Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake
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, side view

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
pinch salt
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.

Serves 9-10.


  1. I am a HUGE fan of anything lemon AND coffee cake, so this sounds like a beautiful match!

  2. Now you are talking! I’ve been wanting to make something with Meyer lemons. Thanks for a great idea!

  3. I would not have thought lemon and coffee would go together but this cake looks great.

  4. I just purchased some meyer lemon infused olive oil, which might be a wonderful addition to this cake. I’ll have to add it to the list of things to try!

    Sweet Tooth

  5. I am so jealous of those of you with readily available citrus trees! Just not a possibility here in the wilds of Wisconsin. Just pinned this to make later, as I can at least get Meyers at the store right now. Happy cooking!

  6. Yum!! I love lemon, this looks amazing!

  7. I have to say I never saw a lemon coffeecake recipe that I remember so this one really got my attention. I made it for my co-workers last Friday. They also noted they’d never seen a lemon coffeecake before but it got RAVE reviews. I had quite a few people tell me how good it was and how much they enjoyed it. Definitely a keeper-recipe. Thanks, Nicole, for another winner!!

  8. This looks lovely. I just took mine out of the oven and it smells heavenly. However, my topping “melted” into the cake and didn’t stay in streusel form. Any suggestions? Should I have cut the butter in instead of melting it? I’m sure we will eat all of it, but just wondering for next time I make it.

  9. Heidi – The streusel for this recipe doesn’t make a thick layer, so as you can see from my side shot, it stays close to the cake. I’m not sure how much yours melted in, but what you might want to do is just make more streusel so you have a thicker layer. I would double all the dry ingredients and use 1/3 cup butter (slightly less than double).

  10. Thanks Nicole. It completely melted into the cake (looks like there was no streusel at all). IStill yummy so I will try again as I’m a big fan of streusel topping.

  11. Been thinking about something like this for a while and now thanks to you will have more of an opportunity to bake it with confidence.

  12. Now you probably do not get many guys visiting your site for recipes, but being self-employed, I would really like to bake a coffee cake like this that I could eat in the morning before heading out to work, and unlike mass-manufactured low quality cakes, I will know that it is pure and made with 100% wholesome ingredients, thanks to your detailed recipe directions.

  13. I made this today, used oranges instead. Yummy! :)

  14. As you suggest, right around this time of the year in the late winter with the view towards spring, this could be the perfect morning treat for guests, or actually anyone.

  15. Thanks for the recipe! I made this and it tasted amazing. Here’s how mine turned out:

  16. Followed your recipe for this delicious treat, and after it had all been eaten baked it again, proof of the goodness and thank you.

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