Lemon curd buttercream makes the cake
There’s no shame in reaching for a box of cake mix. Especially when said cake will be adorned with a luscious, delectable homemade frosting.
This cake is a lemon lover’s dream. It combines standard yellow cake with a rich lemon curd buttercream frosting. The frosting is what makes the cake. Sweet, tart, bright, indulgent and velvety, it just melts in your mouth.
Despite calling for a mix, this is not the kind of cake you can make on the spur of the moment. The lemon curd for the buttercream requires several hours of chilling, so be sure to plan ahead. I much prefer the flavor of homemade lemon curd, but I suppose you could use the jarred kind in a pinch. You’d need about 1 1/4 cups.
On the other hand, if you wanted to substitute your favorite from-scratch yellow cake here, it could only make this cake even better.
Yellow Cake With Lemon Curd Buttercream
For the cake:
1 (15- to 16-ounce) box yellow
1 cup water (or amount called for on cake mix package) ⅓ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract For the lemon curd
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest ½ cup fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups PLUS 6 tablespoons butter, softened ¾ cup granulated sugar ½ to 1 cup confectioners’ sugar Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottoms of 2 (8- or 9-inch) cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs and vanilla and whisk by hand or beat on low speed with an electric mixer until moistened. Whisk vigorously for 3 minutes or beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter should be completely smooth. Divide batter between the two pans.
Bake 26 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool cakes in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
For the lemon curd buttercream:
In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth; set aside. In a medium
saucepan, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add the 6 tablespoons butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Whisking constantly, boil for 1 minute.
Whisk about ¼ cup of the hot lemon mixture into the egg yolks. Then, whisking constantly, pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thickened, do not let mixture boil.
Pour curd into a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate 3 hours to 3 days.
To make frosting: In a large bowl, beat the chilled lemon curd, remaining 1 ½ cups softened butter and ½ cup of the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Be patient, this will take several minutes.
To assemble: If necessary, level each layer by removing the dome. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally to create 4 layers. Place one layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread about ½ cup of the lemon curd buttercream over cake.
Top with second layer, spread it with about ½ cup buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Makes 1 (4-layer) cake.