Dona’s Lemon Cake

My mom’s neighbor and friend Dona is such a gracious entertainer and wonderful cook. We always love popping across the street to her house for a coffee and visit when we are in Savannah. My parents immensely enjoyed this lemon cake at her house recently and we made it just as soon as they arrived in Atlanta on Thursday! It’s not super easy, but it is delicious and feeds a crowd. I think it will be a staple for springs and summers to come.

Dona’s Lemon Sheet Cake with Buttercream Frosting

For the cake:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tsp packed grated lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp packed grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the milk and lemon juice.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds after each. Scrape down bottom and sides of mixer to ensure it is well combined.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the bowl in three additions Mix until just combined, then use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air pockets. Bake 35-40 m ins until puffed and golden and a cake tester in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack before frosting.
  6. To prepare the frosting, combine the butter, sugar, zest and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until combined, then turn the mixture up to medium-high and stream in 1/4 up lemon juice. Whip until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, adding additional lemon juice as necessary until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  7. Spread frosting over the cooled cake and serve. Store leftovers at room temp, covered, for up to 2 days.

We have enjoyed this cake immensely over the past couple of days! I hope you do too!

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