Meyer Lemon Cake

Meyer Lemon Cake Recipe

With a growing drift of snow on my thirteenth floor balcony and icicles dangling down from the fourteenth floor, winter isn’t relenting anytime soon. It’s the kind of bleak white day that makes me want to have a pot of stock simmering away for hours or bake something bright and sunny to warm the house and add a splash of color to my day.

Whether you’re caught up in the throes of life, or ensnared in the thick of winter, this Meyer lemon cake will brighten your day and put a smile on your face. Rich and buttery with a vibrant bouquet of citrus and the sweet tang of Meyer lemons, it’s moist, balanced and utterly delicious.

Best of all, it’s relatively straightforward and employs a few techniques to make it almost foolproof. I started with a basic pound cake batter, which tends to be both tasty and stable. To guarantee that it rises, I use a combination of baking soda and baking powder, which reacts with the acidic lemon juice and yogurt to give it some hefty lifting ability. Because I coat it with both a syrup and a glaze I cut back on the sugar in the batter itself to keep it from getting too sweet.

Meyer Lemon Cake

Then to ensure you don’t miss the lemon, I hit it with a triple dose of flavor. First, there’s the Meyer lemon juice and zest in the batter. Then I make a simple syrup with Meyer lemon juice and sugar, which gets poured onto the hot cake as it comes out of the oven. This not only allows you to infuse fresh lemon flavor into the cake, it also helps keep the cake moist for nearly a week. Lastly there’s the glaze, inspired by the scene outside, which hits the cake with a third dose of tart lemon on top.

What you get is a moist lemon cake, with a vivid yellow interior and snow-white cap that’s as colorful as it is flavorful. Slice it and serve it for brunch, or with a dollop of clotted cream as a delightful end to a Valentine’s Day dinner.

Equipment you'll need:

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    Meyer Lemon Cake
  • Moist buttery lemon pound cake with and a triple dose of Meyer lemons.
ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
1 loaf 15 minutes 50 minutes


  • 195 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2.5 grams baking powder (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1.25 grams baking soda (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1.5 grams salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 113 grams butter - unsalted (8 tablespoons) at room temperature
  • 150 grams sugar - granulated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 grams Meyer lemon zest (about 3 lemons) finely grated
  • 1/2 cup yogurt - plain
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Syrup
  • 50 grams sugar - granulated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice
Servings: loaf


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 8-inch by 4 1/4-inch loaf pan, or you can line it with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
  4. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest for 5 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer and and mix until combined. Add 1/2 of the yogurt mixture and mix until combined. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add the rest of the yogurt mixture and mix until combined. Finish by adding the remaining flour and mix until combined.
  6. Add the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 50-55 minutes).
  7. While the cake bakes, make the Meyer lemon simple syrup by mixing the sugar and lemon juice in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat while stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  8. When the cake is done, slowly pour or spoon the syrup over the cake while it is still hot. Make sure you let each addition of syrup soak in before adding more. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar together with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice until there are no lumps. The glaze should be thin enough to pour, but thick enough that it's not runny. Adjust the viscosity with more powdered sugar or lemon juice. Drizzle this over the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Let the glaze set before slicing and serving.
  • Swiss Iller

    I like the idea of using yogurt instead of cream cheese or mascapone. Lighter. It’s snowing here in Swizzyland and this looks like the perfect pick-me-up after skiing. :-)

  • Kiki

    Mmmh lemon drizzle cake.. My Meyer’s lemons are still green as grass. I am nursing a small tree in the greenery to have some of my own and there are only two on that small tree (no fresh fruits or juice available). I wish I would live in a warmer climate…

  • Wow

    Another good one. Can’t wait to make this over the weekend. I have lots of Meyer Lon’s on my tree.

  • Andrea

    How necessary is the stand mixer? I don’t have one but this sounds delicious and I’d love to make it…

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Andrea, while you could use a whisk to cream the butter, it will probably take you about 10 minutes of hand whipping to get it there. Once that’s done the flour and egg mixtures can get folded in with a spatula. If you have a hand mixer, that might make the butter whipping easier.

  • Martin

    Hi ! I just tried this recipe and the flavour is awesome !! However, the cake itself was quite brown (but not over baked though, just dark). Can the type of lemon cause the “browning” ? I used unwaxed yellow lemons, but I dont think they were Meyers …. Thanks !!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Martin, have you calibrated your oven recently? It’s possible that your oven runs a little hot in which case you can try lowering the temperature a little bit. Also, the times and temperatures are for a conventional oven, if you have a convection oven or combi oven, the times and temps may be different.

  • Keith Fullerton

    This is a wonderful recipe. I made it just as specified and it was great. As an extra addition (even though the cake can stand on it’s own), instead of a dollop of ice cream, I made the following: 3/4 cup crema (Mexican variety which has some thickener), 1/4 cup mascarpone, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice and 3 tablespoons fresh strawberry juice. My son claims that the balance between the cake and the sauce made it a hit.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      That sounds like an awesome idea! Love the combo of lemons and strawberries. We can’t get crema here, but I’m gonna have to try it with some clotted cream.

  • paulettabowen

    This was great for my tea party. Everyone enjoyed the freshness of the lemons and strawberry together, Marc, when I was a kid my mom used to make date nut bars for us or would purchase a box of Date Bars Mix make by Betty Crocker and suggestion, by the way the crust was light, crumbly and needed not to be bake firstm, then we add the date nut mix, HELP
    SILKY 674

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Pauletta, they sound awesome, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one before. Is it like a mincemeat pie or more like and energy bar?

  • Carol

    Have you tried this in a bundt pan?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Carol, I haven’t. You may need to adjust the amount of batter but it should work.— Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • Isabel

    I accidentally bought whole wheat pastry flour and it turned out more like a lemon bread/cake but it was seriously delicious. I also used a hand mixer, seemed to work out fine.

  • Cthebird

    What a flop! Literally. I recently made an orange loaf and then yesterday made this iced lemon cake with Meyer Lemons. The thing they had in common is pouring a syrup over them. I believe that was the wrong move for both. I had baked both for plenty of time and tested them with a toothpick and they seemed done. Both were high in the pan. But, when the syrup was added they flopped and after they cooled both seemed somewhat uncooked inside. I think it was from the syrup.

    I think because they flopped the taste was affected. I’ll admit that this iced lemon cake tasted a little better than the orange loaf because the lemon glaze was particularly good. I image that NOT using the syrup would reduce the lemon flavor. For that reason I will seek out a different recipe and keep this recipe’s glaze in mind. I’m afraid that I compare iced lemon cakes to this one I bought in Philadelphia. That didn’t seem to have a syrup added. I think the cake itself was flavorful enough.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Cthebird, by “flop” do you mean it rose and then fell? If so, there are two possibilities. The first is that the cake was not fully cooked, but since you tested it, that probably isn’t the problem. The second is that you added the syrup too quickly. If the syrup pools (either on top or at the bottom of the loaf pan, it will not soak evenly into the cake and you’ll end up with areas where the cake gets mushy. If you pour it you need a slow steady drizzle while moving the stream around the cake so that it’s never pooling in one spot. You could also try spooning the syrup on (or using a pastry brush). Either way, it should take you a few minutes to use up all the syrup.

  • Wow

    I finally made this with. The last of the Meyer lemons from last year’s crop. Excellent recipe!


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