We spent the 4th of July bbq-ing with friends, and this year I thought I’d bypass the star spangled cake designs and flavors all together. Instead, I reached for the perfect lemon cake recipe (always a crowd favorite!) and paired it with the tastiest lemon cream cheese buttercream. It did not disappoint. I think this lemon cake is so perfect for any Summer gathering (or year round!), and I can’t wait to share this recipe with all of you lemon fans.
Last month, after tons of recipe testing and plenty of fails, this magical lemon cake was created. My insides squealed as I took it out of the oven and discovered that I had finally stumbled upon a lemon cake that’s fluffy, moist, packed with lemon flavor, and has the perfect amount of rise! Since lemon is such an acidic ingredient, you’ve got to be extra careful with which rising agent ratios you choose. I’m happy to say that these ones are perfection, so you can expect a beautiful lemon cake every time you bake it!
The first time I attempted a lemon cake recipe, I was flavoring the batter with fresh squeezed lemon juice. It turns out that lemon juice doesn’t really do much for flavor because most of it bakes off in the oven, and the most potent flavors of lemon actually come from the peel. So in the end, fresh lemon zest and a little lemon extract (which is made from distilled zest) add the perfect amount of zingy lemon flavor to this cake. Don’t worry about wasting any lemon juice though, you can save that for the lemon cream cheese buttercream!
I’ve paired this lemon cake with blueberry buttercream before, and it’s a beautiful flavor combination. This time around, I whipped up some lemon cream cheese buttercream and it is so, so dreamy with this cake. While cream cheese buttercreams tend to be on the softer side, this one is actually perfect for both frosting the cake and piping on designs, so it’s a real winner! And flavoring it with a little hit of fresh squeezed lemon juice really helps bring out the perfect amount of lemon flavor throughout the cake. So tasty!
As a finishing touch, I oven dried some lemon slices and stuck them onto the frosted cake. I think they’re so pretty, and really easy to make if you’ve got some down time. All it takes is slicing some lemons, baking them on a piece of parchment paper for 2-3 hours in a 200º oven (until they’re dry to the touch), and voila! The prettiest little lemon accents for your cake! However you choose to decorate, this lemon cake will have everyone reaching for that second (and third) slice.
Lemon Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
Lemon Layer Cake
- 3 1/4 Cups (344g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Cups (410g) white granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 Cup (75g) sour cream, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pure lemon extract
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (about 1 small lemon)
- 1 1/4 Cups (300ml) whole milk, room temperature
Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1 Cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature brick-style, not the spread*
- 8 Cups (960g) powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 small lemon)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Make The Lemon Layer Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 6-inch or two 8-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with a cooking spray (Baker’s Joy is my favorite) and a wax paper circle fitted to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can grease and lightly flour the pans.
- Sift the cake flour and then measure by spooning and leveling it in your measuring cup. Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (a handheld mixer works fine too!), cream the butter for on high for two minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add in sugar and continue to mix on medium-high for another two minutes, scraping down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and mix for one minute on high, scraping down the bowl and paddle once more.
- With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the milk slowly and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it a few stirs to make sure there are no lumps.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans (no more than 2/3 of the way full) and bake for 30-35 minutes. They’re done when they spring back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for five minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack for an additional few hours of cooling. Make sure they’re entirely room temperature before applying any frosting.
Make The Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese on high until light, fluffy, and uniform (no lumps), about five minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar a few cups at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the lemon juice and salt, mixing on low for another 30 seconds.
- After the lemon cake is cooled, torte each layer to remove the excess cake dome. Fill and frost with lemon cream cheese buttercream. To replicate the design pictured, after crumb coating the cake, divide the lemon cream cheese buttercream amongst three separate bowls. Color one bowl with yellow food coloring (I used Americolor Lemon Yellow). Mix a little of the yellow buttercream into another bowl of plain white to create a middle yellow shade. You should now have one bowl of deep yellow buttercream, one bowl of mid-yellow buttercream, and one bowl of white buttercream.
- Frost the bottom third of the cake with the deepest shade of yellow buttercream, the middle third with the mid-tone buttercream, and the top third with white buttercream. Smooth it with an icing smoother to create an ombre finish. Top with pretty piping, oven dried lemon slices, and a few yellow and white sprinkles for good measure.
Did you make this cake recipe? I want to know how it went! Let me know in the comments below or feel free to tag @sugarandsparrowco on Instagram. I love to see your cake creations!
Do you think lemon curd could be added between the layers or would it be too much? Thanks…love your cakes!
Hi Michelle! This cake is already super lemony as it is, but lemon curd would make a lovely addition if you’re a real big lemon fan! And if you’re worried about it being too much, you could always substitute the lemon juice in the buttercream recipe with vanilla extract to make a regular cream cheese buttercream instead of a lemon cream cheese buttercream.
How many layers will I have if I use a 6 inch pan? Thanks!
My cake will not come out of the pan and I have tried cutting the edges, what should I do
Hi Molly! Did you line the bottom with parchment paper? If so, after running a knife around the edges you should be good to flip the pan over and shake it a little to release the bottom. Here’s a more detailed post on how to prepare cake pans for easy release: https://sugarandsparrow.com/preparing-cake-pans/
Hi Molly! You’ll have enough for three 6 inch layers with this recipe.
Ann Margaret Davies says
Hi Molly, I really want a deeper cake can I put all the ingredients inan * inch tin. If so what will be the cooking time
Hi Ann! I’ve never baked this cake recipe in a deep pan before, so I’m not sure what the baking time or recommended oven temp would be. I do know that you’ll most likely need to reduce the oven temp by 25-50ºF and bake for a much longer time. It would be an experiment! But if I were to attempt it I would try baking at 325F, check the cake at 50 minutes, then add more time as needed. Hope that helps!
Mehera G says
Have you tried this recipe using 2 8 in pans? I’ve used 6 in pans recipes calling for 2 8 in pans, so I’m thinking this would work fine? Thoughts?
Hi Mehera! This recipe will work great in two 8-inch pans 🙂
Absolutely delicious! I’m getting married in September and I have decided to make my cake(s). I have been practicing for months now and your website has helped me tremendously. Now I know why they charge so much! Anyway, this lemon cake was the star of my Poolside BBQ and cake tasting, lol. Thank you so much for sharing your gift!
That’s so awesome, Xenia! So happy my recipes and tutorials have been helpful and that the lemon cake was a hit. Good luck on your wedding cake and congratulations!!
Ruchi C says
The cake flour used in this lemon cake is same as your homemade cake flour recipe….made of plain flour & corn starch?
Hi Ruchi! You can definitely use my homemade cake flour instructions in this recipe if store bought cake flour isn’t available.
Hello. Recently found your beautiful and inspirational site. Looking forward to trying some of your recipes, but probably beginning with this lovely lemon. Wondering, as you bake in 6″ pans like I typically do, can you tell me approx how tall your layers are meant to rise? I like tall cakes (usually in the 5-6″ range), so I often make thicker layers, or just several layers. Are your recipes around the same in expected layer height? Thanks very much!
Hi Paula! Can’t wait for you to try this lemon cake. I usually bake the layers in three 6-inch cake pans (2 inches tall) and fill the pans 2/3 full. They bake up to about 1 3/4 inches tall per layer. When the layers are filled and frosted, three layers should be enough to get your cake in the 5-6 inch tall range. I really like thick layers as well, so I’ve written all of my recipes to rise just as much.
How much would I have to multiple this recipe for 2 9” pans? Thanks!!
Hi Laura! You can use this recipe as-is for two 9 inch pans. Just be sure to fill the pans no more than 2/3 full (you might have some extra batter) and you’ll be good!
Cassandra Wan says
Hi Laura, this looks amazing! Do you think I can airbrush the lemon butter cream? Thanks!!
Thanks so much, Cassandra! I’ve never tried airbrushing a cake before but I’m sure you could airbrush this buttercream.
I use professional 6″ pans – should’ve trusted my gut & used FOUR pans …WAY too much wasteful, messy overspill in my oven 🙁
Hi there! Not sure what the difference is with a professional 6″ cake pan (sounds like they’re more shallow than normal 6″ cake pans?) The sides on mine are 2 inches tall, and when filled with batter to 2/3 full I have not had a problem with batter overflowing. Next time try less batter per pan or like you said, four pans if they’re shallower than 2″.
The pans make all the difference! I wish someone had told me the before I made the first cake. The layers were not flush since the pan was on an angle, it overflowed and the sides were too crisp. I got the Winton pans the next round and the cakes were PERFECT! I also used baking strips around the outer side of the pans to avoid crisp sides.
So happy to hear that your new cake pans are doing the trick, Dana! I am gonna have to try cake strips someday, I hear they work wonders.
sonja Butler alford says
How did you darken the lemon slices for decorations
I oven dried the lemons! You can oven dry lemon slices by baking them on a piece of parchment paper for 2-3 hours in a 200º oven until they’re dry to the touch.
Hi! I’m planning to make this frosting for a 6-inch cake with four layers. Should I make a batch and a half of it, or will the original amounts be enough with the additional layer? Thanks!
Hi Amy! The original frosting recipe will be enough for frosting a 4-layer 6-inch cake. You’ll probably even have a little extra to do some pretty piping accents!
Hello, what piping tips were used here?
Hi Kaitlin! I used Wilton tip 1M for the rosettes and 4B for the stars.
Billy Gardner says
I just made this for my sisters birthday! I added a raspberry jam in between the layers and it turned out so good.
That sounds amazing with raspberry jam, Billy! So happy the recipe was a hit!!
Nancy Herrera says
The BEST lemon cake I have EVER made and eaten in my life! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes!
Yay, Nancy! So happy to hear you love this recipe as much as I do!
Can I reduce the sugar in the buttercream
Hi Wadzie! You can certainly reduce the amount of sugar in the buttercream, but the less you use the thinner the buttercream consistency will be. To keep it a good consistency for frosting/piping, I don’t recommend reducing by more than 1/2 Cup.
Hi I’m planning on baking this for my birthday on Friday but I only have regular whole milk and buttermilk. Can I substitute the sour cream with buttermilk? Would the cake still be as fluffy?
Hi Jo! If you don’t have sour cream on hand, you can omit it and substitute the whole milk in this recipe with buttermilk. The purpose of the sour cream is to add extra moisture, and substituting in buttermilk will help with that.
Sindia Padilla says
Pretty sure this is the fluffiest cake I have ever made! I tweaked it more than usual since I am making a mini layered “smash” cake but don’t have small round pans. I did a half batch baked in a large parchment paper lined cookie sheet with a 1/2 in lip at 350 for 15 min. Used bread flour, plain yogurt instead of sour cream, 2% milk, and omitted lemon extract since I didn’t have any. The batter is thick so I had to spread it the best I could with a spoon. It didn’t spread much baking so its a tad uneven. Tapping to spread the batter may have donethe trick. It isn’t too lemony without the extract even though I used zest from one lemon. Either way, this recipe is a keeper! I’m excited to make the frosting and someday try this recipe exactly as described. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Sindia! I am surprised that the cake turned out so fluffy with all those alterations, especially with using bread flour. So glad it turned out for you and thanks for letting me know what worked as substitutions! Excited for you to try it as it’s written someday and compare 🙂
Katie Jackson says
I loved your lemon layer cake with the blueberry icing! I see that some of the measurements differ slightly on this lemon layer cake recipe and just wondering if it’s the same cake but with some updates to this version? Love your blog. Big fan!
Hi Katie! So happy you love the lemon layer cake recipe! This is the same recipe as the lemon layer cake with blueberry buttercream, it just makes slightly less batter 🙂
Katie Jackson says
Awesome! Thanks for the reply. I’m going to try this today with a homemade strawberry buttercream. Can’t wait.
Oh my, that flavor pairing sound so delicious! Let me know how it turns out!
Katie Jackson says
It was a big hit! The lemon cake with real strawberry buttercream (I blended the strawberries and then reduced them down) was for a 7 year old birthday party. She raved about it. Fantastic recipe!
I am wondering if I could sub lime for lemon on this recipe to make a lime flavored cake? What do you think?
That’s wonderful, Katie! So happy to hear the recipe was a hit and I want to try that reduced strawberry puree buttercream someday! I’ve never tried subbing lime in for the lemon in this recipe, but since lemons and limes have similar acidity I think it would work just fine. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
Hi Whitney! I am working on this cake today and this is the first time I have made baked lemon slices. I sliced them, trying not to go too thick or thin. I did bake on parchment as you wrote. After around 2 hours, the thinner ones were “done”, but the little bit thicker ones were tacky on the backs. Question: do you bake directly on parchment paper on a cookie sheet or do you put them on a rack on a cookie sheet covered in parchment? I finished off the under done slices by putting on a rack, tacky side up, on a cookie sheet. Help!
Also…I used the amounts of butter and cream cheese as stated: 16 oz of cream cheese. Mine was really loose and sticky…did I miss something??
Cream cheese buttercream is typically more sticky than other buttercreams by nature, but if it’s too thin, there are a few ways to troubleshoot. If your kitchen environment is too warm, or you began with cream cheese/butter that were too soft, it will make the resulting buttercream thin. If this is the case, just stick the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes and then rewhip it with your stand mixer. Otherwise, you can thicken it by adding more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time and balancing the sweetness with a pinch of salt, until the desired consistency is reached.
Hi Paula! I line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the lemon slices on top. It sounds like the rack method worked for you for the thicker slices though? If the thicker slices are tacky, it just means they still have a tiny bit of liquid in them and need a bit longer in the oven to dry out. But even if they are a little tacky, they should still hold up and work just fine.
Thank you for your replies Whitney. Going to work on my cake today!!! If it looks good, I’ll post pics. Hope you are doing well!! 🙂
Hi Whitney- Well, I decided to go with a vanilla elderflower buttercream. I took a few pics and posted on my Instagram. Thank you for your inspiration.
Just saw on Instagram, Paula! The cake turned out so stunning!! Nice work and pairing this lemon cake with vanilla elderflower buttercream sounds like the best idea ever. I’m gonna have to try that sometime!
Hi! I was hoping to attempt a striped cake soon.. do you think this cream cheese buttercream will be sturdy enough? Or for the first time, err on the side of caution and use a classic buttercream?
Hi Mary! I’ve actually never attempted the striped look with cream cheese buttercream, but I know it works perfectly with classic buttercream. If you’re nervous about trying it with cream cheese but want that flavor represented in the cake, you could always fill and crumb coat the cake with cream cheese buttercream and chill it to let it set up firm. Then, you could attempt the stripes with cream cheese buttercream and if it doesn’t work out, it should be fine to create the striped look with classic vanilla buttercream from there as a backup. Let me know if you attempt it with cream cheese buttercream! Now I’m curious!
Thank you so much for you thoughtful response! I think I will attempt stripes with the cream cheese buttercream like you said and if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll make some classic buttercream to try again! Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it. I have just gotten into cake decorating, and your blog has been so helpful to me! I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂
I attempted the stripes today! They didn’t turn out as crisp as I wanted, but I actually think it was user error. I think my grooves weren’t deep enough in some areas – so the issue probably wasn’t with the cream cheese. I will have to try again with a standard American buttercream and see if there is a difference. Thanks again for your advice!
Ah yes, stripes definitely take some practice to get those grooves just right. Glad it sounds like the stripes worked out with the cream cheese buttercream though, that’s awesome!
Beth Garrison says
I substituted Greek lemon yogurt in lieu of sour cream. Also used buttermilk instead of milk. Between the cake layers I spread lemon curd.
Hi Beth! Sounds like those substitutions worked and I’m happy to hear it! I bet the lemon curd was so tasty with this lemon cake and cream cheese buttercream – gonna have to try that sometime!
Is “cake flour” the same as self raising flour? I’ve never seen “cake flour” where I live.
Also would this freeze ok with frosting done? I’ve frozen whole cakes with buttercream before but not sure if the cream cheese would make a difference ?
Thank you !
Hi Jess! Self rising flour is not the same as cake flour (self rising has additional leavening agents in it). If you can’t find cake flour locally, you can make a homemade version with all purpose flour using this recipe: http://sugarandsparrow.com/homemade-cake-flour
You should be able to freeze the cake with cream cheese frosting!
This was the first time making a cake from scratch, something I have been wanting to attempt for a while. I am proud to say I have got the thumbs up from every last person who helped demolish it. The recipe was super easy to follow, the ingredients are easy to find at the shops and the flavours and textures are 100% on point. I can’t wait to try more recipes from Sugar and Sparrow. Thank you for sharing them with the world, I will 100% recommend.
Yay, Katherine! That makes me beyond happy to hear! I’m glad the recipe was easy to follow and turned out tasty. So proud of you for nailing your first from-scratch cake and excited for you to try more!
Hi – have you tried making cupcakes with this? If so, how many would it make and should i alter the oven temp?
Hi Tori! Yes, this recipe makes great cupcakes! Just be sure to fill the tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350ºF for 15-18 minutes. Not sure about the exact amount of cupcakes this will yield, but I would guess about 40+ cupcakes.
This cake is beautiful! Will you share what piping tips you used to decorate? Thank you.
Thank you, Chris! I used Wilton Tip 1M for the rosettes and 4B for the star shapes.
I’m planning on making this cake soon and noticed the amount of sugar in it. Is it possible to reduce the sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups or lesser? Thanks!! Can’t wait to bake this cake as it looks fab.
Hi Mel! The sugar in the recipe helps soften the cake’s texture and reducing it by too much can throw off the cake’s chemistry. You can certainly try it with 1.5 cups of sugar but any less than that and I think it would alter the chemistry too much.
Hi Whitney I want to make this lemon cake for someone that loves lemon cake, but I’ m a little confused because this lemon cake and the lemon cake with blueberry icing are a little different in ingredients, 1 says 4 eggs and the other day 5 eggs can help me out? Thank you kindly Gina it looks like it’s the same cake but a little different in ingredients
Hi Gina! It is the same cake recipe, only it makes different amounts. This one yields three 6-inch layers while the other yields four 6-inch layers. Hope that helps!
Hi Whitney! I made two 9” layers last night and am going to frost them this morning. However. I was wandering if the two layers could be cut in half and be filled with your icing to give me the height I’m looking for so that I can decorate my cake as you did. Your cake is beautiful. It’s got my mom’s birthday.
Hi Melanie! You can certainly torte those layers to make them into four shorter layers and fill them with icing in between. Go for it!
Hi Whitney, I’m planning on making this cake but would like to “merge” the blueberry buttercream idea with this cream cheese frosting. Should I work with this cream cheese frosting recipe as the base and just add freeze dried berries to it (in place of the lemon juice)? Thank you!
Hi Jules! You can totally do that. I would just add the same amount of freeze dried blueberry powder as the other recipe calls for and either keep the lemon juice or replace it with milk to keep the liquid in there. That may seem like a lot of blueberry but when ground I think it ends up equalling around 1/2 cup and should not thicken this buttercream too much. Hope that helps!
Susan Gee says
Hi I’m making this amazing looking cake now. The milk measure say 200 ml but 1 1/4 cups – but 200 ml is less than a cup?
Hi Susan! Thanks for catching that typo – the milk measurement should read 300ml. Fixed it in the recipe!
Hi Whitney can I add a cup of frozen blueberries to make it a lemon blueberry cake?
Hi Kaitlin! I would use fresh blueberries if you’re wanting to make a lemon blueberry cake, only because the frozen ones may incorporate too much liquid while baking. If you do add fresh blueberries, I would use about 1.5 cups and coat them with a few tbsp of flour before folding them in at the end of the recipe. That should keep them from sinking while the cakes bake. Hope that helps!
Hi Whitney! Curious about using oil instead of butter in this cake. The cake is divine as is, but the next time I make it, I will need to refrigerate it and also expect there to be leftovers. Given the time in the fridge, I’m worried that the butter will firm up the cake too much and detract from its amazing-ness. I know butter offers such a great flavor, but oil keeps as cake so moist. really curious what your thoughts are on the butter vs. oil specifically for use in this cake. Thanks!
Hi Jules! I’ve never tried subbing oil in this cake recipe, so I cannot say for sure how it will turn out. Feel free to experiment and report back! Otherwise, I have refrigerated leftovers of this cake recipe and as long as it’s properly wrapped (I place saran wrap over the cut portions of the cake) it should be perfectly moist when brought back to room temperature. Hope that helps!
Hi! Can I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour for this recipe?
Hi Merna! Cake flour is what makes this cake extra light and fluffy. You can use all purpose flour, but the cake will be more dense. Instead, I recommend making this DIY cake flour using all purpose flour for the recipe: https://sugarandsparrow.com/homemade-cake-flour-recipe/
Hi, Im just wondering abt the amount of confectioners sugar for the buttercream. It sounds alot to me (European taste maybe lol). Would it work with half the amount?
Hi Sofia! I actually decreased the amount of confectioner’s sugar in this recipe compared to other American buttercreams, and when balanced with salt it isn’t too sweet by my standards. Decreasing the amount of confectioner’s sugar more than this will result in a runnier buttercream. If you do decide to decrease the sugar by half, be sure to decrease the liquid by half as well to try and keep the consistency like frosting. It will end up tasting more buttery this way as well. All that to say it would be an experiment as I have never attempted that before, so if you do try it be sure to report back with the results!
Can I use lemon justice instead of the lemon extract??
Hi Karina! I have actually tried this recipe with lemon juice and it doesn’t add much flavor. Instead, most of the flavor of a lemon comes from the zest. I definitely recommend adding both zest and lemon extract to give it that extra zing!
This recipe looks amazing! Im going to make it for a birthday. I’m going to making it in three tins, and then halving each layer of cake once cooked…to make six layers. Do you think I’ll need to double the butter cream cheese?
Or do you think the six layers is a no go?!
Please let me know!
Hi Meri! I’m so excited for you to make this cake! I think 6 thin layers would be amazing, although I’ve never tried it myself. You’ll definitely need to make more buttercream for filling, but I think it will totally work! Just make 1.5x the buttercream recipe and you should be good to go. Enjoy!
I made this cake for my mother’s Birthday and every love it! It was an absolute success. I made variations, I use just for the filling the cream cheese frosting, and for frosting an Italian meringue. Love this recipe and definitely is one of my favorites!
Yay, Ivanna! So happy this recipe was a hit for your mother’s birthday! Thanks for taking the time to let me know 🙂
Haley B says
Would the cream cheese buttercream be sturdy enough for piping decorations?
Hi Haley! It is sturdy enough for piping. It’s what I used to pipe the decorations on this cake!
Hi Whitney, I’m planning to make this cake for a birthday with 2 x 8inch pans that are 3.75 in tall (doubling recipe). Do I need to adjust the temp for the height? Thanks in advance!
Hi Michelle! You will need to adjust the baking time for a cake pan that has taller sides like that, but I’ve never baked one of my recipes in a tall pan so I’m not sure how long you’ll need to bake it. Here’s an article that shows how to adjust the oven temp and time for deeper pans though: https://fatdaddios.com/inspiration/reach-incredible-heights hope that helps!
I love your site and recipes (so excited to play with your vegan chocolate cake!)! The crumb on this cake looks so lovely. Have you frozen in advance per your make-ahead note? I hate how butter cakes lose their tender crumb once frozen (but am worried that a chiffon cake wouldn’t be sturdy enough for what I have in mind..) and was wondering if this stays light. If not, I’ll plan on making the day before, wrapping, and leaving out as you also suggest. Thank you in advance!
Hi Emily! I rarely freeze cake layers but when I do they don’t seem to lose their tender crumb. Most often I just make them a day ahead and wrap them once cooled in plastic wrap, then store at room temp until the next day. Hope that helps!
Hello! How could I covert this for 3 8-inch layers? 1.5 times the recipe?
Hi Erin! Yes – 1.5x the recipe should be the perfect amount.
can you use 6 in pan for this
Hi Anthony! Yes, this recipe is written for three 6-inch pans. Enjoy!
I’m hoping to do your painted buttercream cake for my wedding cake but was thinking of using this recipe as the base, and decorating it with the plain buttercream swatches.
Do you think that would work with the cream cheese as the base icing and then making the standard vanilla buttercream to decorate? Or could I use the cream cheese one to decorate the swatches too?
Thanks so much, your cakes are beautiful!!
Hi Sam! I would use the cream cheese buttercream for both the frosting and the painted swatches! This cream cheese buttercream recipe is really easy to color so it should be a breeze. Just follow the steps in my painted cake tutorial and you’ll be good to go.
Hi Whitney! The taste of the cake and the buttercream is sheer perfection.. However, the cake weighed too much to hold the buttercream and I ended up with an utter mess . I used 3 pans as intended and I followed the recipe to every detail. Yet, my buttercream turned too slippery for some reason and in combination with the weight of each cake, I couldn’t fill or even crumbcoat no matter how hard I tried. In fact, it seemed quite sturdy in the bowl but once applied on the cake (which was completely cooled, wrapped and stored in the fridge for a while), it became runny. Ah! Any ideas?
Oh no, Katia! Was it warm in your kitchen? That is my first thought – that the buttercream was too runny because either you were working in a warm environment or you over-softened the butter/cream cheese. If that happens again you can always thicken it up by placing the buttercream in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and then re-mixing it on low speed for a minute or two before applying it to your cake. Another way to thicken it is to add more powdered sugar, but you’ll need to balance it with more salt to make sure it doesn’t end up too sweet. Hope that helps!
I think it makes sense, thanks Whitney! The taste was so heavenly that I will try again. Could it be that I might have over-beaten the cake batter as well, hence its density/weight? I intend to make it fluffy next time – I just can’t put my finger on what I did wrong. Thank you for your reply
I have been experimenting with cream cheese fillings for a red velvet naked cake for my brothers wedding. Would you recommend this recipe for frosting 3 layers of 8’ cakes? Would you say this is a sturdy frosting? I’ve just had difficulty with consistency and am worried with cream cheese it’ll be too soft and buckle. Thank-you!
Hi Hannah! Cream cheese buttercream can be so finicky. This one is the sturdiest I’ve tried without having to add tons of powdered sugar to firm it up. I believe it’s sturdy enough to uphold three 8 inch cake layers but if you want an extra bit of protection, I recommend using the “Filling cakes with soft fillings” method from this Cake Basics post: https://sugarandsparrow.com/fill-and-stack-cake-layers/ and using either a sturdier buttercream as the piped circle or reserving some cream cheese buttercream and adding more powdered sugar to that to sturdy it up for the piped circle. Hope that helps!
Okay great thank-you so much.
I’m using your salted caramel buttercream for the chocolate bottom 10’ tier and it’s absolutely delicious!!
Rachel N says
Hi Whitney, I am from Australia and have been following your blog and Instagram for a few months and love your tips and tutorials! We use the metric measure here, so I was trying to convert your recipe but I am having a very hard time. Do you have any tips? I am confused with how you calculate your grams, they seem too low given how many cups you measure say for the flour for example. Desperately want to try one of your recipes they look incredible! Thanks xx
Hi Rachel, this recipe is already converted to metric measurements (grams/ml) so there’s no need to do any more calculating. The cake flour weighs less than all purpose or plain flour, so I am wondering if that’s what’s confusing. For example, if you follow the DIY recipe for cake flour in the notes it will weigh more than what’s listed as the cake flour weight because it’s made with all purpose flour. Does that make sense? Are there any other ingredients that are giving you a hard time? I would try the recipe as-is (it’s been tested lots) and see how it turns out before trying to change the measurements.
Hi there! If I wanted to make just a lemon buttercream (without the cream cheese in it), does the frosting ingredient measurements need to be adjusted? Or can I still make this lemon-flavoured buttercream by simply leaving the cream cheese out? Thanks!!!
Hi there! If you want to make a lemon buttercream without the cream cheese, use 1 extra cup of butter in place of the cream cheese. Enjoy!
Hi Whitney, I read a comment here about omitting the sour cream and substituting the milk for buttermilk. Just want to confirm that it’s okay to omit the sour cream altogether?
Hi Kate! You can do that, but the cake will not be as moist. I highly recommend keeping the sour cream in there or subbing with plain yogurt.
Just made your cake today for my daughter’s birthday. I actually had enough batter to make a 4th 6 inch cake. My pans aren’t the tall 6×2, I weighed each one out to 14 1/4 oz w/ batter. I’ve tried other recipes of yours and they are amazing. My daughter loves lemon cake and I knew this one would be perfect to do but I’m actually going to make a honeycomb cake for her because that’s what she requested lol. This is the first time on making that kind of cake.
Is it possible to bake this recipe in a 9×13 pan?
Hi Jess! Yes, you can bake this in a 9 x 13 pan. Here’s all the details: https://sugarandsparrow.com/sheet-cake-recipes/
What is cake flour ? Can you use plain flour or self raising ?
Hi Tanya! Here’s a post that explains why I use cake flour and how to substitute plain flour: https://sugarandsparrow.com/homemade-cake-flour
Kate Rempel says
What bake time would you suggest for three 8inch pans? Would you use the same amount of batter or make more?
Thanks so much in advance!!
Hi Kate! For three 8 inch pans I would make 1.5x the recipe and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Hope that helps!
I was wondering if this recipe is a good recipe for stacking cakes? If you ever tried? I would be making a 3 tier cake and I was looking for a new lemon recipe for it. Thank you for your time.
Hi Nat! It will totally work for a tiered cake. Enjoy!
I live in Ireland and cake flour and corn starch are hard to come by. Would love to make this recipe but will I need a different measurement for plain flour or could I swap it gram for gram?
Love your recipes thanks!
Hi Rachel! Since plain flour weighs more than cake flour, it won’t be a straight substitution in grams but it would be a straight substitution in cups. In other words, 3 1/4 Cups of plain flour which will weigh about 405g total. Hope that helps!
Hi! How did you have the lemon rings for the decor?
Hi Tanvi! There are instructions for making the dried lemon slices right before the recipe portion of this post: slice some lemons, bake them on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 2-3 hours in a 200º oven (until they’re dry to the touch), and voila!
Can you add lemon zest to the frosting to give it more lemon flavor?
Hi Una! You totally can. You’ll be able to see little flecks of zest in the buttercream though, so just keep that in mind.
Hello, I am planning on making this cake ahead of time and freezing it to travel. Do you think the candied lemon slices will survive the freeze and thaw processed?
Hi Heather! The lemon slices should freeze and thaw beautifully!
Hello.. i love love your recipes. Just wondering if i used salted butter do I have to cut down the salt used and if so, how much do i cut it down by? Thank you for sharing your recipes with us all
Hi Joanne! If you’re using salted butter, omit all of the rest of the salt from the recipe. Let me know how it goes!