Friday, June 8, 2012

Lemon Cake with Strawberries and Almond Buttercream

Pin It Now! I have one word for you - Yum.  And summer.  Okay, so two words.  You are going to love today's recipe.  The cake comes from Cooking Light and is moist and fluffy.  The lemon flavor is not overdone, which makes for a great springtime or summertime dessert.

I wanted to spruce up the cake a bit, so I filled it with a layer of lemon curd and fresh strawberry slices.  Lemon and strawberries are the perfect combination.  Like chocolate and peanut butter.  Like strawberries and chocolate.  Like - well, you get the idea.  They're a match made in dessert heaven.

The grande finale in this whole story is a light and decadent almond buttercream frosting.  Are you familiar with almond extract?  It is wonderfully fragrant.  Try it in your next recipe in place of vanilla.  My mom makes these amazing almond shortbread cookies at Christmastime and when they are warm from the oven and rolled in powdered sugar they are melt-in-your mouth delicious.  I just may have to make a batch so you can see the deliciousness. 

Anyway, back to the cake...  Head's up - when it comes to the lemon curd filling, make sure to leave a bit of room on the edges.  I spread lemon curd all the way to the edge of the cake and it started to ooze out a bit after I put the second layer of cake on top.

Lemon Cake
2 c AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (that seemed like a lot to me, so I did 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 c nonfat buttermilk
zest of one lemon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Lemon curd (you'll need a bit less than a jar)
Fresh strawberries (a handful, just depends on the size of them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans: butter pans, line with parchment paper, butter and flour parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Finally, mix in lemon zest and juice.  Divide batter among prepared pans.  Bake approx 30 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pans for five minutes, then invert onto baking racks and remove parchment to cool completely before filling/frosting.

Almond Buttercream
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp pure almond extract
zest of one lemon

In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly mix in powdered sugar, mixing well.  Add in almond extract and lemon zest and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Make sure you lick the paddle attachment.  It's what all the pros do.



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