Lemon Layer Cake
Lemon Layer Cake
Sometimes I want to move to Florida or California (or the Mediterranean!) just so I can have a Lemon tree. Lemons are perhaps the most versatile fruit going. Lovely French sauces with butter are made magical with lemon. Fish must have a squeeze of lemon. Pork is amazing when baked with sliced lemons. Toss a lemon in the cavity of a roasted chicken. Even our drinks- iced tea, water, cocktails, are enhanced by lemons. Then, there are the desserts. Apple pie is overrated as the American dessert. I’d take a lemon bar any day! (no disrespect for the Apple Crumb Pie post that will come this fall!)
So, I am always on the look out for good lemon desserts. I am often disappointed, as they rarely taste lemony enough for me. I want to be knocked over by the lemon in a dessert. Hey, if you’re gonna have lemon, then you might as well almost need a bit of a pucker on that first bit. Lemon in savory dishes, yea, subtle is OK. But in a dessert, I want to be punched in the mouth!
This cake is close… I usually step it up a bit by sloshing some extra lemon bakery emulsion in the batter. Bakery emulsion is not always easy to find, but better cooking stores will have them, or you can find them online. Emulsions are great for baking as the flavor remains more stable as temperatures change. Emulsions come in a number of flavors. I always have Lemon and Orange in my cupboard.
This is a pretty, “country” looking cake that will be gobbled up wherever you take it. I last made it when I surprise my office team with a full “tea” at our weekly staff meeting. Between this and the Chocolate Guinness Bundt cake, they were pretty happy with the boss for quite awhile!
What you need:
2 ½ cups cake flour
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 ¼ sticks of butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 T frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2t Lemon bakery emulsion (can sub 1T fresh lemon juice if you want)
1 T fresh lemon zest
1t vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ sticks butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1T lemon zest
½ t vanilla extract
½ t lemon oil
1 t lemon bakery emulsion
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350Õ. Butter two 9” cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Using an electric mixer beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light. Continue mixing and add lemonade concentrate, emulsion, zest and vanilla. Bet in eggs one at a time. Continue beating until mixture is smooth. On low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients until just blended. Divide batter between both pans. Bake until pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cook cakes in pans on racks.
For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, Gradually add in the powdered sugar until blended. Add zest, vanilla, lemon oil and emulsion, and mix for about 4 minutes until super light and fluffy.
Once cakes are completely cool, turn one cake out onto a work surface. Remove the parchment and place flat side up onto your cake platter. Spread with about 1 cup of frosting. Turn out second layer, and place it flat side down on top of the frosted first layer. Spread remaining layer with frosting.
Cake can be made a day ahead and refrigerated under a dome or carrier.
To garish, slice lemons, and halve each slice. Sugar each slice, and arrange on top of the cake. Do this right before servings as the lemons will create some juice when they come into contact with the sugar in the frosting. Sugaring the slices first, and letting them dry a bit will make them look pretty for a longer time.