Magnolia Bakery 24 – Lemon Cake

True to my word, I made some time for me to bake a cake. This happened partially because I had a reason to bake. My boyfriend recently purchased a condo and to celebrate, he asked if I could make him a cake. Specifically, he wanted a lemon cake. The fact that I was able to make a lemon cake for the blog was a happy accident!

Though, I will say that this cake was a BEAST to make in its entirety. But, the difficult part was in the lemon cream used for in between the cake layers. While my goal was to follow the recipe for Lemon Cake with Lemon Meringue Buttercream to a T, it didn’t work out that way. Since the lemon cream filling took so long to cook, I didn’t have enough time to make the meringue frosting. Instead I decided to make a cream cheese buttercream frosting from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Which I think for this cake was the perfect choice.

The idea for this cake started out a couple weeks earlier when my boyfriend and I went were shopping in Aldi and he wanted to buy a cake mix. He purchased a white cake mix and a tub of cream cheese frosting. We decided to take out the lemon curd I had made in December and put it between the cake layers. Frosted with the cream cheese frosting, this combination was stellar!

The cake out of the Magnolia Bakery book was basically the bakery version of this cake!


I do not have many pictures of the cake since I was kind of rushing to finish it all. Friday was a busy day for me! But, let’s break down the process.

Making It

Making and Baking the Cake Layers

The cake itself was quite easy to make. But, the weird thing about this recipe was that I ended up with a lot more batter than necessary. The cake pans were filled really, really high up. I knew they would spill over during the baking process thanks to the more than a tablespoon of baking powder in the recipe. Luckily, I had the foresight and decided to bake the cake pans on cookie sheets. The plus side was this helped getting the cake pans out of the oven.

Sure enough, my thinking was correct. One of the cake pans spilled over by a lot, the other one, not so much. It wasn’t the end of the world, though. It just meant I got to taste the cake before it was completely finished (it was yum!).

I knew that the layers would be split in half to create four layers in total. The baked cake layers were quite tall so they would add great height to the cake once it was fully done. 

Making the Lemon Cream Filling

While the cakes were cooling, I had to make the Lemon Cream Filling. I had high hopes for this cream filling since in the cookbook, Bobbie says it is her “weakness.” The first thing that I noticed about this filling was the amount of butter. Three full sticks! Might as well have it be lemon-flavored butter.

This filling also took an extremely long time to cook on my stove…over an hour! No matter how hard I tried, it took forever to get to the right temperature. It also required another special piece of equipment: the food processor. 

The recipe had you use the food processor to make the proper emulsion of butter into the cooked lemon and egg mixture. My butter was soft and I let the “custard” cool for a little while (as the recipe recommends) before trying to blend the two together, but my food processor still seemed to have some trouble. It was almost like there wasn’t enough lemon mixture at first. It wasn’t until I was adding the final stick of butter that the food processer was really able to do a good job.

The extremely slow-to-cook lemon cream filling.

Making the Frosting

Since the Lemon Cream filling took such a long time to cook, I ran out of time to make the actual frosting that the recipe calls for. No Lemon Meringue Buttercream for me. Not this week! So, I used a cream cheese buttercream recipe. It was flavored with a hint of lemon thanks to the lemon juice I added. It was perfect! The cream cheese helped to cut through the tartness and sweetness of the cake.

Assembling It

This cake recipe was written for there to be four cake layers in total. You divide the batter between two cake pans, bake it, and then ready to build the cake, you slice each layer in half. Four layers total. So, this is what I intended to do. Sadly, my cutting was off and I had to get rid of one layer.

I’m not entirely sure what happened. Most likely my knife starting going in at an an angle because by the time I got to the other side of the cake, I was only skimming a bit off the top. Oh well, you live and learn, right? So, I just leveled the cake off, saved from scraps for snacks and said “Ok, it’ll be a three layer cake!” No one will know — and I was right.

Having only three layers ended up working out perfectly because I would not have had enough lemon cream filling to go in between four layers. So the three layers became a happy accident. And honestly, I probably wouldn’t have had enough buttercream either for four layers.

Following the directions like a good little baker-blogger, I piped a little dam of buttercream to prevent the lemon cream filling from falling out. Though, in hindsight, it probably wasn’t necessary since the filling was pretty thick. I then worked on frosting the sides and the top. I, as usual, used the crumb coat method. But honestly, I think cake frosting is really a “practice makes perfect” skill.

Decorating It

I was excited the try out the new piping tip I purchased just for this cake. It was a Wilton 6B tip. I was really looking for 8B, but my local Walmart didn’t have it. But this 6B worked perfectly. After the cake was frosted, I did a simple decorative border around the edge of the cake using this piping tip. While I was doing it, I felt like the Duchess of Suds of Royalty Soaps (find her on YouTube). She uses piping bags and tips to make “soap frosting” on her products.

At the end of it all, this was the final product.

The boyfriend said it was probably one of the better cakes I’ve made in terms of how it looked. I was happy with how it turned out, too.

Tasting It

Eventually, it came time to taste this creation. Sadly, the cake was a little denser than I was expecting. This could have been caused by the cake still being too cold out of the fridge. Or I could have overbaked it a bit.

Overall, I didn’t mind too much. Everyone who had a slice loved it and everything turned out all right flavor-wise. Though this cake is definitely for the lemon-lovers out there. You know who you are!

Until next time, readers…bake on!

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