Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lemon Cake

For me, Fall is dessert time. I think up 100 crazy dessert ideas, then make only a portion of them (which is still a large number).  This cake is actually vanilla, with lemon curd filling and lemon frosting. This recipe is the original, with no changes (other that the time the lemon curd is supposed to chill). I got the recipe from (as usual) by Anela. Anyway, this cake is super moist and the filling is an amazing lemon curd (I like slowly licking it off a spoon while reading a good book) but, I would use a different frosting unless you like it really sweet.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. To make filling: In medium saucepan, mix together 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Mix in 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, beating the hot lemon mixture rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (not to boil).
  5. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 3 hours.
  6. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  7. To assemble: With long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half horizontally, making 4 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with half of the lemon filling. Top with another layer, and spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Add third layer, and spread with remaining half of the lemon filling. Press on final cake layer, and frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake until serving time. 
Your cakes will bake flat if you use this method (which is way cheaper that buying Wiltons  fancy cake wrap things) so that no trimming the top is necessary. Just use an regular (old) towel.
     This recipe got me addicted to lemon curd. I don't even know if its real lemon curd, because its called lemon filling, but it's delicious whatever the name. I've adapted the original quote to: When life gives you lemons make lemon curd (or frosting, or cake). But what my brother says is clever: "When life gives you lemons make orange juice and have everybody wonder how you did it."
    I suggest that you use as different lemon frosting, unless you have a hankering for really sweet frosting. And it's not quite lemony enough. I added extra lemon juice to fix that problem, and my frosting completely fell of the sides of the cake.  It was really weird (so please excuse the bad frosting job).  We have a family cake platter (it is shared between my aunt, and grandma's family's,) so right now it's at my grandma's house.  My parents were not willing to drive all the way there just to borrow it when I randomly decide to make a cake.  I ended up using an overturned crystal bowl as my cake stand, which as you can see, was barely big enough. 
    Have your cake and eat it too! 

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