Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Cake

This week was my last opportunity to bring a dessert for the birthdays at work.  My co-worker David really likes lemon so I decided to make a lemon cake for him.  You know I love bundt cakes and found this recipe which seemed so fitting.

You see, I work on protecting public lands under the Wilderness Act of 1964.  President Johnson signed that act into law and this recipe supposedly comes from his wife, Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson (just love her name)!

As some (most) homemade cakes are, it was a little dry, but most people probably wouldn’t notice and the lemon is not overwhelming like in some citrus desserts.  I will definitely be making this again.

lemon cake

Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Cake

recipe from Style and Home


3/4 cup  butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing the pan

2-1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the pan

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

8 egg yolks

3/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

lemon icing (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Brush the inside of a Bundt pan thoroughly with the melted butter and dust it lightly with flour. (this is the first time i greased the pan this way, it works so well!  I will only be using this method from now on)

Whisk together the flour with the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are light and lemon-colored, then add them to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until just blended.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the milk (in two increments), beginning and ending with the flour and beating until thoroughly incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice; beat for 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 1 hour, until a tooth pic inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. Pour the icing over the cooled cake and serve.

Lemon Icing


2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons heavy cream (or more as needed)

Combine the confectioners’ sugar with the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cream in a small bowl and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth, thick, and pourable.

Add more cream if needed to obtain the desired consistency.

About LindsayMargaret

Runner, baker, lover of the outdoors, PR professional living in Washington DC
This entry was posted in Baking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Lady Bird Johnson’s Lemon Cake

  1. Miranda says:

    Love the background on the cake! And it looks perfect with tea. 🙂

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