Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vanilla-Lemon Layer Cake with Fluffy Lemon Buttercream and Strawberries!

Just wanted to get this photo posted ~ the recipe is coming tomorrow when I have a few spare minutes! It's a vanilla-lemon layer cake with fluffy lemon buttercream, filled and topped with gorgeous strawberries!  It's the birthday cake for my friend Chris's mother-in-law. I hope she had a spectacular 95th birthday!  Stop back for more about this cake tomorrow!

OK, it's tomorrow and I'm back with the recipe! This is a great recipe adapted from
"The Whiteout Cake" from one of my prized cookbooks: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Friends Sari and Holly gave me this book as a gift after I made a little "welcome home from your wedding" post-wedding cake a few years ago, which was also a white cake (and I hear they are expecting a baby any day!).

I find this recipe to be always successful, and very adaptable, flavor-wise. It calls for a blending of cake flour along with all-purpose, and sometimes, when I just don't have cake flour, I use all, all-purpose flour, and the flavor is great but the texture is a little less tender.

Making the cake batter is a 4-step process, but not difficult.  You just have to be organized: you sift the dry ingredients together, mix shortening and butter with sugar, egg, and extracts, alternately add dry ingredients with ice water, and then fold in beaten egg whites. If you're willing, here's the recipe! Of course, if you prefer to do something much simpler, you could add lemon extract to a good-quality white cake mix, but I highly recommend you try this recipe and let me know what you think!

One last word about BAKED...authors Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito have brick-and-mortar bakeries in New York City and in Charleston, South Carolina. Wish I knew that last year when we were dropping my nephew Will off at the College of Charleston! If I am ever fortunate enough to visit Charleston (and Will!) again, I will be sure to visit BAKED as well!

(adapted from the Whiteout Cake in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit
Prepare 2 8- or 9-inch round cake pans by spraying with cooking spray, lining with a parchment paper circle, and spraying the parchment paper

Cake ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon (yes) pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
fluffy lemon buttercream (recipe below)
strawberries (as many as you like)
2 tablespoons strawberry jam, melted

Sift together onto large wax paper square: flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside. If you don't have a sifter, you can tap the dry ingredients though a mesh strainer - that's what I do.

In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and lemon extracts, and 1 egg.  Beat until very well combined.

Alternately add flour mixture with ice water until completely incorporated.

In another mixer bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form (do not overbeat).  Gently fold beaten egg whites into cake batter until well blended. Divide batter among pans, but do not fill more than 1/2 to 3/4 full.  If you have extra batter, make some cupcakes!

Bake in center rack of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pans after 30 minutes if necessary. Cake is done when toothpick inserted comes out dry, or surface of cake springs back when lightly pressed. I'd check the cake at 35 minutes for doneness, depending on your own oven.

Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely (at least a few hours). Level layers with a sharp knife so that the cake stacks properly when frosted.


1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 pound confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed

Cream butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl, beating until light and fluffy.  Add extracts and beat until completely incorporated. Add confectioners sugar alternately with milk, starting off very slowly (or you'll have a cloud of sugar!) and beat very well, adding more milk, a tablespoon at a time, until it's just as light and fluffy as you'd like it.

Using about a cup of frosting, fill the layers (no frosting on the sides of this cake), and then slice as many strawberries as you'd like and place on top of frosting before topping with next layer. I put a few tablespoons of frosting here and there over the bottom layer of strawberries just to hold the layers securely.

Place top layer on top of strawberries, and frost the top as you did the bottom, with about a cup (or more) of frosting. Arrange sliced strawberries in a pretty pattern on top of cake. Using a clean paintbrush, apply melted jam to strawberries to retain moisture and provide a pretty glaze.

I decided to pipe a pretty ring of frosting around the cake where the layers are joined. Because I never know when to quit!

Have a lovely week ahead!


  1. yum! This looks incredible! Delicious and light tasting all at the same time!

    1. It was a big hit, Carolyn! Thanks for your comment my friend!

  2. This looks so very good. I can almost taste it!

  3. What a beautiful birthday cake, Jeannie!! I'll take this any day over a traditional one! Love all three of the Baked Cookbooks!

    1. Same here, Carol, would love this for a birthday! I LOVE the "Baked" cookbooks - these guys are great!

      I would love this cake with a real whipped cream frosting too, but this one had to travel so I opted for the lemon buttercream. :)

  4. Thats what I want!!!!!! Right now!!!!!!!!