Warning: Spoilers everywhere!
"Lemon cakes are my favorite."
Season 3, Episode 2: Dark Wings, Dark Words
Season 4, Episode 5: First of His Name
Oh Sansa, you sweet summer child. Lemon cakes are just one of many exotic things Sansa falls in love with during her time in the south, and definitely the only thing from King's Landing that was actually sweet. Google 'Sansa lemon cakes' and a bazillion different recipes pop up. Cupcakes, tea cakes, cocktails, topped with candied lemon, topped with icing, topped with curd - it's probably the most popular recipe idea for Game of Thrones. There is even an 'official' Sansa's Lemon Cakes recipe, commissioned by HBO. Friends, this is not that recipe.
When I think of lemon cake, I have a memory of an intense triple meyer lemon cake from Martha Stewart magazine from the early 2000s, but try as I might, I could not hunt down this specific recipe anywhere on the internets. A tender lemon buttermilk cake is soaked with lemon simple syrup while still warm, and drizzled with a sharp lemon icing. Because I love Meyer lemons like Sansa loves lemon cakes, I may have tripled (or more) the amount of lemon zest, and piled lemon zest into the soaking syrup. Overkill perhaps, but when life gives you Meyer lemons...
I have cobbled a few favorite recipes together for this ultimate lemon cake. A yogurt lemon cake from our favorite Deb Perlman - her version, studded with blueberries is a trusted go-to cake for me, and the beautiful candied lemon topped cake idea comes from Rosanna Pansino's lemon cakes. But in keeping with the memory of my favorite lemon cake, the candied lemon syrup is drizzled onto the still warm cakes making it, well, a little extra...
I used Meyer lemons here, a cross between an orange and lemon, which have a thin tender rind and a sweet floral perfume. It is also a winter lemon, reaching the height of its season in December and January in California, so winter lemon cakes for Sansa seemed the perfect fit. But if you don't have Meyers, use regular lemons instead - these cakes will still be super delicious and worthy of appreciation by all the fancy ladies at your next garden party.
Lovely Lemony Ladycakes
adapted from Deb Perlman
For the Candied Lemon:
For the Cake: