour to make a nut-free cake.
  • Any citrus fruit may be used in place of the orange. Citrus zest from clementine, tangerine, blood orange and grapefruit all perform admirably.
  • Instead of orange, substitute lemon zest and juice, and add 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds to the mixture for a lemon-poppy seed cake.
  • If you’re using ground almonds, you can boost the almond flavor in the batter by adding 12 tsp ALMOND EXTRACT.
  • Just before putting the cake in the oven, spread 1/4 cup [80 g] RASPBERRY JAM over top and swirl it in with a fork or the point of a paring knife.