dessert

Dessert: Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Friday! Today I am continuing my new series of Friday posts with a delectable cake recipe just in time to celebrate Easter, or the fact that it’s the weekend! Whatever you prefer! Do you really need a holiday to have cake? I certainly don’t!

Lemon Layer Cake2
Lemon Layer Cake: This photo was taken by Erin @ http://www.wellplated.com  Erin’s photo is much prettier than mine.

Lemon desserts are one of my favorites. They’re fresh and make me think of springtime, so I decided this is the perfect week to share my favorite lemon layer cake recipe with you. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and the recipe can easily be doubled and used for cupcakes too. Note: As suggested by Erin @ Well Plated, my personal preference is to use lemon cream cheese frosting, with lemon curd, in lieu of frosting, between the cake layers. Either way, it’s delicious!

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

LEMON CAKE:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (I prefer Softasilk it’s available at most grocery stores and can be ordered from Amazon too!)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I prefer Philadelphia)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided (I use Meyer Lemons if I can get them.)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place cooking rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour two 8 inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. (Parchment is optional, but be sure to butter and flour pans generously if not using parchment.)
  3. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in medium size bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites. If making lemon curd (recipe below) hold out egg yolks for later use.
  4. Using a stand mixer, place granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in lemon extract.
  5. Add one-third of the flour mixture and half of the egg/buttermilk mixture. Mix until combined. Now add the next third of the dry ingredients and the remaining eggs/buttermilk. Mix until batter is smooth, and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until batter is well combined (about 2-3 minutes).
  6. Divide batter evenly between your two pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes spring back lightly when touched, and a toothpick or small knife (inserted into the center) comes out clean. Place cake pans on a wire rack and cool 5-10 minutes. Use a butter knife around sides to loosen cake. Place second wire rack on top of cake pan and gently turn over. Remove the parchment liner, if used, and allow cake to cool completely.
  7. Prepare cream cheese frosting: With your stand or hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. As the sugar begins to incorporate, increase speed to high and mix for 3-4 minutes. If needed, you can add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice to thin the frosting.
  8. Frosting your cake: Trim tops of the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place first layer on a cake stand. Spread top with lemon cream cheese frosting (Note: lemon curd can also be used between the layers. Find my favorite recipe for lemon curd, by Karen @ The Food Charlatan, here.) Place the second layer on top, with trimmed-side down. Spread with more frosting and continue frosting sides of cake.

You can serve immediately. For the easiest slicing, refrigerate the frosted cake for 30-40 minutes first. Allow cake to come almost to room temperature before serving.

If you’re interested, you can find the original cake recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Cookbook – Baking: From My Home To Yours , or the version with the fabulous lemon cream cheese frosting above, by Erin at Well Plated, here.

Enjoy!

-Kim

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