This is my grandmother, Hazel's lemon cake recipe. It is beyond decadent! This recipe calls for 2 loaf pans but sometimes she made it as a 2 layer cake.
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sugar
½ cup lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. (or 2 round cake pans if making a layer cake)
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small bowl. Microwave for one minute and stir until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them down UPSIDE-DOWN on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely. Make sure when you turn them right-side up that you don’t let the top of the cake stick to the rack, or the tops of your cakes will not be as pretty as you want them to be.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.