This lemon turmeric cake is moist, tangy, and delicious with a caramelized lemon and sugar crust. Easy no mixer required recipe that uses a handful of accessible ingredients and gives you the perfect tea cake.
Do you taste the turmeric in the lemon turmeric cake?
Not really. It gives a really slight hint of spice, but it isn’t very present or overpowering in the least. Trust me if it was, my kids wouldn’t have devoured it the way they did!
I bet you never thought of adding turmeric to your lemon cake before. I certainly hadn’t, but as soon as I saw the recipe in my new cookbook from Alison Roman , It was an aha moment. It made perfect sense to me. Turmeric is slightly bitter (like lemon) and has scents of orange and ginger, and best of all turns the cake a beautiful yellow vibrant color.
How is this tea cake so moist?
The ingredients, and the method of combining them:
Moistening agents: sour cream or yogurt, melted butter which gives the same moistness as oil, but with that lovely butter flavor.
Dry ingredients: flour, salt, turmeric, and plenty of baking powder for leavening and fluffiness.
And for flavor: lemon juice and lemon zest that gets rubbed into the sugar which infuses all the sugar with lemon flavor and lemon oil. Delicious!
As for the combining method, at each step, the ingredients get mixed by hand but NOT OVER-MIXED. Over-mixing the batter will develop the gluten in the flour and result in a tough, overworked cake.
Adapting the recipe from the cookbook:
I reduced the amount of sugar slightly, because I found Alison’s metric measurements to be a different then the weights I know (for example, she states 1 cup of sugar to weigh 225 grams, but I know it as 200 g. I added only 200g of sugar and it was plenty). I also reduced the amount of sugar in the topping, because after sprinkling 1 tbsp on top I had already covered the surface thoroughly. Alison uses 2 tbsp.
I also used regular table salt instead of kosher salt- more accessible. I used 1/2 tsp as opposed to the 1 tsp of kosher salt she uses.
I used half sour cream and half yogurt because I didn’t have enough sour cream to make up the full amount. You can use either/or/both
Can I leave out the turmeric:
Yes! But try it before you knock it, you’ll barely taste anything and the color is gorgeous (plus turmeric is so good for you!)
What do I do if my cake is turning too dark but the inside still isn’t cooked through?
Top the cake with aluminum foil if it’s browning too fast.
How to prevent my cake from sticking to the pan:
I highly recommend both spraying the loaf pan and lining with parchment paper so the cake is very easily released after baking.
How to serve the lemon turmeric cake:
Have this either warm or at room temperature, both are delicious. You can enjoy it plain as I did, or with a dollop of greek yogurt or whipped cream. Definitely have a cup of tea or coffee on the side, or milk for the kids!
How long does this cake keep:
Up to five days tightly wrapped at room temperature. I will say, if you do plan on making this in advance, consider not topping with the lemon slices because the cake directly touching the lemon slices does get a little soggy over the next couple of days.
Lemon Turmeric Cake
- 1.5 cups flour 210 g
- 2 tsp baking powder
- scant 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 cup sugar 200 g
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt 185 g
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted 115 g
- 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced for topping
- 1 heaped tbsp sugar for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non stick spray, then line with parchment paper with some overhang so you can lift the finished cake out easily.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric in a bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the one cup of sugar with the lemon zest, rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and pale yellow. Whisk in the sour cream or yogurt, eggs, and lemon juice until well combined.
- Use a spatula and add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top, then topping with lemon slices placed over the top. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top.
- Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean (a few crumbs are ok), 50-60 minutes.
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