Monday, September 2, 2013

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you ever have the days where you feel like doing nothing?  You somehow manage to drag yourself out of bed and get ready for work when it happens to be a weekday.  Its the weekends where its harder though, because sometimes, you have no real plans other than cleaning the house and laying by the pool.  Which at that point why can't you just stay in bed an extra hour.  Isn't your body maybe trying to tell you that you need to rest a little?  That was completely 100% this morning.  When I did finally get up, I realized after making my to do list that I might be trying to be a little to ambitious with my plans for the day, when I could barely pull myself out of bed by 10 o'clock.  I really think I needed the sleep and the break from reality though.  With everything ramping up at work, and trying not to slow down here, sometimes you just have to take a moment or maybe just a morning.  Last week when I wasn't sleeping in though I was getting up early before morning to bake the cake and the following morning to frost the cake...I was just a little to tired when I got home from work to frost the cake.  What can I say, it seems lately there is more baking in the morning because I am down for the count once I hit the sofa to eat dinner.

This cake though turned out truly delicious.  It was Molly's choice for her birthday cake and I am glad she chose it.  I myself would never have probably chosen to make a lemon cake.  It is just not one of those things I am drawn to in a flavor for desserts.  The cake came out light and fluffy with just the right hint of lemon.  The frosting though is what made this cake, creamy and sweet with a bit a tang from the cream cheese and a bright lemon flavor.  This cake is kind of perfect for the summer, so give it a try and enjoy!

Also cheers to the last days of summer...

to the final peaches...

and the last day at the pool...

Then there was cake.

Lemon zest for the cake.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients and then set aside.

Beat together the butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest.

Then add in the eggs one at a time.  I moved to a whisk after the butter was beaten.  I am still getting used to have a mixer, and get nervous about over mixing the cake.

Then alternate between flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, so there should be 3 dry ingredient mixes and 2 buttermilk mixes.  Then pour into the prepared pans and into the oven.

Time for the frosting...

Lemon zest folded in so you will actually see little bits in the frosting.

Then for decoration and so you tell what the cake is, I peeled a lemon and swirled on top.

Lemon Layer Cake: (recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 teaspoon lemon zest
6 ounce 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 1/2 - 4 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1.  Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line the bottoms of three 9 x 1-1/2-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. 

2.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer (or a whisk) on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice and  beat until well combined. Then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. 

4.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to beaten butter mixture, whisking gently after each addition, just until combined. Pour into prepared pans.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. While the cakes are cooling prepare the frosting.

6.  Zest one and 1/2 lemons; then juice them in a separate bowl, set aside. In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, butter, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice; beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed until light and fluffy. 

7.  Gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar until spreading consistency. Stir in the lemon zest.

8. To assemble, place a cake layer on a cake plate. Spread with a large spoonful of frosting or just enough to create a thin layer. Top with second layer; a repeat process with just enough frosting for a thin layer. Top with third layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.  If you have time, start with a thin "crumb layer" and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  (I used this time to clean some of the dishes)  Then remove the cake and finish frosting, I always start with the sides and then move to the top.  Store at room temperature for up to two days, then store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

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