A Very Nice Lemon Layer Cake with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting. Because life gives you lemons sometimes, you know...

If I had started baking cakes 20 years back, I would have had a bigger eating audience. I could have filled some tummies with love... those faces which I have no idea when I would see next or wouldn't see any more.

I have fond memories of food from my childhood. My mother used to bake plain cakes in a conventional round baking oven that used to appear in the kitchen only when needed. It had a glass top and I would peek inside every 10 minutes to see if the cake is ready. There has not been a single time that I have not remembered this scene today when I bake. The picture of me in our kitchen in Kerala, peeking inside that oven comes back to me like a movie poster each time I mix my cake batter. Food has a way of transporting us back to the past.

Good thing about baking is that there is some magic in it that makes me feel it is not work. That said, I am not a professional baker nor do I have a steady hand. I keep sugar levels just right so that cakes are not too sweet. So maybe you will have to tweak my measurements for kids. And this cake is heavenly because the base is from Nigella Lawson. I have doubled her lemon syrup cake recipe for the layers. The cream cheese frosting recipe is from somewhere on the internet from 10 years ago. I changed it a bit to make it lemony in flavour, so essentially it is my recipe.


So, when you bite into this cake, the fantastic salt-sweet paradox is an out of this world combination.

RECIPE (Source: partly Nigella Lawson and partly some place in this World Wide Web with plenty tweaks from me)

Ingredients for the Cake:

Unsalted Butter, softened - 1 Cup
Caster Sugar - 1 Cup
Large Eggs - 4
Zest of 2 Lemons
Self Raising Flour - 2 Cups and 2 Tablespoons
2 Pinches of Salt
Full Fat Milk - 8 Tablespoons

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Prepare 2 round cake pans which measures 8 inches by greasing them well with butter and dusting them with flour.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about a  minute. Scrape down the sides.
Add the eggs and lemon zest. Beat them in well.
Now start adding the flour, little at a time and FOLD it in (I do not run the stand mixer for this. I use a spatula to cut and fold the flour in).
Once all the flour is incorporated, add the salt. Fold well.
Now add the milk, little at a time, till the batter is of a pouring consistency. You may not need all of the milk, the rule is to see if the batter is of a thick but pouring consistency and after adding 5 tablespoons of milk, watch and add the rest. You may not need all of the 8 tablespoons.
Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake in the pre heated oven for 45 minutes or till a cake tester comes out clean.
Once done, take out from the oven and keep on a wire rack till the cakes are completely cool.



Now proceed to make the frosting.

Ingredients for the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cream Cheese - 8 Ounces
Unsalted Butter, softened - 8 Tablespoons
Caster Sugar that has been powdered and no lumps - 1 and a 1/2 Cups (this is just a guideline, you have to add sugar according to how sweet you would want it to be. So add a cup first, check and if it is not up to your sweetness levels, continue adding to 2 cups. I like my cakes and frosting a little less sweet)
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice - 2 Tablespoons
Freshly Grated Lemon Zest - 1 Tablespoon
Salt - 1/4 Teaspoon
Lemon Essence - 1/2 Teaspoon (optional)
Vanilla Essence - 1/2 Teaspoon
A little lemon zest to sprinkle on top

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cheese and butter till they are smooth and no lumps remain.
Reduce speed and add sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, zest, lemon essence (if adding), vanilla essence and salt.
Once it is all incorporated, check the frosting. Please note that the level of sweetness is according to your taste.
The remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice can be added if the frosting needs to be thinned down.

Once the cakes are cool, invert them.
The cake will have slight peaks on top, so level them by cutting the top with a serrated knife.
Place one cake on a cake stand. Spread the frosting on top. Keep the second cake on top of the frosting and frost the top again.
Frost the sides and level all the frosting with a spatula.
If you can do flowers or designs with a pipe on the top of the cake, great!
I can't, so I just used a knife to do the pattern and also to hide my frosting flaws.
Sprinkle the remaining lemon zest on top.
I further decorated the top with golden sugar buttons that I got from Tesco.

Note: Adding lemon essence to the frosting is optional. I have found that adding it makes the frosting taste a lot lemony. You can omit the lemon essence and just do with the zest. Rule of the thumb is to always, always, always let your tongue and taste sense be your guide. So taste and see the frosting. If you feel you need a bit more lemon flavour, add the essence. 



"The dream is to have it all. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? Live this life, that life, this life, you know? You live only one time - I want to get it all in."

Paul Walker

Lots of love and happiness!


Comments

Raushan Gupta said…
Wow!!!! what a lovely cake, Sangeeta. I am so glad to see such a delectable cake. I will definitely give it a try. Thanks a lot for sharing such a scrumptious dessert recipe with us.

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