Maida Heatter's East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

"This is the famed lemon cake, from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts, as reprinted in "A Holiday Tea Party", Good Food Magazine, December 1988."
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Ready In:
1hr 55mins
1 cake




  • Adjust oven rack 1/3 from bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9x3-1/2-inch tube pan and dust it lightly with fine, dry bread crumbs.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In large bowl of electric mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs individually, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula to keep mixture smooth. On lowest speed alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the milk in two additions, scraping the bowl with the rubber spatula as necessary and beating only until smooth after each addition. Stir in lemon rind. Turn the batter into prepared pan. Level top by rotating pan briskly back and forth.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes until a cake tester comes out dry.
  • Let cake stand in pan for about 3 minutes and then cover with a rack and invert. Remove pan, leaving the cake upside down. Place over a large piece of aluminum foil or waxed paper and prepare glaze.
  • The glaze must be used immediately after it is mixed.
  • Stir the lemon juice and sugar together and brush all over the hot cake until absorbed.
  • Let cake cool completely. Use two wide metal pancake turners or a cookie sheet to transfer it to a cake plate.
  • Do not cut for at least several hours.

Questions & Replies

  1. Why must glaze be used immediateely
  2. Does the glaze go on the cake while it's upside down or is it flipped first?


  1. 30 years ago I won a blue ribbon at a county fair when I entered this cake. It is by far one of my favorite recipes. It tastes even better the day after you make it (when the lemon/sugar glaze has crystalized).
  2. What a wonderful cake--as good asI remembered! My mother made it in the 60's. I rediscovered the recipe in the Timesin 1970. It's a glorious pound cake and an adaptable recipe--this time I made a small bundt and 8 heart shaped muffin-sized minis. All super. Thanks, Jackie!


I didn't start cooking until my early 20's, even though I come from a family of accomplished and admired home cooks. While I grew up watching my Italian grandmother in the kitchen, I remained uninterested in trying anything on my own. As a young lady, I was known for being particularly ignorant in the kitchen, with no idea how to even make a hot dog! All this changed, however, when I got engaged. I realized it was time to let my inherent talents out of the bag. At the time, the New York Times had a weekly column called The 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey. Each week, I would follow these recipes diligently, and taught myself to cook that way. From there, I began to read cookbooks and consult with relatives on family recipes. At my ripe old age now, I feel I know enough to put together a very pleasing meal and have become accomplished in my own right. Having an Irish father and an Italian mother, I'm glad I inherited the cooking gene (and the drinking one too!). One thing I have learned is that simpler is always better! I always believe cooking fills a need to nurture and show love. After being widowed fairly young and living alone with my dog and cats, I stopped cooking for awhile, since I really had no one to cook for. I made care packages for my grown son occasionally, and like to cook weekly for my boyfriend, so I feel like I am truly back in the saddle!!
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