This recipe for Lemon Cake with Strawberry Butter Cream Frosting is the quintessential Spring cake. Lemon cake, moist with buttermilk and flavored with both juice and zest of lemons, frosting studded with fresh strawberries, it’s perfect for Spring celebrations; Easter, May Day, Mother’s Day. Make one today.
When I started baking as a child, I used boxed cake mixes. I’m not exactly certain when I began making scratch cakes, but I never went back to mixes. There is nothing wrong with using cake mixes, and even being creative with changing them to suit your tastes. But I love creating a cake from scratch.
This one I actually made twice. The first time I made it, I was turning the cakes out of the pans and had a disaster. Two of the pans slid off the rack and smashed on the floor.
This ended up being a happy accident, because when I tasted the cake that didn’t smash on the floor, I realized I wanted the cake to be more lemony. I was able to adjust the amount of lemon rind and juice in the second round.
With the lemony cake, the fresh strawberry butter cream frosting is the perfect spring touch. The subtle pink color the strawberries impart, along with the flavor is just the perfect combination.
I’ve talked about the importance of flour before, but for this cake I really do recommend using a soft wheat flour. Most stores outside the south (where our favorite flours White Lily and Martha White are soft wheat flours) sell cake flour. So use a cake flour for this cake.
Why? Cake flour is milled to an ultra-fine consistency. And since it is also normally bleached, a process that alters the starches, this allows the flour to absorb more liquid and rise higher; just what you want for a cake.
I hope you’ll try this delicious cake. Make it for your mother for Mothers’ Day on Sunday!
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest ( about zest from 2 lemons)
- 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 cups cake flour
- 1½ tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 2 cups of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
- 1 cup pureed fresh strawberries
- ⅓-1/2 cup heavy cream
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grease and flour 3 - 9" round cake pans
- In a bowl, combine the vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice and buttermilk and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat on high-speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping the sides of the bowl before adding the next.
- Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated.
- With the mixer set to low-speed, begin alternately adding a bit of the flour mixture, then a bit of the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture until all is mixed in.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl.and beat on high-speed for 30 seconds.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 prepared cake pans.
- Place the pans into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and beat on high-speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the confectioners' sugar and strawberries and beat for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the heavy cream, a little at a time, until you have a creamy consistency. You may not use all of the cream before you reach the desired smoothness.