Meyer Lemon & Olive Oil Tea Cakes

Foodie Friday!

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One of the things I particularly miss about my home state of California is
homegrown citrus. Citrus just doesn't thrive in the Pacific Northwest, so to get around this I grow a few citrus trees and bushes in large pots and bring them in to overwinter indoors.
I have a couple of Meyer lemon plants (in 6 gallon pots), the more mature of the two plants rewarded us with almost 6 pounds of fruit (!) this season.

The fruit is ready to pick in the cooler months, and the good thing about having the plant is that you can leave the fruit on the tree or bush for a few months, picking as needed. The shot above is a portion of the recent harvest.

Grocery store lemon & Meyer lemon. (Meyer lemon is on the right side.)
By now probably everyone knows the difference between regular supermarket lemons (Eureka, Lisbon, etc.) and Meyer lemons... but if not I cut them open side-by-side so you can see the difference in the skin and flesh. The Meyers are usually a little smaller, and have a much more delicate perfume, and flavor. The flesh from the homegrown ones yield more juice per lemon, and the tender skin contains more citrus oil in my experience.
The plants really require very little care, just regular watering when the soil becomes nearly dry, I feed mine 2 or 3 times a year with an all-purpose plant food. Just place them in a sunny spot, and bring them indoors during the colder months. They do not tolerate freezing weather.
One thing to keep in mind, if you grown your own ~ if you leave the ripe fruit on the plant beyond spring the plant will not produce as many blossoms so your yield the following season won't be as plentiful.
It was time to pick the remaining Meyers, so I'll be making several "lemony" things in the next few days...
Today I began with these yummy tea cakes.

They are quite delicious, you can make them into these little bite-size cakes, cupcakes, or a single layer tea cake. And the GOOD news is that you can either make the cake from scratch, or flavor-up a boxed yellow cake mix. The results are pretty darn similar.

The recipe I usually use can be found HERE... but this time I used the boxed layered cake mix, and I doubt anyone could tell the difference unless they were served side-by-side.

To make it the short-cut way (with the boxed yellow-cake mix), substitute 1/2 cup of lemon juice for half of the 1 cup of water called for (1/2 cup lemon juice & 1/2 cup water), replace the oil with olive oil, and add a tablespoon (or more to taste) of finely grated lemon zest to the batter.

They are moist, lemony and positively irresistible!

If you try them, I hope you love them as much as my family does.
And if you have any desire at all to grow your own citrus, I hope you'll give it a go ~ it's very rewarding.
Thank you for stopping by to visit today, and Happy Foodie Friday Everyone!


  1. That's so neat to have your own citrus tree in a pot that really produces that much for you! I'd love to try that myself, but I'm afraid I'd kill it.

  2. I'm not even sure I could buy a lemon tree around here--have to get out the catalogs. I love the idea of having one and never even considered it a possibility! The tea cakes look divine :)

  3. That last comment was me--did not notice my son had signed in to check his mail :)

  4. Those Tea Cakes look delicious! Neat that you can grow citrus in pot! That is really wonderful.

  5. You make me want to go out and buy meyer lemons and make this recipe. How lucky to have your own tree.

  6. Your Meyer lemons are beautiful! I snagged some at the grocery store this year and made a lemon bread pudding. I haven't seen them since! I thought they had a more mild flavor. I am going to keep your tip of replacing some of the water with lemon juice. Lovely tea cakes. Joni

  7. How nice to have your very own lemon trees. These little cakes are precious!

  8. Fantastic. That was a really informative post about homegrown lemons. I once bought a baby lemon plant so that I could grow my own lemons... but I killed it :(

  9. Just lovely and too pretty to eat! I love my Meyer lemons for their abundance of juice and sweeter zest.

  10. Oh the cake looks so moist and delicious! Yum!

  11. Mari, This is a wonderful recipe.I would definitely do the shortcut. Can anyone grow Myers lemons and bring them inside? I would love to try to grow them.
    YOur photography is wonderful. Yummy post!

  12. As another California transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I totally relate. Citrus and avocados...mmmm...

  13. Love those violets on the plate.. the color is just perfect and so is that recipe... i love lemons!!!

  14. love these! do you have an exact recipe for the white icing? thanks!

  15. ahhh these are beautiful cakes.. so dainty and perfect for with a cup of tea. You make everything look gorgeous Mari! unfortunately there are no meyer lemons here but I suppose a combo of lemon and orange cld do it. dont u think? ill keep this recipe for later. tq :)

    n do come by and see my giveaway Mari. I hv been off the blog for a while so i get less visits so I thought Id let a few North American friends know bcos the giveawy is only for NAericns. It s really lovely n I hope y try for it ..although you have even more gorgeous things in ur home I know. :)

  16. They are soo cute..I have never had a Meyer.. I will put on my glasses and see if we would ever have any..

    I have seen California footballs compared to mine..I loved every one:)Prettily Presented as always~

  17. Sooooo soft and cute tea cakes...

  18. These look just perfect!
    The Meyers are hard to come by here...I have been lucky to receive some from a California friend...but not this year...:(
    Gorgeous Mary!

  19. That recipe is wonderful. You have a beautiful post, Thank you


  20. Oh my gosh....these look wonderful! Love those California lemons. Thanks for sharing. Mumzie

  21. Thank you for your comments everybody!

    I am happy to see so much interest in growing your own citrus plant(s). I hope you will try to grow one or two, they require very little care and actually survive with some neglect.

    I grow the dwarf variety ~ they do best in pots for me. When looking for a plant try to find a healthy one in at least a 1 gallon pot (or larger), they aren’t as fragile as the little seedlings sold in smaller pots. If your local nursery/garden center doesn’t sell them…ask! :)

    Though they don’t thrive year-round outdoors here, I have seen them for sale here in the Pac NW at home improvement centers. The price is usually $5. to $7. per 1-gallon-pot size plant.

    Yvonne, I’m sure you could grow them! I simply move mine outdoors after the last frost as they seems to be a little happier that way. I forgot to mention the delightful bonus ~ the heavenly scent of the citrus blossoms… one of my very favorite scents in the world…intoxicating!

    Rena, thank you for asking ~ I just sift about 2 cups of powdered (confectioner’s) sugar into a bowl, then begin stirring in lemon juice ½ teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached (it doesn’t take much juice.) Drizzle over the cakes and it will harden as it dries.

    Hi Zurin! Welcome back!! Yes, a combination of lemon and orange will work just fine ~ I have heard of others doing that very thing when Meyers aren’t available. Thank you for the invitation ~ I’m heading over to your blog now. :)

    Nana, I hope you can find a plant, I wish I could send you one!

    Linda, and anyone else in the US, if you can’t find the plants locally you might try an internet search for nurseries which do mail order for citrus plants.
    Here I one source I know to be reputable:

    They are located in California but I believe they ship nationwide (with a couple of exceptions--that would be other commercial-citrus growing states.) There are also suppliers in Texas and Florida, just do a 'google' search.

    Thanks again for your interest everybody ~ I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. xo ~m.

  22. When I lived in the CA desert (south of Palm Springs) everybody had a Meyer lemon tree. You couldn't *give* them away because everybody had plenty! Haha. These tea cakes look yummy - will look forward to more lemony recipes :)

  23. That's it. I simply need to make a lemon/olive oil cake. So I'll be making these. The fates have decreed it so! :-)

    Question for you, though: When you bring them indoors, where do you put them? For instance, do you think they would do well in my garage or would I need a more climate-controlled spot? This is the only reason I have yet to purchase a lemon tree!

  24. They look lemony good..Perfect with a cup of tea on this rainy Friday!

  25. These are sooooo lovely, and inspire me to go pick the rest of my Meyers and make 'em for this weekend's Barbecue!! I even have some purple and yellow 'johnny jump-ups' for garnish too! YAY! gorg photos as ever.

  26. Beautiful lemon cakes. It's nice to know the shortcuts.

  27. These look delicious and so pretty! Yummy.

  28. I recently had a chicken dish at a fancy resturant in NYC and it had a Meyer lemon reduction sauce on it and it was fabulous....what a differance in taste over a regular lemon...and you can see the differance in your picture comparing one lemon to the other...I love how you used regular cake mix and just changed the ingrediants...I will have to try this now that I found a store near me that carries Meyer lemons...Thanks for the recipe...Sue.

  29. I don't think I will be growing any lemon trees anytime soon but I am definitely going to be trying this recipe! It looks divine!

    Best wishes,

  30. These are absolutely lusciously lemon! I could anything with lemon all the time!

  31. What an interesting & informative post, Mari! I will be calling our local nursery TOMORROW to see if they can get me a Myer lemon tree. It would thrive in our sunroom through the winter, I'm sure.
    I miss all the fresh lemons & grapefruits we used to get in FL from friends who had such trees. We could even pick them on our golf course!
    I WILL be trying your recipe very soon. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  32. I would love to try to grow my own Meyer lemons - you make it sound easy! :D

    Your little tea cakes are beautiful and I'm sure just as delicious. I'll have to give these a try. Thanks, Mari!

  33. What beautiful cakes. Meyer lemon is such an elusive, singular and extraordinary taste... I take some home in my suitcase from my visits to California.

  34. Hello Mari~I've truly missed my visits, but little by little I'm catching up.
    Although last month was difficult with our loses a new month has brought new hope.
    I poured myself a cup of tea and read a spell...

    I'm so excited to see spring fruit popping up. I look forward to applying the inspirational palette of colors and flavors into a few recipes. I did make a lemon curd mousse, with strawberries. It would have paired wonderfully with your tea cakes.
    Don't you love the aroma that fills the air during this season? The lemons in bloom would be intoxicating
    It's definitely invigorating.
    Come by for a visit. Your company would be nice.

    Sweet wishes,

  35. Could this look or sound any more delicious?? I think not! If you use boxed cake mix then, I'll trust it. Easy is good and easier is better ;-)

  36. My mouth is watering for these delectable bites!

  37. Hi there! I saw your post on Stella Cadente's Facebook and had to come check out your recipe! I have a bottle of their Meyer Lemon oil, and it looks like this might be one of the things i am making. Your photos are perfect, they put mine to shame.
    LOVE love the recipe! Oh, and it's pretty tough getting meyer lemons here in new Hampshire!


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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