Rich and delicious three layer lemon cake with a homemade cream cheese buttercream!
Last year for my birthday, I went to San Francisco and had a picnic at Alamo square. I picked up some pizza and a slice of lemon cake at Susie Cakes and it was probably one of the memorable experiences. Eating pizza, lemon cake, and staring at the painted ladies while watching the sunset? Amazing. It’s the little things.
So, to make a long story short, I fell in love with lemon cake on that SF trip. I told myself that I’d make a moist, rich, delicious, lemony cake as soon as I got home. So here it is…
I’ve tried lemon cakes with lemon curd before and although delicious I prefer it without it. I dislike a lemony cream cheese buttercream so I added a pinch of lemon zest to the buttercream to kill some of the sweetness since buttercream is usually super sweet. Wasn’t really going for a lemony flavor.
This lemon cake is lemony but not over the top. I think it’s lemony flavor and sweetness is absolutely perfect. It’s a fluffy and very moist cake. I enjoyed this with a tall glass of cold milk.
This isn’t just a spring and summer recipe, I enjoy this cake year round.
Can you substitute the buttermilk with regular milk?
I highly suggest using store bought buttermilk for this recipe. It’ll help produce richness and moisture.
Do I refrigerate this cake?
No. Place the cake in an airtight container and enjoy at room temperature.
Can I make cupcakes instead?
Never tried it, but if you decide to make them let me know how they turn out.
Can I use lemon extract instead of fresh lemon juice and zest?
For the best results, please use fresh lemons.
Tips for the best lemon cake…
- Make sure you bake a three-layer cake instead of a two-layer cake.
- Don’t overbake the cake even though it may look undercooked.
- Use plenty of frosting.
Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- juice and zest of 2 lemons
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 and 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
Cream Cheese Buttercream:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp whole milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, sift the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until well incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Distribute the batter amongst 3-8 inch buttered cake pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until fully cooked through.
- Let the cakes cool completely.
- To make the cream cheese buttercream, mix the unsalted butter and cream cheese on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix for an additional 2-3 minutes on high speed or until nice and fluffy.
- Frost the cake and enjoy!