Lemon Tea Cakes

From Jenna:  As promised by Sweet Pea Bakery, the food truck that was serving high tea near Azure Park, I found this recipe on its website. It is moist and delicious and would make lovely gifts, wrapped in cellophane bags and ribbons. You can use small or mini loaf pans. If using the latter, be sure you reduce the baking time. 

Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons lemon zest, approximately 3 - 4 lemons
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, no pulp, no seeds
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the syrup:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, no pulp, no seeds
For the frosting:
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice, no pulp, no seeds
Instructions
For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray 5 -  6 small loaf pans or 10 - 12 mini loaf pans with nonstick oil.

  2. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and stir well to let the lemon oil mix with the sugar.

  3. Cream the butter and lemon/sugar mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine.

  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  5. In another small bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla

  6. Add half of the flour mixture to the eggs/lemon/sugar mixture and then add half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat and beat until smooth.

  7. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, filling about 2/3 full.

  8. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Reduce baking time if using mini loaf pans.

  9. When the cakes are done, remove from oven and let cool for about 15 - 20 minutes before removing from pan.

For the syrup:
  1. Meanwhile, while the cake is cooling, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to simmer and cook until the syrup thickens, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  2. After turning the cakes out of their pans, set on a tray lined with parchment paper and poke holes in the bottom of the cakes using a skewer. Then drizzle half of the syrup over the holes. Turn the cakes over and drizzle the remaining syrup over the tops of the cakes. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Let cool.

For the frosting:
  1. While the cakes cool completely, make the frosting. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a smooth but thin frosting. Add more lemon juice or water, if necessary. Pour the frosting over the tops of the cakes and let the frosting firm up. Serve immediately or cool in the refrigerator.

Notes:
  1. These cake do well in the freezer. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags. 

  2. Yield: 5 - 6 small loaf cakes or 10 - 12 mini loaf cakes