Lemonade Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

February 14, 2014

It’s always around this time in Winter that I begin to grow restless.  I long for the Springtime and the warm sun on my face.  Yellow daffodils and tiny buds on tree limbs.  Grilling burgers and drinking beers outside.  Smelling freshly cut grass and savoring perfectly ripe tomatoes from the garden.

Those warm days will come soon enough, of this I am sure.

Lemonade Cake from Simplified Feast 2

While we wait in our wool sweaters and scarves, let’s at least be thankful for and acknowledge the citrus season.  Many types of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are in season right now… just waiting to be baked into layer cakes, loafs, and scones.

Lemonade Cake from Simplified Feast 3

This layer cake batter requires buttermilk and a lovely combination of lemon zest and lemonade concentrate.  I took the original recipe one step further by using a trick I’ve picked up along the way… maximizing the citrus flavor by rubbing the sugar and zest together to release the oils and draw out the natural flavor of the lemon.  The process is pretty therapeutic and makes your kitchen smell heavenly.

Lemonade Cake from Simplified Feast 4

Smeared with healthy layers of simple cream cheese frosting, this cake is a win for the taste bud balancing act.  It also slices so cleanly.  Picture perfect, if I do say so myself.

Lemonade Cake from Simplified Feast 5

Lemonade Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

To print this recipe, click here for the PDF version
Slightly adapted from rachelschultz.com 
Yield:  One 2 Layer Cake


For the Cake:

1 and ⅓ cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon zest

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons lemonade concentrate, thawed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 and ¼ cups buttermilk

Non-stick cooking spray (for cake pans)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting (yields about 3 cups):

12 tablespoons butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


For the Cake:  Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Spray two 9 inch round baking pans with cooking spray and set aside.

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

In a large bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest.  Rub the two together between your fingers until fragrant.  Next, cream butter and sugar mixture with hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add lemon concentrate, vanilla extract, and eggs to bowl and stir until combined.

Working in thirds, alternate mixing in dry ingredients with buttermilk, ending with the dry ingredients.

Divide batter evenly into the two pans.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10-15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on wire racks.  Let cakes cool completely, about 30 minutes, before icing.

For the Frosting:  Cream together butter and cream cheese for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until frosting has no lumps.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.  Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.  Garnish with more lemon zest.



PS:  It snowed here again yesterday, a lot more than two weeks ago.  It was beautiful and quiet.  I made a batch of maple blueberry scones and failed miserably.  I also slipped on our icy back steps and bruised my wrist, ribs, and butt… I feel old.


2 Responses to “Lemonade Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. susiepoosie Says:

    I think this is your best post to date. Very well done – excellent presentation.

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