East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake
The “East 62d Street Lemon Cake” became famous from the 1970 New York Times article below. Maida Heatter included it in her cookbooks and credited her daughter, Toni Marks, with its invention. A variation of the cake in Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts (Knopf, 1975) is a “Lemon Tea Loaf.”

All New York City streets should have their own cakes.

9 August 1970, New York Times, “Connoisseurs’ cakes” by Craig Claiborne, pg. 183:
…and the third comes straight from East 62d Street, Manhattan. But they do share certain characteristics: they are given a liquid glaze while hot; they are delectable in flavor and texture, and they are from the collection of Maida Heatter, the celebrated food expert of Miami Beach. Furthermore, the New York cake was created by her daughter, Toni Marks.

Fine dry bread crumbs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound plain butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar.

5 January 1992, Sunday Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA), pg. G10:
If there’s one name synonymous with great desserts, it’s Maida Heatter.

In fact, she’s often described as America’s “First Lady of Desserts.”
The recipe below for “East 62nd Street Lemon Cake” is her daughter’s creation. It’s become quite famous since being printed in the New York Times. The list of hosts and hostesses who keep it on hand at all times reads like a Who’s Who.

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 pound butter 2 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 cup milk finely grated rind of 2 lemons

Adjust rack one-third up from bottom of oven. Preheat to 350. Butter a 9×3 1/2-inch tube pan and dust it lightly with fine, dry bread crumbs.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl of electric mixer cream the butter. Add sugar and beat 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs individually, scraping bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula to keep mixture smooth.

On lowest speed, alternately add dry ingredients in three additions and milk in two additions, scrapping as necessary and beating only until smooth after each addition. Stir in lemon rind. Turn batter into prepared pan; level top by rotating pan briskly back and forth.

Bake 1 hour and 10-15 minutes until a cake tester comes out dry. Let cake stand in pan for about 5 minutes; then cover with a rack and invert. Remove pan, leaving cake upside down. Place over a large piece of aluminum foil or wax paper and prepare glaze of 1/3 cup lemon juice and 3/4 cup sugar.

Glaze should be used immediately after it is mixed. Stir juice and sugar and brush all over the hot cake until absorbed. Let cake cool completely. Transfer to a cake plate. Do not cut for at least several hours. Makes 10 portions.


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