Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Lemon layer cake
This cake is steeped in history. Years before I ever came along it was the Easter dessert
cake. When I finally did arrive I shocked a nation (exaggerating) by developing my
palate for lemon before I was 4 years old. That year I was asked what kind of cake i
wanted for my birthday to which I replied "Lemon". My mother responded with the
inquiry "Do you mean the Easter cake?" I told her "Yes!" She was shocked that I had
remembered the very cake we had enjoyed almost a year earlier. "The lemon cake is
the Easter dessert cake. Are you sure you do not want chocolate or vanilla?" I recall in
memory my eyes welling with tears and asking again for "Lemon please". I got my
wish and the following year when I asked for lemon cake again, I was asked to help
make it. I had lemon cake with lemon buttercream every year for my birthday until I
went to college


For the Lemon curd filling
12 egg yolks, at room temperature
3 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

For the cake
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups
Self rising flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

For the lemon buttercream
1 cup butter, at room temperature
8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the lemon curd
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, zest, lemon juice, extract, and
sugar, until thoroughly combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly over
medium heat. Cook about 20 minutes until thick and bubbly

Remove from the heat and add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring to incorporate.
Place in the refrigerator overnight until firm

For the cake
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour three 9 inch round cake
pans, then line the bottoms with parchment

In a large bowl, on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a
time. Combine the flours in a large bowl and add in 4 parts, alternating with the milk,
lemon juice, and zest, beating well after each addition

Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes,
spinning and reversing pans halfway through, or until a cake tester inserted into the
center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from
pans and cool completely on a wire rack

When the cake has thoroughly cooled, spread the icing or curd evenly between layers
and over top of cake using an off-set spatula

For the lemon buttercream
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar, the juice, and the
zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a
time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If desired, add a
few drops of yellow food coloring and mix thoroughly. Use and store at room