How I am supposed to find enough hours in my day for Shark Week AND the Olympics??  Someone please tell me.  Normally, there are not many sporting events I get too excited to watch on TV.  The Super Bowl?  I’m only in it for the commercials and food.  The World Series?  Please somebody give me a crossword puzzle or toothpicks to hold my eyelids open.  But the Olympics?  I just can’t get enough!  I think it is so funny how we all become “experts” in sports that we have no experience in.  Last weekend I caught myself saying things like, “Wieber really killed that vault landing” and “Lochte’s start off the blocks was perfect!”  I never swam competitively and the closest I have come to gymnastics is a somersault.  Yet I feel my blood pressure raising as I yell at Michael Phelps to “put your heart into it!”.  I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I like it.

And everything I see reminds me of Olympic rings.  Like this Lemon Pound Cake.  My first thought was, should I lay out the lemon slices on top of the cake in the pattern of the rings?  Hey, at least I am enthusiastic and patriotic, or something.

I hope that the women’s gymnastic team will excuse my lack of attention to them for a few minutes while I tell you about this cake.  Pound cake usually literally means that the cake has an entire pound of butter in it.  Now I use butter in my baking just about all of the time, but there is just something about unwrapping an entire box of butter to put into a cake that is only made in a small loaf pan.  So when I saw this recipe for a Lightened up Lemon Pound Cake, I couldn’t wait to see if lacking 90% of the butter would mean no flavor.  I was so pleasantly surprised!

This cake is so perfectly citrusy and refreshing.  While I would compare the texture of this cake more to a quick bread than that of any other pound cake I have tasted, there is absolutely no lacking in the flavor department.

The lemony flavor of this cake begins with the zest of two lemons that is incorporated into the batter.  Then, a lemon simple syrup is poured over the cooling cake to really seal in all of the tart goodness.  So make this cake and then scream enthusiastically at your TV along with me as we cheer on our favorite team.

Lightened up Lemon Pound Cake

by Mercedes Porter

Keywords: bake dessert lemon cake

Ingredients (1 loaf pan)

For the cake

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk

For the glaze

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons used for cake)
  • 1/2 cup sugar


For the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, then dust with flour and shake out excess.  Set aside.

Zest the lemons into a large bowl.

Add butter, sugar and cream cheese to the zest bowl and cream together until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.

Add eggs and mix until well incorporated.

Add milk and mix on low speed until blended.

Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 38-40 minutes.

Place pan onto wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.  Lightly run a knife along the edges of the cake and then gently invert the pan to release the cake.  Place cake back onto rack and place a large plate under the rack.

Use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the cake.

For the glaze

Juice the two lemons that you already zested to get 1/3 cup of lemon juice.

Carefully, thinly slice the juiced lemons (you want about 8-10 slices).

In a small pot, combine the lemon juice and sugar and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.

Add the lemon slices to the syrup and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes to soften the lemon slices.

Remove the lemon slices from the syrup with a fork, place into a small bowl and set aside.

Continue to simmer syrup for about 3-5 more minutes, or until it is a pale yellow and has thickened slightly.

Spoon hot syrup over cake that has been pricked to make holes.  Do this slowly to allow the syrup to flow into the holes.  Lay lemon slices over the top.

Cool completely, slice and serve.

To store the cake, place several toothpicks into the cake sticking up, wrap with wax paper and place into a large resealable plastic bag or covered container.  The toothpicks will prevent the wax paper from sticking to the glaze.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well

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zest lemons into a large bowl

add butter, cream cheese and sugar to zest and cream together

add eggs and mix

add milk and mix

add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated

pour batter into prepared pan and bake

allow cake to cool for 15 minutes and then remove from pan, place on a wire cooling rack with a large plate underneath it and prick cake all over with a skewer or toothpick

for the glaze, juice the two lemons into a small saucepan, add sugar and heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved

add lemon slices and cook, stirring constantly until lemon slices have softened, about 5 minutes

remove lemon slices and set aside

continue simmering syrup until pale yellow and slightly thickened (2-3 more minutes)

spoon syrup over cake

top with lemon slices


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10 Comments ( Reply )

  1. Cassie
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 8:44 am

    Oh girl, I know exactly what you mean – I have been engrossed in a book and the Olympics and haven’t been getting to bed at a decent time, which means that I haven’t been able to get out of bed to go to the gym. Lightened up anything is my way right now. I love the looks of this pound cake!!


    • Mercedes
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 10:25 am

      I’m glad to hear that someone else is making a permanent imprint on their couch from the Olympics Cassie!


  2. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    So since it’s lightened up, I can eat the whole cake, right??

    Lemon is my jam. Love it! And could easily polish this off, candied lemon slices (adorable!) and all.


    • Mercedes
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 10:25 am

      I think lightened up always gives you permission to eat twice as much Hayley!


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    This cake looks amazing, I love that it’s lightened up and the lemon slices on top! 🙂


    • Mercedes
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 10:26 am

      Thank you Laura! I loved the cute candied lemon slices on this cake also! Have a great weekend!


  4. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

    I love the lemon slice on top and since it’s lightened up, I can eat as much as I want! 🙂


  5. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

    I always wondered what the meaning behind pound cake was…now I know!
    There is something so wonderful about lemon baked goods, what I would do for a slice of that right now!


    • Mercedes
      Aug 03, 2012 @ 10:26 am

      I wish I could bring you a slice right now Em!


  6. Anna @ hiddenponies
    Aug 02, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

    This sounds so fresh – perfect any time of day! Love the lemon slice rings, I’m feelin’ it 🙂


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