This recipe has been around as long as I can remember, but it always brings to mind those last hot days of summer when my Mom would make this when we'd have a cookout with the neighbors. The kids would all line up for a big slice while the adults had a small piece along with a slice of whole "grown ups only" watermelon that someone had injected with vodka. The kids had a great time, the adults, especially after cake and a couple slices of watermelon, had a stupendous time.
We usually had 7-Up in the house in the summers. I don't think I saw a Coke my entire childhood except for the one my kindergarten teacher dissolved someones tooth in by way of example. Water or milk were the usual beverages, with KoolAid a summer treat for us. But sometimes for family gatherings there would be these chilled green glass bottles of 7-Up there in the big cooler of ice along with the Hamms.
I hadn't had it since I was a kid when I ran across the recipe again, adding a bit of lemon zest and mellowing out the "pucker up" tart glaze a bit with milk and lemon extract instead of straight sugar and lemon juice. It was a nice change, yet still a very familiar taste, just as good as I remembered.
It's an incredibly moist, tender crumb, and the outside gets this nice little crunchy bite around the edges from long slow baking at a lower temperature.
3 sticks salted butter
3 cups sugar
5 extra large eggs (at room temperature)
2 Tablespoons lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups of all purpose flower
3/4 cup 7-Up
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp lemon extract
a splash of 7-Up (until you get the consistency you want, start with 1/2 tsp. and go from there)
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl, cream butter for about 3 minutes with a hand or stand mixer on medium high to high. Add in the sugar (about 1/4 of the total at a time) and beat for additional 17 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as it mixes. (Yes, you heard me, 20 minutes total). Add eggs, one at a time, beating a minute after each one (the mixture will look VERY fluffy). Add lemon extract, lemon zest and the flour, one cup at a time, mixing on low or by hand just enough to combine (don't over beat once the flour is added).
Gently fold in the 7-Up and pour into a greased 12 cup Bundt cake pan and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes (or until a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. (check at 50-60 minutes, this cake is easy to over bake).
Cool and glaze.