So, what do you think of my first attempt at frosting a naked cake?! It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The taste and texture of this truly lovely lemon cake is spot on, which is really what matters, right?
Since my Dad’s passing almost 6 years ago, it’s been a tradition of mine to make a cake to honor his birthday on March 18th. It just so happened that this year I was also asked by my sweet friend Kendra of Joy In Our Home to join her spring blog hop and create a spring recipe for the hop. Perfect timing for a spring cake!
I participated in Kendra’s Christmas blog hop last year, and it was so much fun! Remember that real mint chocolate no churn ice cream!? At the end of this post you’ll find all of the creations from the hop; be sure to check out the beautiful décor from 2 Bees in a Pod and the amazing-looking slow cooker honey ham from Countryside Cravings!
Now, shall we talk about this cake!?
There is so much lemon in this beauty! The cake itself contains the zest and juice of 2 whole lemons, and then it’s filled with a super easy and delicious lemon curd and a rich, tangy lemon buttercream.
Lemon! So good.
While I usually like to use oil in my cakes to make sure they’re super moist, I used butter in this cake to ensure I got a bit of a denser cake that will hold up to the lemon curd filling. Plus, that buttery crumb is the perfect compliment to the lemon flavor.
The cake comes together easily, but make sure you leave enough time to bake and cool the layers, and prepare and cool the curd. I’ve set the temperature for the cake low at 325 F to ensure the tops don’t puff up too much. I didn’t even have to level off my layers; they were perfectly flat!
The curd is easy; it took me about 20 minutes in total to make, and then I had to cool it down in the fridge for a couple of hours. I used the method from my friend Monica over at Nourish and Fete.
The recipe makes enough buttercream to frost the entire cake; if you’re making the cake “naked” like mine, you can add more frosting in between the two cake layers and on top, although you’ll likely still have some leftover. I used my leftover frosting on cinnamon buns a few days later 😉
I prefer to store the cake in the fridge, letting it come to room temperature a few hours before serving. This keeps the curd fairly solid and everything nicely intact.
If you’re the one designated with dessert for this year’s Easter dinner, this is the cake for you. The lemon just screams spring, don’t you think!? If you’re looking for some other options, check out this orange-carrot cake from last year. It was sublime!
PS – don’t forget to go hopping around to the other posts listed at the bottom of this one. There’s some amazing décor ideas as well as other great spring recipes!
Lovely Lemon Cake
Yield 1 2-layer cake
Look no further than this lovely lemon cake for your next spring or Easter dessert! You'll love the smooth lemon curd and rich, tangy, lemon buttercream sandwiched between two buttery, lemony layers of cake. Spring on a plate!
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour*
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 lemons (juice + zest)
- 1 1/3 cup buttermilk*
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon (1/3 cup)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- juice of 1 lemon (1/3 cup)
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 325 F and generously grease and lightly flour 2 round 9" cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes or until well combined. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. Mix on medium, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, for about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low for 1 minute. With the mixer running on low again, slowly add the dry ingredients until incorporated. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix just until combined. Be careful not to overmix!
- Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans; use a kitchen scale for accuracy if desired. Bake the cakes for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the pans and inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the lemon curd. In a small, heavy saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Place the pan over low heat, using a wood spoon to stir almost constantly until the mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Do not be tempted to turn up the heat!
- Once the mixture has thickened, add the butter and stir until completely melted. Remove the curd from heat and allow it to stand until it comes to room temperature. Place the curd in the fridge and cover tightly until cooled and ready to use.
- Make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the lemon juice and 2 cups of powdered sugar and slowly mix; the frosting may look chunky but will smooth out with more powdered sugar. Add the heavy cream, followed by the remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing in between each addition. Stop adding sugar once the frosting reaches your desired texture; if you added too much, you can always add a little more cream to thin it out.
- Assemble the cake. Place one layer of cake on your cake stand or a cardboard cake base. Top the cake with about 1 cup of frosting (use less if you are frosting the entire outside of your cake as well). Build up the edges of the frosting to make a little frosting ridge to help contain the curd. Pour the curd directly into the middle of the cake, without spreading it around. Place the second layer of cake on top. The curd will spread under the weight of the cake; if any leaks out the side, you can scrape it away. Frost the top and sides (if desired) of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Cake keeps best in the fridge, but can also be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days, covered. If storing in the fridge, allow the cake to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.
- If you don't have cake flour, make your own by measuring out 1 1/2 cups of flour into a bowl, then removing 3 tbsp of flour. Replace the 3 tbsp of flour with 3 tbsp of cornstarch. Sift together.
- To make your own buttermilk, combine 1.5 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar with milk and stir it around, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes before using.
Lemon curd recipe adapted from Nourish and Fete.
Here are the rest of the spring blog hop posts!
Tablescapes on Monday
Recipes on Wednesday
Front Porches on Thursday
Mantles on Friday