Last week, when I posted my lemon curd recipe, I already mentioned I’d be posting the recipe for a lemon curd cake soon – and here it is! I made this cake for my birthday a week and a half ago and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It was so delicious, and I loved baking something a little more intricate than all the different types of brownies and crumbles I’ve been making lately.
Having said that; this is not a difficult cake to make at all. For starters, you can just use storebought lemon curd if you don’t feel like making your own (although it is much tastier). Other than that, there are only two steps: baking a cake, and making buttercream frosting – quite straightforward, but so, so good! It’s tangy and sweet at the same time and the flavours complement each other perfectly.
I do recommend reading through the entire recipe before getting to work so you won’t encounter any surprises (like having to wait for some element of the cake to cool down before moving on). Other than that, I’d say; have fun! I certainly did while making this cake – and eating it, too!
For the cake
- 200 g fine granulated sugar
- 200 g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
- 2 tablespoons milk
- zest of 1 lemon (if you’re using my lemon curd recipe, you can use the zest of one of the lemons used in that recipe)
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
For the filling
- about 250 g lemon curd (here’s my recipe, although you can also use storebought)
- lemon buttercream:
- 20 g flour
- 120 ml milk
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 100 g icing sugar
- 50 g lemon curd
- Optional: fresh blueberries (or other berries)
- parchment paper
- 1 or 2 cake tins / springform tins (20 cm)
- piping bag
- cling film
- electric mixer / stand mixer
- optional: cake strips (can be homemade from aluminium foil and paper towels – find out more below)
- and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 170 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)
So, let’s get baking!
If you’ve decided to make the lemon curd from scratch, this is the moment to do so – it will have plenty of time to cool down before you have to use it when assembling the cake. Again, find my recipe here. We’re moving on to the cake now!
1. Cream butter and sugar together Take a large bowl and mix together the sugar and softened butter until it becomes light and fluffy. I used my stand mixer for this, but you can also use a handheld electric mixer.
2. Add eggs one by one The next step is to add all four eggs one by one, mixing them through before adding the next one.
3. Add vanilla, milk and lemon zest Now, add the vanilla flavouring, milk and lemon zest through the batter and mix them through.
4. Add self-raising flour, baking powder and salt Sieve the self-raising flour and baking powder to avoid any lumps and then add them to the batter. Also add a pinch of salt. Mix it all together on a low speed (or using a spatula/spoon) until it’s all just combined. Don’t mix it much longer than that – you don’t want to overmix the batter.
Optional step: Often when you’re baking a cake, it comes out with a domed top, which isn’t ideal when you’re making a layer cake. To make sure your cake bakes more evenly and comes out flat on top, you can use cake strips. You can buy reusable cake strips, but you can also make them yourself very easily out of aluminium foil and wet paper towels. Watch this video by Preppy Kitchen to find out how. I used cake strips for this recipe for the first time and the result was great!
5. Bake the cakes Transfer your batter into two cake tins lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. If you want to make sure you’ve got the same amount of batter in both tins, you can use your kitchen scales. Add your cake strips if you’re using them, and then put the cakes into the preheated oven. Bake them for 20-25 minutes. They’re done when the cake springs back when you gently push it (or when a skewer comes out clean). My oven isn’t big enough for two tins, so I baked the cakes separately, which is fine too.
6. Let the cakes cool Let the cakes cool in their tins for about 15 minutes before transferring them out of the tin and onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.
While the cakes are in the oven, you can get started on the buttercream, which will need some time to cool down, too.
7. Make flour paste Sieve the flour above a saucepan and add the milk. Stir this through until the mixture is smooth and then put the saucepan on medium heat on the stove. Keep stirring until the milk starts to boil – then turn down the heat. The mixture will now start to thicking quite quickly (keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pan!). It’s done when it’s thick enough for a cocktail skewer to stand upright in it. Transfer the mixture to small bowl, cover it with cling film and let it cool down to room temperature. I placed the bowl in the fridge to speed up the process.
8. Cream butter and sugar together When the flour paste is at room temperature, you can continue with the rest of the buttercream. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the icing sugar until it’s light and fluffy. I used a handheld electric mixer for this step.
9. Add flour paste and lemon curd Add the cooled down flour paste to the butter/sugar mixture and whisk it into a smooth, light buttercream. Also add the lemon curd, but do so in small parts, mixing in between – you don’t want the buttercream to curdle because of the lemon.
10. Cool buttercream Place the buttercream in the fridge to let it set for about half an hour. Then, transfer it to a piping bag with the end snipped off (you can also use a large, round nozzle, but that isn’t necessary).
11. Assemble cake Place the cake you want to be on the bottom on a cake stand or a plate. Pipe a generous line of buttercream all along the outer edge of the cake (this creates a dam so the lemon curd doesn’t leak out). If you’re a fan of buttercream, you can also add some more in the middle. Then, fill up the middle of the cake with lemon curd (make sure you have enough left for the top). If you’re adding berries, press some of them into the lemon curd – be as generous as you want. Now, place the second cake on top and very gently press down. It’s time to decorate the top! I piped little blobs (that’s the technical term) along the edge of the cake and added more lemon curd in the middle, but you can use as much buttercream as you like. Also add some more blueberries on top.
And that’s it! You’ve got your very own, delicious lemon curd layer cake. Enjoy!