Lemon Lemon Cake

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Please excuse the poor quality of these photos. The cakes were just too pretty to not add them to this blog. They were taken with my iPhone 3 in 2012 when I was practicing to make my wedding cake. This was one of the layers we chose, only there was fresh blueberries added to the final cake. My wedding cake journey will be written up here soon, I promise! I also played with some marzipan to make the roses then I sprayed them with edible food dye.  The butterflies are made out of royal icing.  It was my first attempt at royal icing so the consistency wasn’t right and so I made eight butterflies but only four made it to final presentation.  I was so heartbroken! At least I knew they would not be up to traveling for my wedding day so I nixed that idea.

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I spent my day today attacking my back yard; pulling out overgrown vines and rose of sharons, separating clustered irises, and installing a raised bed for veggies, herbs and flowers for this summer. I would say today was quite productive and boy will my back and hands be yelling at me soon! Lots of crouching, bending, pulling and pushing.

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I made two cakes when trying out this recipe, one 8-inch and one 6-inch. I was practicing my basketweave technique. I thought it came out pretty good, given it was the first time I tried it.  I also wanted to make the icing not so sweet so I split the sugary, sweet lemon icing with some vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. It really worked.  It was sweet and lemony but satiny and light all at once. I seem to always have some SMB in my freezer from leftover cakes.  It’s great to have on hand since it takes a bit of work to have it ready, I usually double the recipe.

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If you want to do a fancy icing decor like basketweave, keep in mind you’ll need more icing than you think.  You can always use leftover icing to top cupcakes or fill french macarons (recipe coming soon!). Just pop the leftovers into a zip top freezer bag and throw it in the freezer until you need it. I also added fresh strawberries and strawberry jam to the top of the little cake. Just to add something different! The basket “handle” my husband made out of fondant. He was going to a beaded “handle”. Neither of us liked the taste of the fondant so we stayed with the marzipan roses.

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To make the 6-inch, cut the ingredients to one-third (approx.) and you should get a thick 6-inch cake that you cut in half for two layers. It’s the perfect size for a smaller crowd or if you know there will be a bunch of desserts and you don’t want to burden big slices of cake on people.

I filled these cakes with a lemon curd.  It’s super simple and keeps really well in the fridge so I usually have some on hand. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of either of the two cakes sliced! I couldn’t believe it. I will have to remake this and tuck one of those shots in.

I hope you give this lovely cake a try for your holiday table.  It brings a nice brightness that we all need now and then. Thanks for reading!

Lemon Lemon Cake
Makes one 8-inch three layer cake
Modified from Sweetapolita’s Triple Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake

Lemon Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a fork for a few seconds. (My version of “sifting”.) In a spouted measuring cup, combine sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest. Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer, until pale yellow and fluffy, then beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour and milk mixtures, alternating flour and milk until just combined. Divide batter into prepared pans evenly and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire racks before wrapping with plastic wrap and place in freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes before assembling cake.

Lemon Icing

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • zest from one lemon
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • yellow food gel, optional

Beat butter, lemon zest and juice until fluffy then add sugar slowly until fully incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and whip until light and fluffy.  (If you wanted to add the Swiss Meringue buttercream to lighten things up, this would be that time.)

Building the Cake

Start with a cardboard cake round or the plate that you will be serving the cake on.  Place your first layer flat side down then, with the icing, pipe a barrier around the edge to hold in the curd.  Spoon in your lemon (or other citrus) curd and make sure to smooth it flat.  Place your middle layer flat side down and repeat. Place your last layer flat side up like you’re capping it. Frost the entire cake with a “crumb coat” or a very thin layer of icing to hold everything together then refrigerate for one hour or until icing is firm.  Decorate as desired and enjoy!

 

Trial and Error Tip:
If using Swiss Meringue Buttercream, make sure you let the cake warm to close to room temperature. The cake will slice so much easier if you let it warm up first.

 

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