You will fall in love with these Lemon Sugar Cakes as soon as you take a bite! They go perfectly with a cup of tea… or even a la mode! It’s the lemon infused sugar that makes them so special. Not only is it added to the batter, but it’s also what coats these sweet little cakes. The texture is light, spongy, and moist. To top it off, they are SO easy to make. They are about as perfect as a lemon cake could be!
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Making Lemon Sugar Cakes
Before you read about how to make these cakes, please check out my video.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy
As I previously stated, my Lemon Sugar Cakes are so easy to make. They are prepared using a boiled water method you will see me use often in the recipes I share here on my blog. I just love the moist spongy cake it produces. If you haven’t tried this method yet, you are in for a treat! This recipe calls for a mixer, but solely for the purpose of infusing your sugar with lemon. The batter itself comes together with nothing more than a whisk. It’s almost wrong that something so simple tastes so good…
Before you make these cakes, you will need to make your lemon infused sugar. To do this you just need to combine granulated sugar and lemon zest in your mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed for 5 minutes. When it’s done it has a totally different consistency… kind of like brown sugar, and it smells sooo good! It’s easiest to prepare your sugar for the batter and your sugar to coat the cakes all at the same time. I have found it can harden a bit if left out so I suggest placing all of your prepared lemon infused sugar into a zip-top bag until you are ready for it.
Making Your Batter
Once your lemon sugar is prepared, you are ready to start on your batter. The first thing I like to do is bring my butter, water, and lemon juice to a boil. Then I set it aside to cool down for a moment while I combine my dry ingredients in a large bowl. All you are going to do is place your flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to incorporate.
Next, you will add your warm butter, water, and juice to your dry ingredients. You will notice some crackling as the warm liquids activate the baking soda. This is normal. 😉 Just whisk until everything is nice and smooth.
Now it’s time for the eggs and extracts. The lemon extract is necessary for this cake to help with the lemon flavor. I tried it without and you could hardly taste the lemon. That being said, the lemon extract turns your eggs a hazy white color. Of course, I forgot about this when I made my video (I always have a million things running through my head when I am filming myself) so you can actually see what I mean if you watch it… oops! Luckily it did not affect the cake at all, but just to be safe, add your eggs whisk them in, and then add your lemon and vanilla extracts.
Lastly, add the sour cream and whisk until it is smooth once again.
Bake Me A Cake
When it comes to the pan you use for these cakes, you can choose whatever you’d like. I went with mini bundt cakes because they are basically fancy donuts and they give you a great sugar coating to cake ratio. Feel free to use donut pans, muffin or mini muffin pans, or whatever else you have on hand if you don’t have the mini bundt cake pans. I use mine all the time, though, so I do recommend investing in them!
Once your cakes are finished baking (an inserted toothpick comes out clean) you can leave them in the pan for about 5 minutes on a cooling rack. Then, take them out of the pan and cool completely.
Shake, Shake, Shake
If your cakes are cooled… you’re ready for the fun part! I usually let my kids do this. Get out your zip-top bag of lemon sugar and place up to two cakes in the bag at a time. Then shake the bag around until your cakes are coated in sugar.
You can eat them right away and keep any extras in an airtight container on the counter. They are best the day you make them. They keep like donuts, just slightly better. The next day they aren’t AS good, BUT they are still good. However, I will tell you how to revive them. Just keep your bag of lemon sugar handy. The next day, or even the day after that, just toss them back in the sugar and they are delicious. Or even better yet, if you know you will not be serving them until the next day just store your cakes uncoated (you can still coat a few for you to enjoy right away) and toss them in sugar before you serve them.
Seriously, though, they are amazing and you have to try them! Even if you aren’t a highly skilled baker, these cakes are something you can perfect.
Here is a list of the tools I used to make these lemon cakes…
Happy baking… and eating! xoxo, Katie
- 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups lemon infused sugar reserve the remaining infused sugar to coat your baked cakes.
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup sour cream
Combine sugar and lemon zest and mix at medium-high speed for 5 minutes in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
Keep infused sugar in a zip-top bag until ready to use to prevent it from hardening.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray your pans with non-stick baking spray.
Bring melted butter, water, and lemon juice to a boil in a medium saucepan and set aside.
Combine 2 1/4 of infused sugar (reserve remaining sugar), flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk to incorporate.
Add butter, water, and juice mixture to the large bowl of dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Whisk in eggs.
Whisk in extracts.
Finally, whisk in sour cream until smooth.
Fill your pans about halfway.
For mini bundt cake pans or mini muffin pans check your cakes at 10 minutes. Muffin pans can be checked at 12 mins. They may take longer depending on your oven. You will know when they are done when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool in pans on a rack for about 5 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool completely on cooling racks.
Once cool use remaining infused sugar to coat the cakes by placing up to two cakes at a time into a zip-top bag filled with sugar. Shake the bag around until the cakes are coated.
These cakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but you can certainly enjoy them after that. Store them in an airtight container on the counter. Keep the extra sugar on hand to re-coat cakes as needed.