A great basic cake recipe is a lot like a good sugar cookie recipe. These are the recipes that always find themselves at the front of your recipe box and you can barely read them because you’ve used them one too many times – if there is such a thing – and everyone seems to love them. You take these simple, basic recipes, the ones that some people over look because they might not appear to be good or complicated, and you know that all you have to do is add a few extra ingredients, cocoa powder, coconut, or in this case, a little lemon zest, juice of a lemon and lemon extract if that isn’t already enough lemon for you.
I found this recipe in The Lady & Sons: Just Desserts by Paula Deen. I know I’ve mentioned I’m a HUGE fan of hers. Her laugh is infectious and I love her (it doesn’t hurt that I have a huge crush on her son Bobby too). The very first recipe in this book is her 1-2-3-4 Cake. It’s called this because it has 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs. Basic right? It does have a few other ingredients but these are the main ones. Here’s my Lemon Cake following her instructions but making it my own. You don’t even need frosting, although whipped topping and fresh berries make is a very refreshing dessert on those hot summer days.
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
Zest of one medium lemon
3 cups sifted Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
3/4 cup milk (I use soy)
1/4 cup lemon juice (use more milk if you are a little short to equal 1 cup liquid)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray your pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. A 13x9x2 pan usually takes about 35 – 40 minutes. Cool in pan(s) 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. From this point you can frost the cake(s) if you want with the icing of your choice or serve with whipped topping and fresh berries.