I made this cake for our family’s Easter Dinner – it was light and lovely and just right for a spring-time celebration. I used Marionberry freezer jam to fill two of the layers and lemon curd for the middle layer, but all three could be berry (or lemon, for that matter if you’d like a totally lemon cake). Raspberry or blueberry would also be nice as fillings.
But my best discovery here was the frosting – so easy and so good. Just the right amount of lemon. The secret? Lemon curd. Yep, right in there with the powdered sugar and butter.
And oh, man, did it work great! In the past I’ve always used lemon juice in the frosting, but if I used too much (because I wanted more lemon flavor), it would get too runny. With a nice tart lemon curd, I could add quite a bit without affecting the consistency- which resulted in the Best Lemon Frosting. Ever.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this, but I’m glad I did, as I won’t make any other type of lemon frosting after this. I’ve been spoiled.
Lemon-Berry Cake and The Best Lemon Frosting Ever
For the cake:
- 2 c. flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
- 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
- 2 c. sugar
- 8 eggs
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced (about 1/2 c. juice)
- 1 tsp. pure lemon extract (optional, enhances lemon flavor but still lemony without it)
For the frosting:
- 3 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
- 2/3 c. lemon curd (or more, depending on taste and consistency)*
- 1 – 2 Tb. milk, optional if needed to lighten frosting
For the filling:
- 1-1/2 c. berry jam or preserves for filling (or 1 c. jam + 1/2 c. lemon curd)
- Make the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly butter the tops of the parchment.
- Using a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light – about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each. Add lemon zest, juice, and extract (if using). Mix until smooth.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger (if using). Mix on low just until combined. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove and cool 10 minutes on a rack.
- Loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a cooling rack, remove parchment paper, and then turn right-side-up onto another cooling rack. Cool completely.
- Make the frosting: Cream the butter and lemon curd in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whipping attachment. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time.
- After all the sugar has been added, whip the frosting on high for a minute. Check the spreading consistency. If it seems thick, add a tablespoon of milk and whip again on high for a minute. Repeat if needed. The key to a light and airy frosting is whipping air into it, so keep whipping until it seems easy to spread. *If using a looser, homemade lemon curd start with smaller amount.
- Assemble the cake: Cut the cake layers in half to make four layers.
- Place one layer on a cake plate and spread with 1/2 c. of jam. Place second layer on top and spread this layer with 1/2 c. jam or lemon curd. Repeat with third layer, spreading with another 1/2 c. of jam and topping with the last layer (top of cake).
- Frost the sides of the cake with the lemon frosting, swirling the frosting with a knife. Finish by frosting the top, using the remaining frosting. Sprinkle with decorative, edible sugar pearls if desired.