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Lemon Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

Lemon Bars 1

First things first, let’s talk about the important stuff here. Lemon. Cream Cheese. Icing.

Yup.

We’re not saying the bars beneath don’t hold their own, but the sweet and creamy glaze on top is good enough that there’s a significant danger it won’t even make it from the bowl to the bars. It’s just creamy enough but bright with lemon flavor, and it adds an additional kick of sweetness to the cakey bars below. In short, it’s spoon-licking good.

Lemon Bars 2

Now, the bars themselves are not to be ignored. They’re refreshing and light, and yet still moist and buttery. The lemon flavor is bright throughout, backed by a soft and cakey bite. They’re the perfect dessert for a spring or summer gathering, but we find they brighten up a fall or winter day quite well. It’s the kind of dessert that just has a way of putting a smile on your face. Or maybe that’s all dessert? In any case, they don’t disappoint.

It’s a simple batter. Simple enough that it takes just a few minutes to come together. The icing is a quick affair too, mixed up while the bars are cooling. Make sure to wait until they’ve cooled completely to ice them, or the icing will get very runny. You can always pop the whole thing in the fridge for a few minutes to set up if you really need to, but don’t leave it to chill too long or the bars will dry out. Happy baking!

Lemon Cake Bars

45 minutes to prepare serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • For the bars:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8x8-inch cake pan with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and softened butter. Beat with an electric mixer until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pour into flour mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Spread into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 23-25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before glazing. While bars cool, make the glaze.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until combined. Spread evenly over cooled bars. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Adapted from Genius Kitchen.

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