2000s Recipes + Menus

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Frosting

Makes1 (8-inch) layer cake
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:2 hr
January 2001
This cake was adapted by food editor Shelton Wiseman from a recipe published in our January 1945 issue.

For cake layers

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For frosting

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • Lemon curd, chilled
  • Garnish:

    candied violets

Make cake layers:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 2 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together milk and lemon juice (mixture will curdle).
  • Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour, mixing at low speed until just combined.
  • Divide batter between pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

Make frosting:

  • Beat cream and confectioners sugar with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold one third of whipped cream into lemon curd to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream.

Assemble cake:

  • Put 1 cake layer, rounded side up, on a cake plate and spread with one fourth of frosting. Top with second layer, rounded side up, and spread top and sides with remaining frosting.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Cake can be assembled 1 day ahead and chilled in a cake keeper or loosely covered with plastic wrap (use toothpicks to hold wrap away from frosting). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
  • This batter can be baked in 16 (1/2-cup) muffin cups about 15 minutes; or in a 13- by 9-inch baking pan about 25 minutes. Halve cake crosswise to form 2 (9- by 6 1/2-inch) rectangles and layer in same manner as above.
  • The chocolate sour cream frosting would also be terrific on these variations.
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