Sumptuous Lemon Cake for Spring Birthdays and Brunches

Freshly baked lemon cake is a fabulous dessert anytime of year. But it’s even more perfect for spring and summer birthday parties and brunches, when all your guests are craving light, citrus flavors. Here’s an incredible recipe made even more delicious with lemon cream-cheese buttercream frosting.


1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs at room temperature

2 1/2 cups cake flour (see below)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Zest of 2 lemons

1 1/4 cups milk

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola oil

2 teaspoons real lemon extract

PRO TIP: Don’t have cake flour on hand? Make this easy substitute. For each cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. For this recipe, that would be 2 ½ cups of flour with 5 tablespoons removed and 5 tablespoons cornstarch added. Blend with a whisk.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Whisk to blend.
  3. In another bowl, add the milk, vegetable oil and lemon extract. Whisk to blend.
  4. Beat the softened butter until lightened in color and smooth. Gradually add the sugar, mixing on medium speed with an electric mixer for 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the yolks’ yellow color disappears.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture in alternating parts, starting and ending with the flour. (This makes 3 additions of flour and 2 of milk.) Mix on low to medium speed, taking care not to over blend.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool fully.




2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened

16 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened

2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon extract, optional

Zest of 1 lemon

6 to 6 1/2 cups powdered sugar

PRO TIP: Use full-fat cream cheese for this rich, delicious frosting. Buy it in the foil packaging (not the pre-softened or whipped tubs). Slightly soften cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Both should still be slightly cool when you begin.


  1. Cut butter into 1/2-inch slices and add to the bowl of your mixer. Beat until smooth.
  2. Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, beating until blended.
  3. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Add lemon extract if desired for a more intense lemon flavor.
  4. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Add more sugar if needed to achieve desired consistency.

PRO TIP: This recipe frosts a 3-layer, 8-inch or 9-inch cake. You can make it in advance, refrigerating until ready to use. Let it soften at room temperature and remix. (Do not microwave.) Decorate finished cake with fresh lemon slices, extra lemon zest and gold birthday candles for a perfect touch!


Planning a birthday bash for someone special? Make it memorable with help from the catering services experts at Jerry’s Kitchen. We’ll bring the party to you with our award-winning food truck specialties – or, if you prefer, a classic catered menu with fresh favorites to please all your guests.

To book catering services for your private or corporate birthday party near Doylestown or Philadelphia, get in touch with us now.


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