Springtime lemon squares

Springtime lemon squares

While the kids eat the chocolate bunnies and jelly beans from their Easter baskets, you can have something even better.

Plan a dessert for your Easter and spring celebrations that will have the adults coming back for seconds. Lemon bars are easy to make and are good for an outdoor party if you don’t want to worry about plates and silverware.

The combination of lemon and rosemary is perfect in a rustic coffee cake made in a springform pan. Just a hint of rosemary with the lemon turns a plain lemon cake into something special.

Or if you’re looking for something simple to make, try a lemon custard cake. This old-fashioned dessert starts with a simple cake made with buttermilk. Once out of the oven, poke holes all over the cake and then pour on a cooked, lemony custard. The custard becomes a thick frosting for the cake. For extra lemon flavor, add lemon zest and then decorate with spirals of lemon peel.


The custard layer will cool and form a frosting on top of this soft, lemony cake.

Lemon Custard Cake Serves 8

  • 1 cup self-rising four
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

For the custard:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (or spray with nonstick spray) an 8-by-8-inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, blend flour, sugar and butter at medium speed until well blended. Add buttermilk, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix on low for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until creamy.

Pour batter into baking dish, and bake 30-35 minutes. Make custard (step 4) while cake is baking. Remove from oven, and poke holes on top of cake using a fork.

In a saucepan, make custard by combining sugar, flour, eggs, milk, salt and lemon juice over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Mixture should reach a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat, and set aside until cake is done.

Pour custard over cake. Allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until serving.


The combination of shortbread crust and tangy lemon filling make these bars.

Springtime Lemon Squares

Makes 16 squares

Crust:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Topping:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter an 8-inch square pan.

In a bowl, cream all the ingredients with an electric mixer until soft and smooth. Press dough evenly into pan and bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping.

In a bowl, beat eggs well with an electric mixer and gradually add sugar, until mixture is thick. Gradually add remaining ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.

Pour lemon mixture over hot crust, return to oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is golden. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into squares, remove from pan and sift powdered sugar over the top. 

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