Citrus Butter Cake

My little citrus tree is a few years away from producing a solid crop, but luckily I have fantastic neighbors who keep me stocked with lemons from their backyard tree.  This flavorful lemon and orange pound cake has a dense and tender texture, and the glaze creates the most crave worthy, chewy, slightly caramelized top .  Since I had lemons to spare, I also made some lemon curd and slathered it on top of a slice of toasted citrus butter cake for an extra decadent breakfast.


Citrus Butter Loaf Cake

(from Johnny Iuzzini’s Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking)
Makes one 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf cake (or one 9-inch round cake); serves 8 to 10



1⁄2 pound (2 sticks; 226 g) cold unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the pan
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 1⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Grated zest of 1 orange
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 g) buttermilk, at room temperature (I rarely have fresh buttermilk on hand so I use dried buttermilk powder)
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons (45 g) fresh orange juice
1 1⁄2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (4 g) kosher salt


2 tablespoons buttermilk (30 g)
1 tablespoon honey (20 g)



  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 41⁄2 × 81⁄2-inch loaf pan.  Using this combination of butter and flour ensures that the sides will brown nicely.
  3. Stir together (by hand) the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer until the butter is coated.
  4. Attach the bowl to the mixer and using the paddle, beat the butter-sugar mixture on medium speed until it is well combined, and no lumps of butter remain, 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula between additions.
  6. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  7. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups (250 g) flour and the baking powder in a bowl.  Sprinkle the salt over the top.
  8. With the mixer on low speed, alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in 3 additions (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
  9. Scrape down the bowl several times, and mix the batter just until smooth.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula.  On the middle rack of the oven, bake for 15 minutes (this step helps ensure a browned top).  (For a 9-inch cake, bake at 375°F for 40 minutes, brush the top of the cake with the glaze, and then bake for an additional 5 minutes.)
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F, and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden brown, and a tester inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.  Make sure not to underbake the cake, otherwise it will get even mushier as it cools.  Rotate the pan halfway through to ensure even baking. Leave the oven on (as you’ll need to bake an additional few minutes after adding the glaze).


This glaze is absolutely delicious and creates a great texture for the top of the cake, so don’t skip this step.

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and honey until well combined.
  2. When the cake is done, brush the glaze evenly over the surface. Put the cake back into the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven, and let it cool completely in the pan on a rack before turning it out of the pan.  Slice and serve.

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