Ultimate Lemon Cake

When life hands you lemons, it's time to whip up the ultimate lemon layer cake that'll have your taste buds doing the happy dance. This amazing recipe strikes the perfect balance between tangy lemon goodness and sweet satisfaction, making it the star of any gathering. Let's explore the layers of flavor that make this cake a citrus sensation!

Indulge in layers of luscious lemon cake, tangy lemon curd, and creamy lemon buttercream with this ultimate lemon layer cake recipe.


For the Small Batch Lemon Curd:

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole or 2% milk

For the Lemon Buttercream:

  • 1 ½ cups salted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Small Batch Lemon Curd:

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined.

Stir in fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Place the bowl over simmering water, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat and whisk in softened butter gradually.

Once smooth, stir in heavy cream. Let cool before use.

Lemon Layer Cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans, lining the bottom with parchment rounds.

Cream together softened butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add lemon zest, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon extract, mixing well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add dry mixture to the wet ingredients, then whisk in milk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Buttercream:

Beat softened butter in a large bowl until creamy.

Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing until smooth and fluffy.

Incorporate lemon juice and vanilla extract, beating until well combined.

Adjust consistency with more powdered sugar if needed.


Decorate with lemon zest or slices if desired.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Enjoy your homemade Ultimate Lemon Layer Cake! 

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