Recipe Review

I Tried Grandbaby Cakes’ Recipe for Glazed Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake and It’s a Zesty, Citrusy Dream

published Jan 30, 2022
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Grandbaby Cakes Glazed Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Credit: Abigail Abesamis Demarest

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a huge fan of desserts. Eating them, making them, sharing them — my sweet tooth knows no bounds. So when I saw Jocelyn Delk Adams’s (aka Grandbaby Cakes) Instagram post highlighting a new recipe for Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake by Leidi Rodriguez, I knew I had to try it. I’d never had Meyer lemons before and was curious as to how their more mellow, sweeter flavor would taste in a dessert. I headed to my local grocery store and picked up the last bag of Meyer lemons (score!), a citrus press, and a handful of other ingredients I didn’t already have on hand and got started.

How to Make Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

You’ll start by greasing your pan (or pans) of choice. Rodriguez uses a 12-cup Bundt pan but notes that you can also use a pound cake tin or two 6-cup loaf pans. I opted for a loaf pan and an 8×8-inch square pan (both glass). Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl and set aside. Grab a large bowl and whisk together the sugar and lemon zest. Once combined, add your eggs and whisk until the mixture thickens and lightens. (For this step, I used a hand mixer to save my arms.) Add the vanilla and olive oil and, finally, gradually add in alternating portions of the dry ingredients and lemon juice. Pour your batter into a pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is cooling, make your syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and sugar. Once done, poke holes into your hot cake and brush on the syrup using a pastry brush. I didn’t have a toothpick on hand to poke the holes, so I used a paring knife instead. Let the cake cool completely and once it’s cooled, make the glaze.

Mix powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla in a measuring cup. Use a fork to stir, and add in more heavy whipping cream as needed to thin out the glaze or add more sugar to thicken it. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and top it with reserved lemon zest. All that’s left is for you to admire your beautiful cake, snap a photo for the ‘gram, and dig in!

My Honest Review

Other than zesting and squeezing the lemons, which was a touch tedious, this recipe is straightforward and yields a satisfying result. The cake is lemony, moist, crumbly, and sweet, making it the perfect complement to a cup of black coffee or tea. While the glaze doesn’t have a particularly notable flavor on its own, the best bites of cake are the ones with glaze on them, so don’t be afraid to be generous with the amount of glaze you pour over top. This is a great recipe for lemon-lovers, and chances are you already have most (if not all) of the ingredients already on hand. Take advantage of Meyer lemon season and make this delicious lemon olive oil cake. The vibrant yellow hue and bright flavors are like warm sunshine on a plate — something that I could definitely use more of on cold winter days.

Credit: Abigail Abesamis Demarest

5 Tips for Making Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  1. Take the eggs out of the fridge first. Rodriguez stresses the importance of using room-temperature eggs for this recipe, so putting your eggs out on the counter should be your very first step. She notes that using cold eggs will yield a separated, heavy batter that won’t rise as well in the oven.
  2. Prep the lemons and lemon juice before combining ingredients. Another initial step that’s important to ensuring smooth sailing when it’s time to mix and measure is prepping the lemons. Zesting and juicing the lemons ahead of time will make following the steps of the recipe that much easier. I used a citrus press to get the most juice out of the pound of Meyer lemons I purchased, reserving a quarter cup for the syrup and pouring the rest into the batter. I also reserved about a quarter of the zest for sprinkling over the cake at the end, which added an extra zing of flavor.
  3. If you’re using a loaf pan, use cooking spray and parchment paper to prep the pan. While butter and flour make sense for greasing a Bundt pan due to all of its nooks and crannies, using cooking spray (like olive oil or Baker’s Joy) and parchment paper is — in my humble opinion — an easier and less messy method of ensuring your cake doesn’t stick to the pan. Plus, you can use the overhang on either side as a hammock of sorts to lift the cake right out of the loaf pan when it’s time to glaze and serve.
  4. If you’re not using a Bundt pan, you don’t need to turn out the cake. In the original recipe, the cake is turned out of the Bundt pan onto a wire cooling rack before adding the syrup and glaze. This step isn’t necessary for a loaf pan, which comes out of the oven right-side up. I brushed on the syrup while the cake was still in the pan, then lifted the cake out of the pan before glazing it over a wire cooling rack. For the cake in the 8×8-inch pan, I served slices right out of the pan.
  5. Spend the extra money on high-quality ingredients if possible. Since this recipe has a relatively short ingredient list, it’s worth spending a little bit more on hero ingredients — particularly the extra-virgin olive oil and, to a lesser degree, vanilla extract. With so few ingredients, each one is important and evident in the taste of the resulting cake.