3rd Place Best Cake at the 2011 Ozark Empire Fair
3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups minus 2 Tbsp sugar
7 large eggs
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 1/3 cups chopped black walnuts
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted after measuring if lumpy
1 ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ Tbsp. hot water, plus more if needed
¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10 X 4 ¼ (15 cups) tube pan and dust with flour, shaking out any excess.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture. Add eggs one at a time, beating 10 seconds after each addition. Add vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and walnuts. Beat on medium speed until well blended and fluffy, 2 or 3 minutes. Turn batter into pan, smoothing surface.
Bake on middle rack or oven for 1 ¼ hours to 1 hour, 25 minutes, or until surface is nicely browned and springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in thickest part comes out with just a few crumbs. Do not over bake. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a table knife around the tube and edges of pan until cake is loosened. Turn onto cake plate.
In a medium bowl, stir together powdered sugar, butter, hot water, and lemon zest and lemon juice until well blended. Let stand for 2 minutes. If mixture stiffens too much, thin with a little more hot water. Smooth glaze over the cake with a table knife or pastry brush.