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Lemon Layer Cake

This Lemon Layer cake recipe has loads of fresh lemon flavor! An easy but impressive homemade summertime cake!

A TASTY LEMON CAKE RECIPE

One flavor that I really love is lemon. Ask any of my family. If I have a choice of dessert, I’m usually going to go for something lemon-y. This Lemon Layer Cake is a lemon lovers dream! This is the perfect special occasion cake. Honestly, I don’t think there really needs to be a special occasion for any cake. This one is actually pretty easy to make and looks so beautiful! If you are a lemon lover like me, you need to make my Lemon Layer Cake recipe!

Slice of Lemon Layer Cake on white plate showing filling with whole cake in background on stand.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Do I have to use cake flour?

I like to use cake flour because it results in a nice soft and fluffy cake but you can substitute all-purpose flour for this recipe if need be just sift it first.

Why do my ingredients need to be at room temperature?

It’s actually a science! Eggs, butter, and other dairy ingredients form an emulsion which traps air when they are at room temperature. That trapped air then expands while baking which results in fluffy and light baked goods.

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

I highly recommend using fresh squeezed lemon juice for the freshest taste possible. Bottled lemon juice just does not taste good in my opinion and will throw off the taste of this cake.

What kind of piping tip do you use?

You do not have to decorate this cake with any special decorations. However, if you’d like to make it how I did in the photos below, you would use a Wilton 1M open star piping tip.

Can I make fresh lemon curd?

If you want to make your own lemon curd you absolutely can! Otherwise you can use any of your favorite store bought lemon curd.

What is the purpose of a crumb coating?

This helps seal in any crumbs that may come off the cake while you are frosting. Applying a crumb coat (which is just a very thin coating of frosting) will seal those crumbs in there so when you do the final frosting, crumbs aren’t spread all into the frosting on the cake.

How do I store leftovers?

Since it contains lemon curd, this needs to be refrigerated. This can be stored covered or in a cake saver in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to 3-4 days. This can be frozen but I recommend only freezing the cake layers. Bake the cake layers and then wrap in plastic wrap and foil and place in the freezer, they will keep for up to 6 months. To defrost, remove to the countertop overnight and then assemble the cake.

Close up of slice of Lemon Layer Cake on white plate Pinterest image.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • cake flour
  • baking powder
  • salted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • egg whites
  • buttermilk
  • lemon juice
  • vanilla extract
  • lemon zest
  • powdered sugar
  • prepared lemon curd
Ingredients needed: cake flour, baking powder, salted butter, granulated sugar, egg whites, buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, lemon zest, powdered sugar and prepared lemon curd.

HOW TO MAKE A LEMON LAYER CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2 9-inch cake pans liberally with baking spray (like Baker’s Joy that has flour in it.) Place a parchment paper liner in the bottom and brush more baking spray on top, set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and set aside.

Drying ingredients mixed together in bowl.

Add the butter and sugar to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes.)

Butter and sugar beaten together in bowl of stand mixer.

Add the egg whites into the bowl in three batches, mix thoroughly in between each addition.

Egg whites added to bowl of stand mixer.

Next, add the flour mixture and stir it in until just combined, scraping down the sides.

Dry ingredients added to bowl of stand mixer.

Lastly, add the buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. 

Buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest added to the bowl of stand mixer.

Stir it in until combined. Scrape down the sides and give it another 10 seconds of mixing.

Cake batter beaten together in bowl of stand mixer.

Divide the batter amongst the two cake pans and smooth out the tops. Bake for 22-27 minutes until lightly golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, a few crumbs on the toothpick is okay, any wet batter and it needs to bake longer.

Cake batter separated into two baking pans.

Let the cakes cool on a wire rack in their pans for 5 minutes then turn out the cakes and place them (top side up) on the wire rack to cool completely. 

Cake being cooled on wire rack.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting by placing the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter until smooth (about 30-45 seconds.) Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until fully combined, scrape down the sides as needed. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract until incorporated. Place the speed on medium-high and whip the frosting for 3 minutes until light and fluffy set aside.

Buttercream beaten together in bowl of stand mixer.

To assemble the cake place a tablespoon-sized dollop of the buttercream onto the bottom of your serving dish or cake plate, this will help keep the cake in place while you assemble. Take the parchment paper off of one of the cakes and place it (bottom side down) onto the buttercream on your serving platter. 

One cake layer placed on cake stand.

Place the lemon curd on top and smooth it out to the edge leaving a half-inch border.

Lemon curd added to top of the bottom cake layer.

Take the next cake and take off the parchment paper liner and place it top-side down on top of the lemon curd. Lightly press the cake down to distribute the curd out toward the sides but not so it is pouring out. 

Second cake layer added to the top of lemon curd filling.

Frost the cake with a small amount of buttercream for a crumb coat. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set (place the extra buttercream in the fridge too to use after the cake has set.)

Crumb coat frosted over outside of cake on cake stand.

When ready, frost with the remaining buttercream.

Cake being finished frosted and decorated.

Decorate with lemon slices, if preferred.

Finished Lemon Layer Cake decorated on cake stand.

Slice and serve!

Slice of Lemon Layer Cake being removed from whole cake.

WANT MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES?

Close up square image of slice of Lemon Layer Cake on white plate.

Lemon Layer Cake

This Lemon Layer cake recipe has loads of fresh lemon flavor! An easy but impressive homemade summertime cake!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Chill Time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the frosting:

For the filling:

  • 1 ½ cups prepared lemon curd

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray 2 9-inch cake pans liberally with baking spray (like Baker’s Joy that has flour in it.) Place a parchment paper liner in the bottom and brush more baking spray on top, set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and set aside.
  • Add the butter and sugar to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes.)
  • Add the egg whites into the bowl in three batches, mix thoroughly in between each addition.
  • Next, add the flour mixture and stir it in until just combined, scraping down the sides.
  • Lastly, add the buttermilk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
  • Stir it in until combined. Scrape down the sides and give it another 10 seconds of mixing.
  • Divide the batter amongst the two cake pans and smooth out the tops. Bake for 22-27 minutes until lightly golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, a few crumbs on the toothpick is okay, any wet batter and it needs to bake longer.
  • Let the cakes cool on a wire rack in their pans for 5 minutes then turn out the cakes and place them (top side up) on the wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cakes cool, make the frosting by placing the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter until smooth (about 30-45 seconds.)
  • Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until fully combined, scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract until incorporated. Place the speed on medium-high and whip the frosting for 3 minutes until light and fluffy set aside.
  • To assemble the cake place a tablespoon-sized dollop of the buttercream onto the bottom of your serving dish or cake plate, this will help keep the cake in place while you assemble. Take the parchment paper off of one of the cakes and place it (bottom side down) onto the buttercream on your serving platter.
  • Place the lemon curd on top and smooth it out to the edge leaving a half-inch border.
  • Take the next cake and take off the parchment paper liner and place it top-side down on top of the lemon curd. Lightly press the cake down to distribute the curd out toward the sides but not so it is pouring out.
  • Frost the cake with a small amount of buttercream for a crumb coat. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set (place the extra buttercream in the fridge too to use after the cake has set.)
  • When ready, frost with the remaining buttercream, slice and serve.

Notes

  • Make your own lemon curd if you’d like.
  • If you want to freeze the cake, freeze the cake layers only.
  • Decorate the cake how you like. I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to create the swirls at the top.
  • The crumb coat is important to keep the crumbs from getting into your frosting.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 733kcal | Carbohydrates: 110g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 346mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 92g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake twice in the last month – once for a friends birthday and once for my husband’s. The first time, I followed the recipe to a T and it was amazing! we added blueberry curd in between the layers for a lemon-blueberry cake. The second time, I subbed out all of the lemon for navel orange zest/juice and made an orange dream-cicle inspired cake and WOW! the flavor was amazing. Thanks for the great (now friend and family favorite) recipe

  2. Why can’t you use the whole egg instead of just the whites, any suggestions on what I can do with the 6 egg yolks. I hate to waste.

      1. 5 stars
        You can use the egg yolks to make your own lemon curd. Google “egg yolk lemon curd” to find a recipe.

      2. hi !
        yes! you can make your own lemon curd using the yolks!
        And also you can Beat the egg whites into a firm peak with a pinch of salt to add the mix in 3 portions stirring with a wood spoon; this steps make my cake more fluffy!