Make a mini limoncello cake that features bright lemon flavor and a lovely limoncello glaze when you want to bring a bright burst of sunshine into your day.
Lemons bring bright flavor, no matter the weather
Lemons remind me of springtime, no matter what the season. It could be grey and pouring rain...just one taste of anything made from lemons (or limes, or oranges…) brings a bit of sunshine into my day.
I’m not sure if it’s the bright color of the fruit or the bright flavor it brings…things made from citrus just brings me joy.
Remember the Mint Lemon Lime Bars I made for my daughter’s engagement party last summer? Just a little nibble of one made me happy.
(we’re sensing a theme here)
Celebrating a friend's birthday with cake
Recently I wanted to make a special dessert for a friend’s birthday (and, gasp, not from chocolate), so I thought about making lemon bars. Then I thought of lemon cake. Wait, no…a mini limoncello cake!
I found several recipes for limoncello cake that were all very similar, so I settled on the one from Zagleft. It checked all the boxes for me…bright lemon flavor, buttery and flecked with vanilla bean seeds, and glazed with more limoncello to really emphasize the lemony-ness (is that a word? It is now) of the cake.
The first time I made the mini limoncello cake was as a quick bread in a loaf pan. Then I saw this small (6-cup) bundt pan and knew I had to use it as well (I think mini bundt cakes are just so adorable, don't you?).
And after all, I can always make more limoncello!
Quick bread recipes...just mix and pour
Like most quick bread-style cakes, this mini limoncello cake is very versatile…you can make it in a standard loaf pan, a small (6-cup) bundt pan, or even make muffins. You can also double the recipe if you want to use a full-sized (10-12 cup) bundt pan.
The method is easy, too...just mix wet & dry ingredients separately, then mix together and bake. It's not fussy, and you don't even need to break out the mixer.
Improving a quick bread recipe
I like to use real vanilla bean seeds in my baked goods whenever possible for maximum vanilla flavor, but you can use one teaspoon of vanilla extract instead.
To up the lemony-ness of the overall flavor even more, I poked a few holes in the still-warm cake and drizzled a bit of the limoncello glaze before allowing it to cool completely.
It’s your choice whether to follow my lead, but it’s well worth it.
My friend with the birthday raved about his mini limoncello cake, hoarded it (and didn’t share, I might add…although I would do the same!), and took pictures for me.
The small bundt version I made for my family was a burst of sunshine on a rainy spring day…sweet, tart, and cute as a button (and I did share…at least with them).
I’ve still got a bit of limoncello left in the refrigerator…hmmm…anybody having an upcoming birthday?
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes for quick breads & bundt cakes
Most quick bread & muffin recipes can be made as bundt cakes, and vice versa.
Other options using a recipe that makes one loaf in a standard loaf pan are 4 mini breads in mini loaf pans, 12 muffins in a standard muffin pan, or 24 muffin bites in a mini muffin pan. Great for breakfast or gift giving!
You can also adjust the recipe you're using (doubling or halving it) to fit the pan you'd like to use. Don't be limited to one shape for a recipe!
Mini Limoncello Cake with Limoncello Glaze
For the cake
- 2 large eggs, large
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 Tbsp limoncello, or lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
For the glaze
- ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 Tbsp limoncello, or lemon juice (to achieve desired consistency, adjust amount as necessary)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, butter, limoncello (or lemon juice), vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract), lemon zest, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined (try not to overmix the batter).
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center is clean and the top of the cake is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes on a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the sifted powdered sugar and the limoncello (or lemon juice) in a bowl until smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding 1 teaspoon of milk or more sifted powdered sugar as needed.
- Remove the cake from the pan by inverting the pan. Turn the cake over and poke holes in the top of the cake with a cake tester or toothpick. Pour a little of the glaze over the cake, allowing it to soak in. Let cake cool completely.
- Drizzle the remainder of the glaze over the cake and let dry.
- Serve and enjoy the sunshine!