DessertsMainsQuick & EasyVegan Desserts

Lemon Cake with Fluffy and Less-Sweet Lemon Frosting

30 mins Cook
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That is the Lemon Cake you make while you want to electrify cake layers based totally on my signature Blueberry CupCakes with Lemon Frosting recipe that readers round the arena have fallen in love with, with a magic fluffy no longer-too-candy lemon frosting. The bonus right here is that this cake remains flawlessly clean for 4 entire days.

Lemon Cake

That is a three-layer Lemon Cake with a fantastically gentle crumb that’s tailored from my Vanilla Cake batter. The Vanilla Cake batter is one among my grasp recipes that I adapt to all sorts of desserts. it is able to be blueberry-studded ones, a pink, actual strawberry cake (in the works!) or even a layered chestnut cream Mont Blanc Cake.

The sponge is precise because it’s made using a French-japanese cake-making approach that relies on whipped eggs greater than baking powder to boost the cake. This yields a miles extra fashionable, softer crumb than normal Western desserts which regularly start with a “cream butter and sugar” education.

here’s a contrast of the Vanilla Cake Crumb vs an ordinary butter cake:

  • As mentioned, this makes is an great standard-cause foundation for so many other desserts. Like this Lemon Cake! here’s a touch behind the curtain Instagram video from when i used to be experimenting:
  • So, this recipe changed into truely the outcome of cake sample variety 3 you notice inside the above video! After keeping it to myself for some months, I decided it became time to percentage!
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Lemon Cake with Fluffy and Less-Sweet Lemon Frosting

Ingredients in Lemon Cake

Here are the ingredients required for the signature, gentle and fluffy Lemon Cake Layers! The Vanilla Cake publish on which this batter is based already has additional detail about a number of the ingredients, which I gained’t repeat in complete right here.

  • Lemon zest and juice – Powers the lemon flavour! most of the lemon flavour comes from the zest, even as the tartness comes from the juice.
  • Natural lemon extract (oil), optionally available – made from lemons, this is a concentrated oil that offers this cake a little extra lemon flavour leg-up. regardless of how a good deal fresh lemon you put in a cake batter, I discover you may in no way achieve the quite equal flavour depth you could with only a a small quantity of lemon extract (we just use 1/four teaspoon).
    It comes in little bottles like meals colouring, found within the equal baking section of stores. however, if you don’t want to get a bottle especially for this cake, I do get that. So just skip it – I promise this cake nonetheless has sufficient lemon flavour!
  • Flour – simply simple/all-purpose flour works higher here than cake flour. but, if you can most effective get cake flour, that works simply fine. The most effective difference is that the cake surface will become a chunk tacky day after today (no longer definitely a big deal in this frosted cake);
  • Sugar – Superfine / caster sugar is great as it dissolves greater easily. however everyday granulated white sugar is best too. Please do no longer attempt to alternative with brown sugar or any sugar substitutes;
  • Butter – Unsalted, the default for baking;
  • Eggs – more energizing is better, and at room temperature. fresh eggs fluff higher, and room temperature eggs fluff faster than refrigerator-cold eggs. in case you don’t recognise how, right here’s how to check how sparkling your eggs are;
  • Milk, full-fat – simply plain vintage cow’s milk! Low-fats does work too but rises marginally less. Do no longer replacement with non-dairy milk or buttermilk;
  • Baking powder – For lifting energy. in case you don’t use yours frequently, make sure sure it’s nevertheless accurate. Inactive baking powder is a common hidden wrongdoer of cake fails;
  • Vanilla – For its stunning flavour which enhances the lemon so properly;
  • Salt – just a little brings out the flavours of the whole lot else inside the cake; and
  • Oil – For a touch of extra moisture however extra importantly, it maintains the cake sparkling for five days. Any impartial oil works best here – vegetable, canola, peanut etc.

How to make Lemon Cake

The batter for this cake is primarily based on my Vanilla Cake. There, I’ve already furnished comprehensive method steps as well as the “why” within the approach. in place of repeating it all, I’ll attention on the essentials relevant to this specific cake.

  1. Beat eggs and sugar for 7 minutes until tripled in volume. This is the secret to the beautifully light, plush texture of the cake!
  1. Add dry ingredients – Whisk the dry cake ingredients in a bowl (ie. flour, baking powder, salt). Add the dry Ingredients in 3 batches to whipped egg mix, mixing on Speed 1 for 5 seconds after each addition. Stop as soon as most of the flour is mixed in.
  1. Hot milk mixture – Whisk hot milk, melted butter, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon oil in your now-empty flour bowl. You will see little lumps which is the zest.Lighten the hot milk mixture – Add some of the egg batter into the hot milk mixture. The purpose of this step is to lighten the hot milk mixture before combining it with the batter so it is incorporated more easily. The batter is beautifully aerated and this technique thus helps preserve all those air bubbles we created in Step 1.
  1. Mix on low speed until just-combined. We don’t want to knock out all those air bubbles we created, remember!
  1. Cake pans – Divide the batter between the cake pans, then smooth the surface.Bake for 23 minutes. If they don’t all fit on one shelf, put 2 on the middle shelf and one on the shelf below. Take the top 2 from the oven at 23 minutes, then move the bottom one up a shelf and bake for a further 2 minutes.Let the cakes stand for a few minutes in the pan then cool upside down on a rack. Why upside down? Because the weight will will flatten out any slight doming on the upper surface so there’s no need to trim to make the cakes level.

You’ll know straight away when you touch the cake that it’s a very special cake because you can feel how plush and velvety it is even on the surface.

Be sure to let it cool fully before frosting, otherwise it will melt your frosting!

How to make my secret Less-Sweet Fluffy Lemon Frosting

Ah, that magic fluffy frosting that’s 100% smooth but no longer cloying and overly-sweet like buttercream! This frosting makes use of a flour-primarily based roux as the thickener that’s whipped up with icing sugar / powdered sugar and butter.

It’s won a bit of a cult following for proper reason. For this cake, we’re making a lemon-flavoured model of the recipe.

Lemon Frosting Ingredients

All you want is butter, milk, sugar, salt, lemon and … flour. “Flour??”, I listen you cry. yes. that’s what thickens this into a frosting texture and offers it its trademark light and fluffy mouthfeel. It’s a vintage frosting method from the days before cream cheese frosting become ever a thing. The real name is “Ermine Frosting” or “Boiled Milk Frosting” – examine greater about it here within the unique recipe.

I promise you will no longer discover even the faintest bit of flour as soon as completed – now not in texture and really not taste.

How to make this Magic Fluffy Lemon Frosting

First, we make the roux. It’s similar to how we begin creamy-sauce savoury ingredients like Mac and Cheese, best it’s sweet and we take it a great deal further until it’s very thick.

1. Thickening Roux for Frosting

  • Milk, sugar, flour – Stir the sugar and flour in a dry saucepan over medium heat – this just toasts the sugar lightly to bring out a few flavour. Then slowly pour the nice and cozy milk in as you whisk (this avoids lumps).
    prepare dinner over medium warmth till it thickens in a thick, dolloping-texture custard. The variety of thickness possible is honestly quite vast – I’ve made it manner thicker and it nevertheless worked perfectly. In fact, the frosting holds its structure longer, and it pipes with sharper, extra defined edges even though it is simply as fluffy. simply don’t take it off whilst it’s nevertheless watery.
    Scrape roux into a bowl.
    cover roux with hang wrap, urgent onto the surface to prevent a pores and skin from forming (or use paper in case you’re plastic-conscious). Now, and very importantly, allow to fully cool in any other case it’ll melt the butter. It will become like a thick, pasty, thoroughly unappetising jelly. At this stage you could start doubting me. have confidence and keep in mind that is a real, age-old frosting technique – I did now not just wake up the day before today and make it up!
  • Cooling the roux / making in advance – I normally cool on the counter for 20 mins then refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to hurry matters up. Don’t permit it get fridge-bloodless due to the fact in any other case it gained’t blend together nicely with the room temp butter (due to the fact the temperatures are too exceptional). you may additionally depart it overnight in the refrigerator however take it out about 1 hour previous to de-chill it and convey to room temperature.

Now, we whip it up like every other frosting.

2. Whip Frosting

  • Beat butter until creamy – just for a few minutes. We don’t want it to become aerated because we can be whipping the mixed mixture such as you do whipped cream. At that level it’s going to fluff up extra.
    add dollops of the roux in, beating as you cross. Take 1 minute or so to feature all of the roux in batches, this can ensure your frosting stays clean.
  • Beat, beat, beat – add the lemon zest, juice and a pinch of salt, then beat for another 2 to 3 mins, similar to you’re whipping up a huge bowl of cream. simplest beat till it’s were given a whipped cream consistency. once it does, forestall beating. Do not beat greater than 4 mins due to the fact this will activate the starch within the flour and make the frosting undesirably sticky.

Voila! Your Fluffy Lemon Frosting is accomplished, equipped to apply!

Decorating the Lemon Cake

This Lemon Frosting behaves just like buttercream. so you can spread it or pipe it into stunning swirls, even into sky-high mounds on Cupcakes if you wanted to!

within the cakes shown on this publish and the recipe video, I’ve saved it quite simple:

  • Lemon slices and clean plant life – As proven within the pix above, I simply completed the cake with a clean frosting on the floor then adorned it with lemon slices and suitable for eating plants. (Planting my own fit for human consumption plants is one of the pleasant things I’ve ever put in my garden! if you’ve ever notion approximately planting your very own, do it! they may be completely low upkeep and are still thriving 9 months after planting.)
  • Lemon quarters and decorative piping – inside the cake I make in the recipe video underneath, you’ll see that I just use leftover frosting to pipe decorative blobs around the edge of the cake, then tuck a quartered slice of lemon subsequent to the blobs. (I’m certain there’s a right word for the blobs, it simply eludes me proper now

Stays 100% fresh for 4 days

One very unique characteristic of this cake batter is that the crumb stays 100% perfectly fresh for 4 days, and is still excellent after even 7. That’s basically unheard of in the cake world! See the video and photo demos in the Vanilla Cake recipe.

Because this Lemon Cake has milk and butter in the frosting, it is best to store it in the fridge. But as with any cake, it must be brought to room temperature before eating. Nobody wants to eat cold, firm frosting! It must be creamy, fluffy and melt-on-the-mouth!!!

Lemon Cake with Fluffy and Less-Sweet Lemon Frosting

Lemon Cake with Fluffy and Less-Sweet Lemon Frosting

That is the Lemon Cake you make while you want to electrify cake layers based totally on my signature Blueberry CupCakes with Lemon Frosting recipe that readers round the arena have fallen in love with, with a magic fluffy no longer-too-candy lemon frosting. The bonus right here is that this cake remains flawlessly clean for 4 entire days.
prep time
20 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
50 mins



  • 2 cups plain / all purpose flour (cake flour OK too, Note 1)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (check it's still active, Note 2)1/4 tsp salt

  • 4 large eggs (50 – 55g / 2 oz each), at room temp (Note 3)

  • 1 1/2 cups caster / superfine sugar (granulated/regular ok too, Note 2)

  • 115g / 1/2 cup unsalted butter , cut into 1.5cm / 1/2” cubes (or so)

  • 1 cup milk , full fat (Note 5)

  • 3 tsp vanilla extract , the best you can afford (Note 6)

  • 3 tsp vegetable or canola oil (Note 7)3 tbsp lemon zest

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp natural lemon extract (lemon oil)


  • 6 1/2 tbsp flour, plain/all purpose

  • 1 1/3 cups milk (full fat best)

  • 300g / 1 1/3 cups unsalted butter , softened

  • 3 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to one hundred eighty°C/350°F (one hundred sixty°C fan) for 20 minutes earlier than beginning the batter (word nine). place shelf inside the middle of the oven.
Cake pans: Grease three x 20cm / eight” cake pans with butter, then line with parchment / baking paper. (note 10 more pan sizes) exceptional to apply cake pan with out loose base, if you can.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Beat eggs for 30 seconds on speed 6 of a Stand Mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or hand beater.
With the beater still going, pour the sugar in over forty five seconds. Then beat for 7 mins on velocity 8, or till tripled in quantity and white.
Warmth Milk-Butter: while egg is beating, place butter and milk in a heatproof jug and microwave 2 mins on high to melt butter (or use stove). Do no longer allow milk bubble and boil (foam is good enough). in case you do this beforehand, cover and maintain hot whilst beating eggs.
lightly add flour: while the egg is whipped, scatter 1/three flour across surface, then beat on speed 1 for 5 seconds. add 1/2 last flour, then blend on speed 1 for five sec. add last flour, then blend on pace 1 for 5 – 10 sec until the flour is just jumbled together. as soon as you may’t see flour, stop straight away.
Lighten hot milk with a few Egg Batter: Pour hot milk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and oil into the now empty flour bowl. add about 1 1/2 cups (2 ladles or so) of the Egg Batter into the Milk-Butter (don't want to be 100% correct with quantity). Use a whisk to mix until clean – you can be vigorous here. Will appearance foamy.
Slowly add milk: turn beater returned on speed 1 then pour the Milk mixture into the Egg Batter over 15 seconds, then flip beater off.
Scrape and final blend: Scrape down sides and base of bowl. Beat on pace 1 for 10 seconds – batter have to now be smooth and pourable.
Pour batter into pans.
Knock out bubbles: Bang each cake pan at the counter three instances to knock out huge bubbles (be aware 10 for why)
Bake 23 mins or till golden and toothpick inserted into centre comes out smooth.
Put off from oven. Cool in cake pans for 15 minutes, then lightly flip out onto cooling racks. If using as layer desserts, cool the wrong way up – slight dome will flatten perfectly. stage cake = neat layers.
Frost with supplied Lemon Frosting, or Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from this Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake recipe.
Thickening roux: place flour and sugar in a huge saucepan over medium heat. prepare dinner, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds. add milk: whilst whisking continuously, slowly pour the milk in (this make certain it's lump unfastened). as the milk gets hotter, it's going to start to thicken – stir continuously so the bottom would not trap. Thicken roux: cook dinner till the aggregate thickens in a thick, dolloping custard – see video for texture. (be aware 13 tip) Cool: put off from heat and scrape into a bowl. cover with hold wrap, pressing down onto the floor to prevent a pores and skin from forming. Cool completely (20 min counter then 30 min fridge), however do not permit it get refrigerator cold. (be aware 14) it'll company into a totally thick paste. FROSTING – cream butter: Beat butter with either a handheld beater or stand mixer (with whisk attachment) for 3 mins until it is easy and changes from yellow to very pale yellow, nearly white. FROSTING – add roux: at the same time as beating on velocity five, add the roux one heaped tablespoon at a time. Take about 1 minute to add all of it. once all added, add lemon zest and juice, then whip for two mins till you can see that it is stiff sufficient to hold peaks liek whipped cream. Do now not whip greater than four to five mins (this could set off starch and make it sticky).


1. Cake flour works just fine with this recipe, but butter and vanilla flavour, and crumb is ever so slightly better using plain / all purpose flour. Also, cake flour makes the cake surface sweaty and sticky the next day. 2. Caster / superfine sugar are finer grains than regular / granulated sugar so it dissolves when whipped with the eggs. Granulated / regular sugar sometimes doesn’t fully dissolve which doesn’t affect the cake rise or texture but can leave some very brown sugar specks on the surface / sides. Not a big deal – just visual if serving undecorated. 3. Eggs – important to be at room temp as they fluff better when whipped which is key to the fluffy texture of this cake. Also, fresher eggs aerate better = better rise. Old eggs don’t fluff as well. Quick way to warm up fridge cold eggs – place in a large bowl, cover with warm tap water (just warm, not hot), leave for 5 minutes. Wipe dry (to avoid residual water dripping into bowl), then use per recipe. Large eggs – 50 – 55g / 2 oz per egg this is the industry standard of egg sizes sold as “large eggs” in Australia and the US. If your eggs are significantly larger or smaller in size, just weigh your eggs and use 200 – 220g / 8 oz in total (including shell) or 180 – 200g / 7.3 oz in total excluding shell (this is useful if you need to use a partial egg to make up the total required weight. Just crack eggs, whisk THEN pour into a bowl to measure out what you need). 4. Baking powder – dead baking powder is a common problem with cake fails, even if not past the expiry date. Here’s how to check yours is still good. Baking soda (bi-carb) won’t make the cake rise quite as well. If you have no choice, then use 3/4 teaspoons of baking soda. 5. Milk – if you sub with lower fat milk then the texture of the crumb becomes a little less tender. Do not substitute with non-dairy milk, such as soy or almond milk. 6. Vanilla come in all sorts of qualities. I use Vanilla Extract. Better quality (more expensive) = better flavour, but I think vanilla bean paste is wasted in cakes. 7. Oil – just 3 teaspoons makes a noticeable difference to the tenderness of the crumb AND keeps the crumb moist for days. 8. Natural lemon extract – To give the lemon flavour a slight boost! Comes in small bottles like food colouring. Not essential, but does drive home that lemon flavour in a way you can’t achieve using just juice and zest (unless you use way more which compromises cake rise). 9. Oven preheating – 30 minutes preheat is recommended to ensure no loss of heat when the oven door is opened. Never use the rapid heat function on your oven for baking, no matter how fancy your oven is! 10. Cake pans: Type – The batter is quite thin so to ensure no leakage, do not use a cake pan with a loose base. Springform is ok but use butter to firmly fill the gap and for extra insurance, try to cut the paper for the base slightly larger so it goes slightly up the wall. Don’t have 3 cake pans? Fill one 20cm/8″ cake pan with 2/3 of the mixture (bake 32 min) and the other with 1/3 (bake 23 min). Split the larger one in half once cool. Baking on different shelves – If they don’t all fit, put 2 on the middle shelf and one on shelf below. Take out top 2 at 23 minutes, then move bottom one up and bake for further 2 minutes. Cake pan sizes – click here for a useful table of different cake pan sizes, cake height and bake times. 11. Knock out big bubbles by banging pan on counter that causes irregular holes inside crumb and unsightly bubble brown spots on the surface. Does not burst the tiny bubbles that make the cake rise – they are too small to bang out! 12. Cake sweetness note – sweeter than Asian cakes, less sweet than typical Western butter cakes. Please do not reduce sugar – 1 1/2 cups is minimum required to make the eggs foamy enough to rise. 13. Roux thickness – Thicker texture = thicker frosting texture but won’t make the frosting dense, it’s still fluffy and spreadable but it just makes it “sturdier” with sharper edges when piped. 14. Cooling roux down – Roux needs to be at room temp (17 – 20°C /63-68°F in order to incorporate with the butter. If too hot, will melt butter. If too cold, won’t blend in with butter. You can leave in fridge overnight but take it out 1 hour prior to using (to dechill – otherwise it won’t mix well with softened butter). 14. Different measures in different countries – tablespoon and cup sizes differ slightly from country to country. In most recipes, the difference is not enough to affect the outcome of the recipe, but for baking recipes, you do need to be careful. This cake recipe has been specifically tested using both US and Australian cups (the two countries with the greatest size variance) and the cakes were exactly the same. So you can have confidence that this recipe can be used no matter which country you are in – only exception is Japan (cup sizes are considerably smaller (200ml) so please use weights provided). For absolutely certainty, opt to use the weights provided (click Metric toggle button above ingredients). Professional kitchens only use weights. 15. Storage – if not frosting immediately once cooled, cover surface with baking paper (surface gets tacky), then wrap in cling wrap immediately then place in an airtight container. Do not leave it sitting around for hours once cooled, cakes go stale quite quickly. Leave out rather than in fridge, unless it’s super hot where you live. Keeps in freezer for 3 months. Frosted or wrapped unfrosted cake keeps perfectly for 4 days (practically like freshly made). Still good on Day 7 but a bit less moist. Once frosted, store in fridge – will keep for 4 to 7 days per above – and bring to room temperature before serving. Nobody likes cold stiff frosting – we want it creamy! 16. Nutrition per slice, assuming 12 servings, cake and frosting. Eat salad tomorrow.
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