Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream is a layered cake made with two round lemon-flavored cakes, lemon curd, and lemon buttercream. It’s a cake for all the lemon-flavored dessert lovers out there! When life gives you lemons, you need to make this cake! For another treat with a zingy lemon flavor in every bite, try my Easy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Lemon Curd: It’s easy to make homemade lemon curd to use in this recipe. Keep in mind that it does need to chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before use, so make this first. You could also use store-bought curd.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Use room temperature ingredients in all three parts of this recipe for best results. And, if you are out of eggs, I do have egg substitutes you could try.
Butter: Use unsalted butter in this recipe. Unsalted butter gives the cakes a better texture and it also allows you, the baker, to have control over the amount of salt.
Lemon Juice: For the best lemon flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Lemon Extract: When adding the lemon extract to the buttercream, start with just 1 teaspoon, tasting as you go. Remember, the buttercream with both the cake and the curd will give you a full blast of lemon flavor!
Food Coloring: You don’t have to add yellow food coloring to the buttercream. Or, go for a contrasting color for a real statement!
How to Store Lemon Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Once the lemon cake is baked and assembled, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Here are the steps you can follow:
- Allow the cake to cool completely at room temperature.
- Once the cake is cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to help keep it moist.
- Transfer the cake to an airtight container, such as a cake carrier or a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Place the container in the refrigerator and store it for up to 3-4 days.
- When you’re ready to serve the cake, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to come to room temperature. This will help the flavors to fully develop and the cake to become moist and tender again.
Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd
- 3 medium lemons
- ¼ cup (½ stick / 57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup (245 g) whole milk, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1-3 teaspoons lemon extract
- 2 teaspoons whole milk, or more as needed
- 5 drops yellow food coloring, or more or less as desired
- 2 cups (250 g) confectioners' sugar, or more as needed
- Grate zest from lemons to equal 1 tablespoon.
- After zesting, cut the lemons in half. Squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup to equal ½ cup.
- In the bowl of stand mixer (or in a bowl using a hand-held mixer) beat butter and sugar at medium speed until blended (about 2 minutes).
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating each egg until it's blended before adding the next.
- Gradually add lemon juice to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.
- Remove bowl from mixer and stir in zest by hand. The mixture will look curdled, but that is okay.
- Transfer the mixture to a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
- Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe bowl.
- Set plastic wrap directly on warm curd to prevent a film from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.
- Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round pans. (Spray with baking spray, grease with butter and flour, or use GOOP*.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs one at a time. Then, add in the vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice.
- With the mixer still on low, add in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated (about 30 seconds), beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 24-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
- To a large mixing bowl, add butter, lemon extract, and milk. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat ingredients together until smooth. If desired, add yellow food coloring.
- Add confectioners' sugar into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until desired consistency is reached. You may want to add more sugar.
- Store the buttercream in plastic disposable pastry bags.
- Set one layer of cake on a cake stand. Cut off the tip from a buttercream-filled pastry bag and pipe out a ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake.
- Drop ½-¾ cup lemon curd on the cake, smoothing it out into an even layer.
- Place the other layer of cake on top. Cover with a thin layer of lemon buttercream, using a small offset spatula to smooth it out. (If you want a more crisp finish, use a bench scraper to smooth out the frosting. This works best if you have a rotating cake stand.)
- In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of lemon curd with 2 tablespoons of water. The consistency should be runnier than the curd, but not as runny as water.
- Place the watered-down curd in a plastic pastry bag and cut off a VERY small tip, like ⅛ of an inch. Drip the runny lemon curd around the edge of the cake.
- Fill in the top of the cake with lemon curd, smoothing it out with an offset spatula. Chill the cake in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Did you make this recipe?
Thank you for making my recipe! You took pictures, right? Well go ahead and post them on Instagram! Be sure to mention me @iambaker and use the hashtag #YouAreBaker.
You can see a VIDEO of how I made this cake here. I also have a video of my using this rope technique on a cupcake here.