My lemon trees are nearly falling over with fruit right now, since we are in the peak of citrus season. Fresh citrus always gives me lots of inspiration in the kitchen, because a little bit of juice or zest can really perk up a dish. This Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake is just one of my most recent ways to put some of those lemons to good use. The lemony cake packs a double dose of lemon for citrus-lovers. It has both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in the cake batter, and more lemon juice and zest in the streusel topping.
The cake is has a lovely lemon flavor to it, with a hint of butter from the buttermilk that is also in the cake batter. It isn’t as strong a lemon flavor as you might get from a batch of lemon curd, but it is more than enough to make the cake taste like springtime. The hint of lemon in the crispy streusel topping is a nice finishing touch to the cake – and a very nice change of pace from more common cinnamon streusel-topped cakes.
I used meyer lemons in this cake, which are less acidic than your average lemons are. This means that they are less sour, but still have a strong lemon flavor. You can substitute regular lemons into this recipe without changing anything – you will still get a bright lemon flavor and the cake will still be sweet enough. I highly recommend sticking with fresh lemon juice and zest, rather than bottled juice, for the best flavor, though. Also, to get the most out of your lemons, be sure to zest them before juicing them, as it is a little more difficult to get a microplane across the skin of a lemon that has already been juiced!
Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and lemon zest.
Stir in one third of the flour mixture, followed by the lemon juice. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Make the streusel. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, flour, lemon zest and salt. Add in melted butter and lemon juice and stir with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan before slicing.