Sour lemon cake – Donna Hay challenge #2

It is time for the Donna Hay challenge #2. This time Simone chose a photo taken by Con Poulos and featured in Donna Hay magazine 44 from 2009. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the challenge is just about trying to replicate a photo from Donna Hay magazine, you can read more about it on Simone’s blog.
How do you take your photos? Are you organized? Do you have an exact image in your mind before you take a picture? How long does it take you to shoot a photo? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 1 hour? More?
I always feel that I could shorten the time by preparing myself better. I try working on my organization skill, but there are still a lot of things to be done.
This time I prepared my props ahead, but I spent ages trying to drape the black sheet that was my background the way I wanted. I was doing it for so long that it started getting dark. So I quickly made some icing. I knew I would have only one opportunity to drizzle the icing over the cake nicely. The icing was quite thick so I added a little bit of water, and then a tiny bit more, and I ended up with too thin icing. I wish I were a wise girl who always has a backup cake (or even two), the icing would look so much better!
I must admit I’m happy with the result, even though a huge amount of the icing ended up on the sheet. I didn’t find a round, dark plate or a cutting board, so I went with something that wouldn’t attract your attention too much. I must admit that a better-looking bundt cake would be lovely. You can see how nicely the light plays with the cake in Astrid photo. And yes, it’s very different from the original one, but it is still the same lemon cake against a dark background.

donna hay 2 - two

But let’s get back to the cake itself. It’s effortless, delicate, lemony and delicious. Even people who usually don’t like lemon cakes thought it was delicious.

Sour lemon cake

  • Servings: For a 2-litre capacity Bundt pan
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Recipe from Donna Hay magazine 44 from 2009


  • 220g butter (melted)
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g sour cream
  • 60 ml lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 300 g all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (sifted)

Lemon icing

  • 320g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp water (boiling)


Preheat the oven to 160°C (I baked the cake in a fan oven, and the temperature was OK, so if you are baking it in a standard oven you may increase the temperature to 180°C). Place the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice and zest in a bowl and whisk to combine (you can use a mixer). Add the flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased Bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and take off the pan. Let it cool completely. To make the lemon icing: place the icing sugar, juice and water in a bowl and mix to combine. Drizzle over the cake.