I’ve been on quite the lemon kick recently, the phrase ‘this would be great with lemon’ rolling through my head over and over as I think up recipes to work on this spring. When I was chatting with Zoe from Smith Teamaker about ideas for Mother’s Day, we knew we wanted something that would be delicious with both their Variety Pack (a sampling of herbal, black and green teas) and their seasonal Bouquet tea which is a light and floral herbal tea with just a hint of lemon (it’s a new favorite of mine, grab a box or two while they have it!) Of course, my first thought was ‘those would all be delicious with lemon!’. Hence this lemon, lemon, lemon cake.
The lemon cake is light and fluffy, filled with lemon curd and iced with lemon curd swiss merengue. If you prefer a denser cake you can use this recipe, just skip steeping the butter in thyme and use room temperature butter instead. My favorite cake recipes are those that can be made over a few days, this one can be split over 2-3 days if needed. Make the lemon curd the first day, the cake on the second (once completely cool, tightly wrap it with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature), and make the buttercream and assemble on the third. If you have lemon curd left over you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, and I’m sure you’ll find something delicious to do with it (like eat it with a spoon…no? just me?)
This post was sponsored by Smith Teamaker, a small-batch tea company out of Portland, Oregon. I’ve loved their teas since discovering them a year ago and they’re always my first stop when I arrive in PDX. You can visit them online here or in person at either of their two tasting rooms (I recommend their seasonal tea latte or either of their nitro teas!) I’m so grateful to the brands that support OHB and allow me to do what I love! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Smith Teamaker is offering free shipping in the US with the code ‘OHHONEY’ now through Mother’s Day!
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (396 g) sugar
- 4 whole eggs, at room temperature
- 3¼ cups flour (360 g)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract
- zest from one large lemon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 3 x 6 inch cake pans by buttering them, lining the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then dusting them with flour and tapping out the excess.
- Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine, about 2 minutes.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Mix the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest together and set aside.
- Stop the mixer, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture and mixing gently between additions. Mix just until combined or finish by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Distribute the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven and bake for an additional 10 or so minutes, checking every 3 minutes for doneness. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean and the top should spring back to the touch. Place on cooling racks until the pans are cool enough to handle, then run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it and turn it out onto the cooling racks to come to room temperature.
- Assembly// Level the cakes if desired. Place the first layer face up on a cake board or serving plate. Pipe a ring of buttercream (buttercream in a ziplock with a corner snipped works perfectly here!) around the edge of the cake layer and fill it with lemon curd. Place the second layer on top and repeat. Place the last layer face down so the smooth side is up and press gently to secure. Place the cake in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up the buttercream and make icing the cake easier. Roughly ice the top and outsides of the cake. Decorate with flowers, dried lemon slices, or as desired. Serve at room temperature. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- zest from 1 lemon, preferably Meyer lemons
- ⅔ cup Meyer lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
- 4 whole eggs plus 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, cool but not cold and cut into cubes
- Zest and juice the lemons, being careful to avoid the bitter white pith when zesting.
- Prepare a double boiler by filling a saucepan with an inch of water and placing a snugly fitting stainless steel mixing bowl into it, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
- Whisk the juice, eggs, and sugar in the bowl until smooth. Continue to whisk until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then remove the bowl from the double boiler and stir in the cubes of butter slowly.
- Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve, then stir in the zest and refrigerate in an air-tight container with plastic wrap over the surface (to prevent a skin from forming) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to three months.
- 7 egg whites
- 1¼ cup (198 g) sugar, superfine if you have it
- 3 sticks (1½ cup) unsalted butter, cool but not cold and cut into cubes
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp lemon extract
- zest from ½ a large lemon
- ⅓ c lemon curd (recipe above)
- pinch of salt
- Wipe the metal bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk attachment and a whisk with vinegar or lemon juice and a paper towel to remove any trace of grease.
- Prepare a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bringing to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a metal mixing bowl over the pot of simmering water (bowl should fit snugly but should not touch the water) and add the egg whites and sugar. Stir constantly with a whisk until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on a candy thermometer or until all the sugar has dissolved, the egg whites are hot and the mixture is foamy. Remove from heat.
- Beat egg whites and sugar on high speed until the bottom of the bowl is completely neutral, about 10 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and turn mixer on low speed.
- Begin slowly adding the butter pieces and mix until the texture is smooth. If the buttercream curdles, keep mixing, it'll come back together.
- Add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon curd and mix well. Taste, add a pinch of
salt,and taste again. If you like a stronger lemon flavor, add ¼ tsp more lemon extract, tasting after each addition until the desired flavor is achieved.
- You can store buttercream in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.