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The Ultimate Lemon Cake

The Ultimate Lemon Cake. With 5 different lemon elements, this cake makes the ideal celebration dessert for the lemon lover in your life.

Ultimate Lemon Cake

Ultimate Lemon Cake

With 5 different lemon components to this cake, it is not hard to see why I have dubbed it my ultimate lemon cake.

I start with a homemade lemon scratch cake which gets brushed with some tangy lemon syrup. Then the cake is filled with alternating layers of rich lemon curd and lemon buttercream frosting.

Lemon cut in half on a wooden board

Lemon desserts always make me think of Spring.

Next it is covered in more of the lemon frosting and finally garnished with homemade candied lemon zest. This is the perfect celebration cake for that lemon lover in your life.

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Ultimate Lemon Cake

Ultimate Lemon Cake

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Ultimate Lemon Cake
Yield: 20 servings

The Ultimate Lemon Cake

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

The Ultimate Lemon Cake - with 5 different lemon elements, this cake makes the ideal celebration dessert for the lemon lover in your life.

Ingredients

For the Lemon Cake

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of one large lemon, finely minced
  • 1 1/4 cups undiluted evaporated milk

For the Candied Lemon Peel

  • Zest of 2 large lemons, in strips (see instructions)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

For the Lemon Curd

  • 6 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup butter cut into small pieces

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 cups icing sugar, i.e. powdered sugar, confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon, finely minced
  • Approximately 4-6 tbsp milk

Instructions

For the Lemon Cake

  1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Fold in the lemon zest.
  6. Gently fold in the dry ingredients in three equal portions, alternately with the milk.
  7. When adding dry and wet ingredients alternately in any baking recipe, always begin and end with the dry ingredients.
  8. Pour batter evenly into 2 well greased and floured 8 inch cake pans. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Watch it carefully, you will not want to over bake this cake, as soon as the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the pans for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Candied Lemon Peel

  1. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler remove the outside zest of 2 large lemons in large strips, avoiding the white part of the peel as much as possible. Add to a very small pot along with the lemon juice, sugar and water.
  2. Simmer together gently for about 15-20 minutes. Remove zest and let it drain on a wire rack. Reserve about half the syrup to brush on the cake layers.

For the Lemon Curd

  1. In a small saucepan combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  2. Cook slowly over medium low heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until completely smooth.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely in the fridge.

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer on low, mix the butter and icing sugar together until the butter breaks up and get evenly dispersed throughout the sugar in small pieces. The mixture will still appear dry at this point. This stage ensures even distribution and prevents butter lumps in your frosting.
  2. Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice and milk.
  3. Both of these liquid measures can be adjusted. The milk can be adjusted to make a thicker frosting by adding less or a more spreadable frosting by adding a little more. Use your own judgement here. The lemon juice can be adjusted to your own taste too.When the icing reaches the desired consistently continue to beat it on high speed for 5 minutes to incorporate more air into the frosting to make it lighter and fluffier.

To construct the cake:

  1. Split the two layers of cake horizontally to create 4 layers. Brush the reserved syrup onto the cut sides of the cake layers.
  2. Place the first layer of cake on the cake plate and top with some of the lemon buttercream frosting. Add the next layer and using a piping bag, or a heavy plastic bag with a half inch opening snipped off the corner, pipe a ring of frosting around the perimeter of the cake. Fill the ring with half of the lemon curd. Add the next layer of cake and top with more of the frosting.
  3. Add the final layer of cake. At this point frost the sides of the cake and pipe a border on the top and bottom. Add the second half of the lemon curd to the top of the cake and garnish the top of the cake with pieces of candied lemon zest. I use kitchen scissors to cut 1/2 inch pieces to decorate the border and then add a small pile of slivered zest to the center of the cake. Chill for several hours or overnight before serving.

Recommended Products

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.

Nutrition Information

Yield

20

Amount Per Serving Calories 726Saturated Fat 21gCholesterol 179mgSodium 269mgCarbohydrates 100gSugar 86gProtein 5g
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Craving something – I don’t know what… – Spud Public

Thursday 13th of August 2020

[…] Unfortunately I’m craving something. I’ve been sitting here for the last 10 minutes, extremely full, but my mind just can’t get this cake out of my mind! (Lemon cake above) [https://www.rockrecipes.com/ultimate-lemon-cake/] […]

Adeeba

Tuesday 8th of August 2017

Hi Barry , any substitute for evaporated milk ?

Barry C. Parsons

Tuesday 29th of August 2017

Use whole milk.

Adeeba

Tuesday 8th of August 2017

I've found many curd recipe using whole eggs instead just yolk , can you recommend to use just yolks or whole eggs for better result and make the perfect cake for me. Can I use lemon cream cheese frosting instead of just lemon frosting for this cake ? Sorry for too many questions.

Barry C. Parsons

Tuesday 29th of August 2017

I always have used just egg yolks for a perfect curd. Frosting is always a personal choice.

Shahanara Hussain

Sunday 20th of November 2016

I made this for a party I've been to, it looked amazing and tasted so good, the flavour and the texture of the cake was so perfect....lemon flavour in every bite. Felt really proud of it. Thank you for the recipe.

Debbie

Saturday 15th of October 2016

Is cake flour the same as self raising flour? Also what is shortening? I find that we call things by a different name in Australia , can somebody please translate

Barry C. Parsons

Sunday 16th of October 2016

No, we generally don't use self raising flour in North America at all. I've only ever seen it in a supermarket once. Cake flour is a softer and finer flour than bread flour or all-purpose flour. It is what gives this cake its unique texture.

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