Ok, so it’s still a cake, but this cake has a lot less oil and butter than most lemon cakes (especially pound cakes!), and subbing in almond milk instead of whole milk cuts some fat and calories, too. Best of all, this cake doesn’t taste ‘light!’ It’s tangy, has a great texture, and is perfectly complemented with an easy lime glaze. If you’d prefer, you can make a lemon glaze, just use powdered sugar, or forgo a topping. No matter which option you choose, this cake is sure to be delicious!
Ingredients for Light(er) Lemon Cake and Lime Glaze
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of sugar, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 a cup of almond milk, at room temperature. You can use any type of milk ,but almond makes the ‘skinnier!’ Plus, I love almond milk.
- 2 tablespoons of (unsalted) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- The juice from 1 lemon
- 2 medium eggs, at room temperature, separated.
For the glaze:
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- Zest from 1 lime
- Juice from 1 lime
I baked this cake in a 9″ round pan, but you could probably use an 8″ pan, instead. The recipe is far, far easier if you have an electric mixer, but I used only a whisk, so don’t let a lack of mixer stop you! When separating the eggs, it is very important to avoid getting any yolk in the whites or the whites will not whip up properly. Also make sure the bowl, whisk/beaters, and your hands are totally clean because any grease or finger oils interfere with whipping the whites.
Recipe for Lemon Cake
1. Before getting started with the recipe, make sure to set the milk and eggs out on the counter so they can come to room temperature. It’s probably counter-intutitive to leave them setting around, but bringing them too room temperature is necessary for this recipe!
2. Adjust your oven racks, if necessary, so the cake can bake on the middle/lower middle rack. Prepare your pan by either spraying it with floured cooking spray or the old fashioned way by rubbing it down with butter, adding about a spoon full of flour, tilting the pan to coat the butter with flour, and discarding any excess flour.
3. Whisk the flour, 3/4 of the cup of sugar, lemon zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together until combined. Use a large bowl because this is ultimately where all the cake batter will end up.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, melted butter, vanilla, egg yolks, and vegetable oil.
5. In a small bowl, begin whisking or mixing the whites on medium. Slowly add the remaining sugar in, about a spoon full at a time, and keep mixing until the whites turn white, frothy, and, eventually, begin to form peaks.
5. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture, adding a little bit at a time. Make sure there are no stubborn, dry pockets of flour mix along the sides or bottom of the bowl!
6. Adding 1/3 of the mixture at a time, gently fold the egg whites into the combined milk and flour. It should look slightly curdled – this is fine!
7. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan, carefully jostling it or spreading it with the back side of a spoon to ensure an even thickness.
8. Place on the middle rack of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the cake’s center comes out clean. For even baking, rotate the cake front to back in the oven half way through.
9. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in its pan, but sitting on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Carefully run a non-sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen it and invert the cake onto the cooling rack. Allow it to cool for at least two hours before glazing.
Recipe for Lime Glaze/Icing
1. Once the cake is cool, whisk the powdered sugar, lime zest, and lime juice together until thoroughly combined. As is, this glaze is really limey! If you want something a little less tangy, just use half the lime’s worth of juice.
2. Pour over the cake, spreading with a spatula or back side of a spoon, if needed.
3. Allow the glaze to harden for at least 15 minutes before serving.
When baking this cake, I was so thankful I’d just gotten a set of nesting mixing bowls! Until two days earlier, I hadn’t had any mixing bowls here in Hawaii and this would have been really horrible without at least three bowls! I landed a nice ceramic set for more than half off, but there are plenty of highly-rated options available. These are some of the best rated, affordable bowls I found on Amazon: