The Ultimate Lemon Cake. With 5 different lemon elements, this cake makes the ideal celebration dessert for the lemon lover in your life.
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 filled with alternating layers of rich lemon curd and lemon buttercream frosting before being 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.
Like this Ultimate Lemon Cake recipe?
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- 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
- Zest of 2 large lemons in strips (see instructions)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 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
- 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
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the lemon zest.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients in three equal portions, alternately with the milk.
When adding dry and wet ingredients alternately in any baking recipe, always begin and end with the dry ingredients.
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.
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.
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.
In a small saucepan combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
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.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until completely smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely in the fridge.
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.
Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice and milk.
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.
Split the two layers of cake horizontally to create 4 layers. Brush the reserved syrup onto the cut sides of the cake layers.
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.
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.
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