Little Lemon Almond Cake

Last week, my mom turned 73, and she and our nephew Roman, who was in town visiting for the week, came over for dinner. Roman got his own batch of chocolate cupcakes, but since Genny isn’t a chocolate fan, I decided to whip up this little, four-serving lemon almond cake for her. I’m pleased to say she really enjoyed it.

This makes one single-layer, 6-inch cake, so you could easily double the recipe for a two-layer cake. The cake itself is a denser cake that is better paired with drizzle-style icing than a buttercream frosting, but you could still frost it with buttercream if you prefer. This cake would also be great with some whipped cream and fresh berries.


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • Zest of 1/2 one medium lemon
  • About 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4-5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Toasted flaked almonds, for decorating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 6-inch round cake pan, line with a parchment circle, and lightly grease the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until very well-blended. Add egg, almond extract, and lemon zest and beat well to combine, scraping the sides of your bowl a few times.

Add flour and milk alternatively in two batches, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until completely combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the drizzle icing, combine powdered sugar, almond extract, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix until smooth, adding more lemon juice as necessary to reach a thick but pourable drizzling consistency. Pour over cake and spread with an offset spatula so drizzle just starts to drip down the sides of the cake. Add toasted flaked almonds, if desired.

Store, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days. Makes 4 servings.


Cake for One

cake for oneFor the longest time, I’ve wanted to find a recipe for one 6-inch cake. Just a single 6-inch round, a cake for one, for those times you literally want a little cake.

Most recipes can be cut down, but the single-layer cakes I’ve made before call for one egg – and I didn’t want to figure out how to halve an egg. Instead, I chose a recipe without eggs and cut it in half; this recipe for crazy vanilla cupcakes, which makes one dozen cupcakes or an 8-inch round, has no dairy at all. I’m delighted to report that it turned out very well,  just enough for four servings.

I cut my cake in half and turned it into a two-layer, but you could easily skip that step if you like. I also tinted my frosting a light pink and added some sprinkles for an extra bit of color.


For the cake 

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water

For the frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 teaspoons heavy cream
  • Food coloring, if desired
  • Sprinkles, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 6-inch round cake pan; line with a parchment circle, then lightly grease the parchment and flour the pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Make three wells for the wet ingredients; add vinegar to one, vanilla to another, and vegetable oil to the third. Add water and stir until batter is very well-combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar all at once, then beat on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes. Scraped down the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and heavy cream, then beat for another 1-2 minutes.

Add food coloring if desired; I used a few drops of red for a light pink shade.

Slice cake into two layers; place a dab of frosting on your cake plate to help the bottom layer stay in place during frosting. Place the bottom layer on the plate and top with a thin layer of frosting. Top with the second layer; frost the top and sides. If desired, add rainbow sprinkles.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.