Nathan’s Lemon Cake

Nathan's Lemon Cake recipe

This cake was amazing and incredibly easy to make. I’ve had this recipe for years but was always intimidated by the photos and how the icing seemed to effortlessly drizzle over the sides. The fresh lemon adds this wonderful clean, lightness to the cake and it’s quite moist and flavorful.


  • Cooking spray;
  • Flour (for dusting pans);
  • 2 cups flour;
  • 1½ tsp baking powder;
  • ½ tsp baking soda;
  • ½ tsp salt;
  • 1½ cups sugar;
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature;
  • 3 eggs;
  • 1 cup buttermilk;
  • 3 tbsp finely grated lemon rind;
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice.

For Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar;
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted;
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind;
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice;
  • 3 or 4 full slices of lemon (for garnish).
Nathan's Lemon Cake
Nathan’s Lemon Cake

Recipe Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with wax paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray and dust both pans with flour.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl at medium speed until well blended, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beating after each addition. Slow mixer down to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternating in a few small batches, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in lemon rind and lemon juice.
  4. Pour batter into pans and bake for 32 minutes, or until a toothpick from the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on wire racks. Remove wax paper.
  5. For Icing: Combine powdered sugar, melted butter, lemon rind and lemon juice in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Icing should be thick, but liquid enough to spread around. Spread half of frosting on top of one of the cake layers, spreading icing to the edges so it just barely drizzles over. Top with second cake an repeat process, spreading just to the edges so it spills down the sides. Wait 15 minutes or until icing has hardened and garnish with lemon slices. Enjoy!

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