Sunday, June 24, 2018

Luscious lemon cake

If you are a fan of lemon flavored desserts, then this luscious lemon cake is definitely for you! With a tangy and moist cake base, this cake is topped with a smooth and fluffy lemon cream cheese frosting!
My husband's birthday was quickly approaching, and I asked him to pick out a dessert that I could bake for his special day. Not surprisingly, he chose a peanut butter pie.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for him), I don't like peanut butter. The taste and texture just don't appeal to me, so I generally stay away from the stuff. Him on the other hand? He can't get enough of it.
Since I knew that I would not be partaking in the peanut butter pie for his birthday dessert, I decided to make myself a cake that I could eat instead. Because we all know, that it's always all about me. Right?
Addie and I went to the library one day and happened to see that it they were holding a fundraiser for a book sale. She and I rummaged through the shelves and I came across a Cooking Light cookbook from 2003. The cover appealed to me since it was a slice of pie (turns out it was a peanut butter pie, dang it).

As I went through all the recipes, this luscious lemon cake stood out to me. And I decided that lemon would be a wonderful cake flavor to make for my husband's birthday cake.
I actually baked this the week before his birthday so he got to celebrate 7 days in advance. We had plenty of leftover lemonade concentrate from the cake so I made some lemonade and threw in some fresh strawberry slices. It made for a fun, refreshing drink on such a hot and muggy weekend.

This cake was everything I wanted it to be. It was light, fluffy, and full of lemon flavor from the concentrate and the juice and zest in both the cake and the frosting. I gave some away to a skating friend and was told that it was "the bomb."
Happy birthday to my dear husband!

Luscious lemon cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoons lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 and 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
Frosting
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (1 package) less fat cream cheese
  • 3 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease or line two 8" round cake pans and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. add the lemon zest and lemon concentrate and mix well. Add the eggs and egg whites one at a time and mix until fully incorporated. 

Alternatively add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Evenly distribute the batter between your two prepared baking pans. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly. Allow the cakes to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter, lemon zest, lemon concentrate, vanilla, and cream cheese together on medium high speed in the bowl of a clean stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or you can do this in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer). Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix well until fully incorporated. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

To assemble the cake, place one layer ("flat side" down) on a cake stand or plate. Add about 1/2 cup of frosting on top and smooth with a spatula. Add the second layer on top, "flat side up" and frost with the remaining frosting on the top and all over the sides. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container, covered, in the refrigerator and will last for several days.

Yield: One 8" cake; about 10-12 servings

Source: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003

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