To me, lemons are synonymous with summer. I’m not sure why given that I live in Canada and lemons certainly don’t grow here, but are available in the grocery story year round which of course begs the question, when is lemon season?
When I was a little girl, my Mom made homemade lemonade. She juiced the lemons, added in sugar and citric acid and boiled the whole thing into a thick, sweet lemony syrup. The syrup was mixed with water and poured over ice. It was a delicious cool treat on a hot summer’s day. Literally, a tall drink of lemonade.
I think my lemons = summer comes from making lemonade. And possibly cleaning supplies. And foot scrub.
Okay, so this is one of those moments where I crack myself up and no one else finds it funny. Moving along…
So back to lemon cake. I had some friends over to celebrate a birthday a while ago. My go-to birthday cake is usually chocolate, but decided to dig through the recipe archives and see what else I could find. I decided on a lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting.
This cake is fairly easy and very tasty. It’s made with fresh lemons and tastes like a summer day, even thought we ate it during a snow storm. With Easter coming in a few short weeks, this could be a pretty dessert option.
Here’s the recipe for my lemon cakes which the 6YO has dubbed easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy cake.
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 & 3/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of the cake pans with a parchment or wax paper circle.
- With your mixer on high, whip the butter until smooth and pale in colour.
- Slow the mixer down and add in the sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, run the mixer on high for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the eggs. Once they have been incorporated, give your bowl a scrape and then mix on medium for another minute or two.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking power, salt and lemon zest.
- Add in some of the flour to the butter mixture followed by some milk and lemon juice. Alternate between the three until all incorporated.
- Divide the cake batter between the two pans.
- Bake and let cool on a wire rack.
Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking time: 20 – 25 minutes for 2 round cakes or 18 – 21 minutes for 24 cupcakes
Lemon butter cream recipe:
This tangy recipe will make enough frosting to put a nice thick layer between the two cakes as well as amply cover the cake.
- 1 cup butter
- 7-8 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- Whip the butter. Cut it up into small pieces and put it in your mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.
- Slowly add in about half of the sugar. If you put it all in at once and turn your mixer on high, your kitchen will resemble a winter wonderland. Slow and steady is fine. Scrape the bowl edges often.
- Add in the lemon zest and the lemon juice.
- Slowly add the rest of the sugar about half a cup at a time. Once all the sugar is incorporated, put you mixer on high and whip the icing for a few minutes until very fluffy.
Assembling the cake:
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, place one of the cakes on a pretty plate.
- Place a blob of icing (yes that is the technical term and it’s about 3/4 cup) on top and spread it all around. Keep the icing on the sides quite thin and you will have about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of frosting on the top.
- Gently place the second cake on top. Again, drop a blob on the top and spread the icing around the sides and top of the cake until everything is covered. This is called a crumb coat and you should have more than half of the icing left.
- Put the cake in the fridge for an hour or two and put the remaining icing in an airtight container, but do not put it in the fridge.
- Once the cake is cold, use the remaining frosting to ice the cake either with a knife or a piping bag.
I put a crumb coat on the cake and then piped roses all over the rest. This technique is really easy if you have a piping bag and a big star tip (like easier than trying to smooth icing all over the cake) and a great tutorial from Iambaker.net can be found here.
Also, I tried the bottled stuff since then and the flavour just isn’t the same. So pick up a few lemons and use the real thing