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Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
With the mixer on low speed, beat in one-quarter of the flour mixture, then one-third of the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another quarter of the flour, then another third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with another quarter of the flour and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and give a quick mix to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
(See note below before completing this step.) Thoroughly grease a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or vegetable shortening, making sure to get into all the crevices. Coat the greased pan generously with granulated sugar, making sure the entire surface of the pan is evenly coated.
Spoon the thick batter into the prepared Bundt pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester comes out clean.
Set the cake on a cooling rack. Carefully run an offset spatula or table knife around the edges of your pan, between the pan and the cake, to loosen the cake from the pan (don't forget the center tube). Cool the cake in the pan for ten minutes. (Set a timer because if it stays in the pan too long, it may stick.)
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Invert the warm cake onto a rack. Slip a large piece of parchment paper, aluminum foil, or paper towels under the rack for easy clean-up. Gradually brush the hot syrup over the cake, letting it soak in (a little syrup will drip off, but try not to rush so that most of it is absorbed). Allow the cake to cool completely, about one hour.
When the cake is cool, carefully transfer it to a serving platter. To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Add more confectioners' sugar or lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze (it should be a little thicker than you'd think, about the consistency of molasses or honey). Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
Note: You'll need 4 to 5 large lemons for the entire recipe.
Note: As the recipe indicates, I grease the Bundt pan with vegetable shortening and then dust it with sugar. It has always worked beautifully for me, but a number of readers have mentioned problems with the cake sticking. If you’d prefer to use a different method, treat the pan by generously coating it with butter and then dusting it with flour, or use a nonstick baking spray with flour like Pam with Flour or Baker’s Joy. (Also, it's best not to use a Bundt pan with an intricate design for this cake, as they are more prone to sticking.) Another option (that is foolproof) is to use two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans instead of a Bundt pan. Loaf pans are much less prone to sticking, and you can line them with parchment paper for extra insurance. To prepare the loaf pans, spray them with nonstick baking spray, line the bottoms with parchment, and then spray them again. The bake time will be 50 to 60 minutes, and you will only need half of the soaking syrup.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen (without the glaze) for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Add the syrup before the cake is frozen and add the glaze after the cake is thawed.)