The secret to the cake is spooning a lemon sugar syrup over the cake right out of the oven. This soaks into the cake, keeps it moist, gives it that over the top lemon flavor, and makes it melt in your mouth.
Lemon Cake (adapted from Ina Garten)
1 1/2 lb unsalted butter (at room room temp)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 XL eggs, room temp
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (about 6-8 lemons)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Glaze
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom of two loaf pans.
Cream the butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar in the bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and 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 butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I start watching it after 30 minutes to be safe).
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a cooling rack set over a tray, and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mising with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.