Last week my landlord requested a birthday cake for her soon-to-be 3 year-old son. The piñata was “Cars” themed, so in keeping with this, I headed to the cake shop and found a cute plastic printout of Lightening McQueen (I’d forewarned her that my decorating skills are still a work in progress, so as not to expect extravagant detailing.) Aside from a frosting meltdown, this cake was great. Click title for more!
After hours in pursuit of a lemon cake recipe that would be both moist and sturdy. Martha’s 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake was a perfect match! Reviewers had mentioned that the batter overflowed the recommended 2-8″ pans, so I happily substituted them for 2-10″ with spectacular results. The cakes rose evenly to a height of 1 1/4″ and I was able to slice them in half to make a 4-layered treat very easily. I’d highly recommend this cake recipe to anyone looking to impress. While I’m a fan of Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake, Martha’s is bigger and feeds a crowd.
1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake
2 sticks butter, room temperature Since I like moist cakes, I used 1 3/4c. butter + 2T. oil
3 c. sifted AP flour
1T. baking powder
1t. baking soda
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4c. buttermilk
1 1/2t. vanilla
zest of 2 lemons
1. Preheat oven to 350 and center racks in oven. Butter 2-10″ round cake pans, place a sheet of parchment in the bottoms and lightly flour the pans.
2. Sift dry ingredients together. Sugar is considered a “wet” ingredient here & in most baking recipes.
3. In large bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add sugar and continue beating 3-4 minutes, or until lightened. Drizzle in eggs slowly and beat 5 more minutes. (If you’re using a handheld mixer, your wrists will be aching by now).
4. On low speed, add approximately 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the milk. Repeat and then add the final flour. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
5. Divide evenly among pans and bake 25 minutes, rotate, and bake 10 more minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes in pans, turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely before filling and frosting.
1 1/2 c. fresh strawberry jam
1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries
2 1/2 c. frosting (in my case, it was Lemon 7-Minute Meltdown Frosting…not recommended on warm sunny days!)
- Slice each cake in 1/2 to create 2 rounds. Place wax paper strips along the edges of cake plate and top with 1 cake layer. Pipe a dam of frosting around the edge of the cake to avoid strawberry leakage.
- Top with strawberry jam, strawberries, and thin layer of frosting, in that order (to allow cake to absorb jam).
- Repeat with next 2 layers.
- Crumb coat cake (it is crumbly), allow to dry, and frost and decorate to suit your fancy. Remove wax paper protective barrier and dig in!