Prep 2 hrs
Cook 30 mins
Tish Boyle; for mom.
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3⁄4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1⁄4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
- 2⁄3 cup whole milk
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling
- 3⁄4 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup lemon curd (Lemon Curd)
Lemon Soaking Syrup
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup lemon curd (Lemon Curd)
- salt, a pinch
- The cake: position oven rack in center of oven; preheat oven to 350°; grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans; dust pans with flour and tap out excess.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; whisk to combine; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until cream, about 30 seconds.
- Gradually add in sugar; beat at high speed until well blended and light, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down sides of bowl as needed; decrease speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and mixing until blended.
- Beat in the lemon zest and lemon juice until blended.
- Decrease speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the milk in two additions, and mixing just until blended.
- Scraped batter into prepared pans, dividing it evenly, and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
- Bake cakes for 22-25 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges and a pick comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; invert cakes onto the wire racks and let cool completely.
- The filling: in a bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream at high speed until firm peaks form; transfer the whipped cream to a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
- In the same mixer bowl (no need to wash it), using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until very creamy, about 2 minutes.
- On low speed, beat in the vanilla extract.
- Add the lemon curd and beat at medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream until almost completely blended.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you make the syrup and buttercream.
- The syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the water, lemon juice, and sugar; bring to a boil over med-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar; remove the pan from the heat and set aside at room temperature.
- The buttercream: in a bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until cream and light, about 2 minutes.
- At medium speed, gradually add the lemon curd, a large spoonful at a time, then add the salt and beat at med-high speed until creamy and light, about 1 ½ minutes; set aside at room temperature while you assemble the cake.
- Assemble cake: using a long serrated knife, trim off the domed tops of the cakes so that they are even; cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers; reserve one of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake.
- Place another layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or flat serving plate; generously brush with some of the lemon syrup.
- Spoon a scant cup of the filling onto the cake and, using a small offset spatula, spread it into an even layer, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge of the cake.
- Top with another cake layer and brush it with more syrup; top with another scant cup of filling.
- Repeat with another layer, more syrup, and remaining filling.
- Brush the cut side of the reserved cake layer with remaining syrup; place the layer cut side down on top of the cake.
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with the buttercream.
- Serve the cake at room temperature; if it has to be refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes before serving.