Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back-to-School Plaid Cake

Triple-Layer Lemon Cake with Blueberry Buttercream filling and Fresh Blueberries covered in Lemon Buttercream frosting

I just love a lemon cake that's super lemony.  This cake has all kinds of lemon happening plus a lovely blueberry buttercream and fresh berry filling.  It's a flavor explosion.

I'm including the recipe to high light the many different ways bakers can introduce flavor into baking.

Lemon Cake

Yield:  triple-layer, 8" or 9" round cake or approx 26-30 cupcakes

  • 3 ½ c. flour, all-purpose
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 c. salted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 T lemon zest (2-3 large lemons)
  • ½ c. lemon juice (juice from 2 large lemons)
  • 1 t. lemon extract
  • 1 ½ t. vanilla extract, clear
  • 2 c. plain yogurt or sour cream or lemon yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare cake rounds with non-stick cooking spray or line cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl cream butter, add sugar until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, beat thoroughly after each addition then beat until fluffy.
  4. Add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice; mix well.  Add lemon extract, mix.  Add vanilla extract, mix.
  5. Alternately add flour and yogurt.  Mix well, until just combined.
  6. Batter is thick.  Divide evenly among 8" rounds or fill cupcake tin 3/4 full - use an ice cream scoop.
  7. Bake cakes approx. 32-37 minutes; bake cupcakes approx. 21-25 minutes.
  8. Cool cake rounds for 10 minutes before removing cake to cooling rack; remove cupcakes after allowing to cool 4-5 minutes.
  9. Batter does not rise significantly.
  10. Frost when completely cool.
I love using two large, fresh lemons (be sure to zest as much of the yellow rind as possible without taking off the spongy, bitter white middle layer).  Adding lemon extract increases the flavor.  Recently, I started using lemon yogurt instead of plain yogurt or sour cream.  It's another way to introduce the lemony goodness.

I don't add lemon curd into the batter - I save that for the filling or frosting or both.  If commercial lemon curd isn't available, try adding lemon pie filling.  Making your own lemon curd doesn't have to be as daunting as it sounds - you can do it! 

When stacking layers, I almost always stack them right-side down.  The pans I use have vertical sides, instead of slightly tapered for ease in stacking, - this is critical for producing layers that are consistently perpendicular.  Filling in the sides of this cake was easy... I used the same blueberry buttercream.  Hot tip: Filling needs to be somewhat stiff in order to support additional layers of cake and filling.  If it's too soft - it will ooze out the sides and the cake will rest on top of each other.  That first slice reveals the success of this effort. 

This was a cake that I just felt like baking because it sounded so good.  Since there wasn't an event to take this to, I could decorate this 6" triple-layer delight any way I wanted.

I haven't worked with a plaid design for several months; what a fun pattern to revisit.  The pink buttercream is flavored with strawberries and the blue is flavored with blueberries.  Both are a smash hit with lemon. 

While this was an amazingly delicious cake... it still doesn't have the look I was hoping to achieve.  I think the buttercream filling needs to be more blue.  I am happy with the yellow food coloring gel I added to the cake and I really am happy with the color of the lemon frosting.  The filling...not so much.

Maybe next time, I fold the blueberries into the cake and the buttercream can be tinted to the blue that I'm thinking about.

The good news?  I can try this again and it's no big deal.  I can continue to work on blending that plaid design on top of the cake (maybe add a third color?).

I used the Wilton 1M open star tip for the bottom and top edge.

A few cupcakes I made in the same baking session.  I love all the options.


  1. I thought the filling was a nice contrast, and it was delicious with those blueberries in there. But then that's just me. Love this cake!!

    1. Thank you! I was thinking of a Blueberry Lemonade slushee... these flavors seem to compliment each other. Then again - you love lemon.