It is that time of the year where your neighbors and friends drop off large bags of fresh picked lemons on your doorstep even though you have your own lemon tree growing in your backyard! I have long been a fan of this ridiculously sour fruit. Whenever I drink water, I always like to place half a lemon in to spruce it up. I love the lemon bars that I have made a while ago, and even add lemon into my homemade chicken noodle soup! The flavor of a lemon can either be a star or an enhancer of the flavors around it, depending on how you want to use it. With lemon season upon us, I wanted to make it the star and decided to make a lemony lemon cake! Not just a regular lemon pound cake which is probably the most popular form of turning this fruit into dessert, but lemony lemon where we double the use and include the zest as well to enrich the flavor.
For this recipe, I picked four lemons fresh from our lemon tree. Our tree is still ripening, but have a nice handful of lemons that are already ripe and ready to be used.
This recipe is actually a lot easier that I thought it would be and used less ingredients than a typical cake. I think a major part is because it relies on the six eggs, which deepens the flavor and adds body to the actual cake itself. Measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt in a sifter and set aside for later use.
Beat together the sugar and butter until white, fluffy, and creamy. When it looks like the above photo, add the eggs in one at a time.
While that is going, zest four lemons and juice them until you get 3 tablespoons worth of lemon juice. I only needed one lemon’s worth of juice as it was a large one. Add the zest into the batter after the addition of eggs. Then, sift in the dry ingredients, mix, and add the milk and lemon juice (basically making buttermilk but contains the lemon flavor). Separate the batter as evenly as you can into three pans that have been buttered and floured down. I also cut out parchment paper circles to line the bottom of the pan. The batter will be thick but light and fluffy!
Bake until golden and the tops bounce back when pushed down with a finger.
Allow them to completely cool before using! For my finished cake, I unfortunately do not have any photos of the assembly as I was in a rush to finish the cake. To assemble them, I used a serrated knife to trim off the sides of the cake (as they were baked slightly dry) and filled the layers with a jar of beautiful lemon curd I made a couple days before. I will be doing a tutorial on that as well in the future but have included the recipe below.
To top it off, I made a gorgeous swiss meringue buttercream. I chose this form of buttercream as opposed to the other kinds because the silky texture would be able to complement the spongy texture of the cake as well as balance out the tart lemon curd without being too overpoweringly sweet. A detailed tutorial of the Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be found here.
To create the swivels and ruffles, I used a Wilton 1M tip that I also use to make rosettes. I simply pipe 2 inch sections along the side all the way to the top middle of the cake and then begin the next section. The swiss meringue buttercream is perfect for this because it maintains a silky look! A traditional American buttercream can leave a dried out look so the Swiss buttercream is perfect for the job! This cake is perfect and ready for the summertime!
Lemony Lemon Cake
makes one cake (three layers)
recipe adapted from Cupcake Jemma
3 c flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 c sugar
1 2/3 c unsalted butter, room temp
6 large eggs, room temp
zest of 4 lemons
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons worth of juice)
2 Tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Butter and flour three 8 inch baking pans, then line with parchment paper circles. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes until fluffy and has lightened in color. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing between each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add in the lemon zest, then the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated. Pour in the lemon juice and milk and mix until completely mixed in, then the batter is done! Evenly divide the batter between the three pans and bake until golden and the cake bounces back if poked, about 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool completely before using!
Perfect Lemon Curd
recipe by Cupcake Jemma
makes about 3 cups of lemon curd
5 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1/c c lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed
Over a double boiler, mix together the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Continue to stir over heat until the mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Add in the butter and mix until all is melted. Push through a fine mesh sieve to get out any lumps. Add into jars and refrigerate until completely cooled. Serve however you like!