made with whole lemons
This recipe, from Martha Stewart, for a lemon cake, starts by slicing two lemons thinly and cooking them in boiling water for 15 minutes. This is certainly speedier than cooking them whole - that can take up to an hour!
Cooking the lemons like this cuts out a lot of the sourness of the fruit and gives the cake a very delicate lemon flavour. For me, this was the sort of lemon flavour that is best in a dessert cake, served with fresh fruit and cream, where you don't want the lemon to overwhelm the flavours of the fruit. Eaten as a cake, the taste was decidedly underwhelming, although it had a good light texture and I liked the little pieces of lemon zest spread through the crumb (my mini-food processor didn't reduce the cooked lemons to a smooth purée).
If I made this again, I would use the zest from the third lemon in the cake too - I thought at the time that it was a shame not to use it. This might boost the lemon flavour to something more in line with my tastes, although if you like a more subtle lemon flavour this recipe is well worth trying as written.