This three-tiered lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting and fresh raspberry topping is a beautiful cake to make for an upcoming birthday or special celebration.
It was my mum-in-laws 60th birthday at the weekend and the family celebrated together with a meal out. To make it an extra special day I wanted to surprise her with a home-made birthday cake. Now you may think this is not out of the ordinary but I’m sure not many of you have professional cake bakers as mum-in-laws! Susan is the lady who makes you a birthday cake, not the other way around! But whilst daunting, I knew she would appreciate the effort that went into a thoughtfully baked cake. And I was right! She loved her surprise cake and even wanted to know how it was made! Result!
On Saturday night, rather than watch a movie or head out Phill and I stayed in and baked our little hearts out. The outcome was a sweet and zesty cake – beautifully light and moist sponge with a hint of lemon, paired with a lemon cream cheese frosting and generous amounts of raspberry jam.
Now don’t go thinking this is a really complex cake, it’s not! It’s actually brilliantly straightforward. For me the hardest thing was getting the frosting on the outside of the cake looking presentable. I would have loved to have got it all lovely and smooth and professional looking but I just wasn’t capable of such finesse! But I sort of like that the cake looks homemade and a bit rustic!
3x 20cm diameter loose-bottomed round baking tins
2x large bowls
electric hand whisk
cake base (make sure it’s bigger than 20cm in diameter!)
Ingredients for the sponge:
110g unsalted butter, softened
380g caster sugar
320g plain flour
4tsp baking powder
zest of two lemons
3 large eggs
110g raspberry jam (I used seeded jam)
Ingredients for the frosting:
900g icing sugar, sifted
zest of three lemons
150g unsalted butter, softened
375g full-fat cream cheese
And don’t forget…
A handful of raspberries for the top of the cake, a bit of lemon zest and a dusting of icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F), Gas mark 3, and rub butter around the inside of the three tins.
2. In a large bowl place the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder. Whisk the ingredients together until you have a sandy consistency.
3. In a large jug mix together the buttermilk, lemon zest and eggs.
4. Gradually pour in half of the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and whisk everything together until you get a smooth batter. Then add the rest of the liquid ingredients and whisk one last time to bring it all together.
5. Carefully pour your batter into the three cake tins, making sure each tin has the same amount. Place all the tins into the oven for approximately 3o minutes (set a timer!). You’ll want the sponge to be lightly browned on top when you left them out. The sponge should bounce back when you gently press it with your fingers.
6. To make the yummy frosting, gradually mix together the icing sugar, lemon zest and butter in a bowl until you have a smooth consistency. Add a little of the cream cheese and whisk until smooth again. Now add the rest of the cream cheese and whisk until it is fully mixed in.
7. Only when your sponges have completely cooled should you start putting the cake together, adding the frosting and jam. Take one of the sponges and set it on your cake base. Add a a generous helping of the frosting to the top. Follow this up with a generous helping of jam on top of the frosting. Then place your second sponge on top of the filling and add the frosting and jam to it before placing the final sponge on top of that. Now for the tricky part! Using a pallet knife add genererous amounts of frosting to the top and sides of your assembled cake. Spread it out using the knife and get it as smooth as you can (or make it rustic looking like mine!).
8. To finish your cake off, add some fresh raspberries on top, along with some grated lemon and a dusting of icing sugar.
Recipe (slightly amended!) from The Hummingbird Bakery.