1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh thyme,chopped, (if the center stem of the thyme is tough, pick the leaves off and discard the stem).
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
Lemon Thyme Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon, finely grated
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter and flour or spray with cooking spray, two 4 1/2-by-8-inch (6-cup) loaf pans.
Make the syrup:In a small pot, stir together the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and thyme. Heat the mixture on medium for about 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolves and the liquid is clear. Take off the heat, cover and set aside while you prepare the cake.
For the cake:
In a a 2 cup liquid measuring cup,combine buttermilk with lemon juice and fresh thyme. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate bowl mix lemon zest and sugar together. Rub the sugar together with the zest until the sugar is slightly damp.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar/zest until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two, beginning and ending with flour; beat just until smooth (do not overmix).
Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly). Cool 15 minutes in pan. Turn out cakes onto a rack; cool for about 20 minutes before glazing with the syrup.
Set rack with cakes over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Poke holes in the cakes over the top with a skewer or a thin knife. Pour the syrup over cakes, letting it run down the sides; let dry, about 30 minutes.