To be honest, this recipe happened by accident. I was rushing through the store and thought I grabbed a big bag of lemons. When I got home I discovered that they were actually Meyer lemons, an entirely different beast.
I discovered they were Meyer lemons because I went to open the bag and saw this strange soulless Meyer lemon face staring at me.
I’ve only had Meyer lemons once or twice so I thought I would cut into them and see what they taste like. They are sweeter than an actual lemon, but what’s also interesting is that the rind is really thin so you can almost eat it like an apple.
Not only did I want to use a Meyer lemon, but I wanted to use a lot of them so I thought folding them into a rich and sweet coffee cake would work nicely. Turns out, the slightly tart lemons pair perfectly with the sweet cake.
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Zest 5 Meyer lemons and slice them very thinly. Discard ends from lemons.
2) Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer and add lemon slices. Lightly simmer lemon slices for 90 seconds. Drain lemon slices and set slices on paper towels. Sprinkle lemon slices with sugar.
3) In a small bowl, stir together the crumb ingredients and cut in cold butter pieces. The mixture should be chunky and the butter should be in pea-sized pieces.
4) In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Mix until the butter mixture is light and fluffy, at least 4-5 minutes. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract.
5) In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
6) Add half of dry ingredients to the cake base, then add Greek yogurt, and finish batter with the rest of the dry ingredients.
7) Lightly butter an 8x8 baking dish and spread in half of the cake batter. Dot batter with lemon slices and cover with rest of the cake batter. Top with extra lemon slices and finish coffee cake with crumb.
8) Place coffee cake on a baking sheet to catch any that overflows and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 55 minutes. The center should be just set.
9) Remove cake and let cool for 20 minutes or so and then cut into 9 even squares.
Recipe roughly adapted from a Delish recipe.
Dealing with Meyers
I used about five Meyer lemons for this recipe which sounds like a lot, but trust me it’s not. They are smaller than actual lemons and are much more mild so you can really go heavy on them.
That said, there is some prep work to work with these guys. For starters, you need to zest all the lemons and then slice them into thin slices.
Next, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer and add the sliced lemons. Simmer the lemon slices for about 90 seconds. This will reduce the tart flavors a bit more and also soften the rind so you can eat it easily.
Then remove the lemon slices and lay them out on a few paper towels. Sprinkle the slices with sugar and also try to pick out as many seeds as you can.
Coffee Cake Batter
This is a fairly standard coffee cake recipe with one exception: the crumb. It’s a lot of crumb and makes a thick layer on top of the cake.
Make the crumb first just by mixing the dry stuff together and then cutting in the butter. It should be a chunky mixture.
The rest of the batter is pretty standard. Start it by creaming together the butter and sugar and add in all that lovely lemon zest.
Once that is light and fluffy, add in the eggs and vanilla. Then add in the dry ingredients and the Greek yogurt.
Making and Baking
Once your batter is tossed together, lightly butter an 8×8 baking dish and layer in half of the batter. Top with a bunch of the lightly candied lemon slices.
Then top with the other half of your batter, more lemon slices and then all of the wonderful crumb mixture.
Bake this sucker at 350 degrees F. for about 55-60 minutes until it’s set in the center and nicely browned around the edges.
One tip: Bake this thing on a baking sheet so any crumb that overflows won’t burn onto your oven.
Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes and then you can cut into it and serve it up!
The lemons have just enough tartness without being too crazy.
Meyer lemons are in season right now so maybe buy some on purpose and try this out!
Is anyone a Meyer lemon fan? Leave a comment with other ideas for them!