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closeup of lemon cake slice on a white plate

Lemon Velvet Cake

Moist and velvety lemon cake with homemade lemon curd, lemon cream cheese frosting, and a lemon juice ganache drip!
5 from 94 votes
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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 520kcal

Ingredients

Lemon Cake Ingredients

  • 13 ounces (368 g) Cake flour
  • 13 ounces (369 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 2 teaspoon (2 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 8 ounces (227 g) unsalted butter Softened but not melted
  • 10 ounces (284 g) buttermilk Or regular milk with 1 Tbsp white vinegar added
  • 3 ounces (85 g) vegetable oil Or canola oil
  • 3 Large (3 Large) Eggs 1 large egg weighs about 1.67oz
  • 1 Tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) Lemon Zest About one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) Lemon Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (2 Tablespoons) Lemon Juice Fresh or bottled is ok

Lemon Curd

  • 8 ounces (227 g) Lemon Juice Fresh or bottled is ok
  • 1 Tablespoon (1 Tablespoon) Lemon Zest About one lemon
  • 6 ounces (170 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 5 large (5 ) Egg Yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 4 ounces (113 g) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces (453 g) cream cheese softened
  • 8 ounces (227 g) Unsalted Butter Softened but not melted
  • 36 ounces (1020 g) Powdered Sugar sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) salt

Lemon Juice Ganache

  • 1 ounce lemon juice + 1 Tablespoon
  • 6 ounces white chocolate I use Ghirardelli candy melts
  • 1 drop white food coloring optional
  • 2 drops yellow food coloring optional, I use Americolor lemon yellow gel color

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer

Instructions

Lemon Cake Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 335º F/168º C
    Prepare three, 6"x2" or two, 8"x2" cake pans with cake goop or another pan release. For square pans or cakes over 12", I also use parchment paper.
  • Combine the 4oz of buttermilk with the oil and set aside.
  • To the remaining 6oz of buttermilk, add your eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract, and lemon juice. Whisk lightly to break up the eggs and set aside.
  • Place cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached.
  • Turn the mixer onto the lowest speed. Add in your softened butter in small chunks mix until the flour mixture resembles coarse sand.
  • Add your oil/milk mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and mix on medium (speed 2 on a bosch, speed 4 on KitchenAid) for 2 full minutes to develop the cake's structure.
  • Scrape the bowl. This is an important step. If you skip it, you will have hard lumps of flour and unmixed ingredients in your batter. If you do it later, they will not mix in fully.
  • Slowly add in the milk/egg mixture in 3 parts, letting the batter mix for 10 seconds between additions. Stop to scrape the bowl once more halfway through.
    Your batter should be thick and not separated. If it is separated, some of your ingredients could have been too cold or you added your liquids too quickly.
  • Fill your cake pans 3/4 full with cake batter. Give the pan a little tap on each side to level out the batter and get rid of any air bubbles. You can also weigh your cake pans to ensure that each pan has the same amount of cake batter.
  • Bake at 335º F/168º C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center of the cake and the top of the cake bounces back when you touch it.
  • After cakes have cooled for 15 minutes or the pans are cool enough to touch, flip the cakes over onto a cooling rack and let cool until barely warm. Wrap your cakes in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator before frosting so they are easier to handle. You can also put them in the freezer if you are in a hurry for them to cool down.
  • Once the cakes are chilled you can now trim, fill, and decorate your cake as you wish.

Lemon Curd Instructions

  • Zest the lemons, then slice them in half and juice them into a measuring cup. Use a small colander or a lemon juicer to keep out any seeds.
  • Place the egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine and set aside. (You will be adding more to this later, so make sure it's a large enough bowl.)
  • Add your lemon juice, granulated sugar, and lemon zest to a large, shallow sauté pan.
  • Stir constantly with a whisk and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • When it has reached a simmer, scoop about 1 cup of the lemon juice mixture and slowly add it into the egg yolk mixture while whisking.
  • Add the tempered egg mixture back into the lemon mixture while whisking constantly. Keep an eye on it and keep whisking, if you walk away for even a minute, the eggs can curdle.
  • Whisk constantly and cook over medium heat until desired thickness. I cook mine for about 2 minutes because I like thick lemon curd. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the lemon curd.
    Removing the curd at 170ºF (76ºC)will yield a thinner consistency while removing at 180ºF (82ºC) will be thicker.
  • Add your butter in chunks to the lemon curd and whisk until the buter is melted and combined. Remove the lemon curd from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  • Pour the finished lemon curd into a heat-proof jar or bowl. Cover the curd with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the curd.  Store it in the fridge for up to one week or freeze it for up to a year.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Place softened butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with whisk attachment and cream on low until smooth. Or you can use a hand mixer!
  • Place softened cream cheese in the bowl with butter in small chunks and blend on low until smooth and combined
  • Add in sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time until combined
  • Add your lemon extract and salt and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix or your frosting will separate and get watery.

Lemon Ganache

  • Microwave your chocolate for 1 minute and lemon juice for 30-seconds. (Or place on a double boiler.) Pour the lemon juice over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add a drop of yellow food coloring and white food coloring and whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool to 90ºF before you use it or it might run down the sides of the cake too much. Make sure your cake is chilled as well before dripping.

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. Weigh your ingredients to avoid cake failure. Using a kitchen scale for baking is super easy and gives you the best results every single time. 
  2. Make sure all your cold ingredients are room temperature or slightly warm (butter, milk, eggs, to create a cohesive batter. Curdled batter causes cakes to collapse.
  3. No buttermilk? You can make your own buttermilk 
  4. Do not fall for the “just add cornstarch to regular flour” trick. It does not work for this recipe. Your cake will look and taste like cornbread. If you can’t find cake flour, use pastry flour which isn’t quite as soft as cake flour but it’s better than all-purpose flour. 
  5. If you’re in the UK search for Shipton mills cake and pastry flour. If you’re in another part of the country, search for low protein (about 9%) cake flour.
  6. Need more help with making your first cake? Check out my how to decorate your first cake blog post. 
  7. Make your own pan release (cake goop!) The best pan release ever! 
  8. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 520kcal (26%) | Carbohydrates: 57g (19%) | Protein: 4g (8%) | Fat: 32g (49%) | Saturated Fat: 21g (105%) | Cholesterol: 95mg (32%) | Sodium: 189mg (8%) | Potassium: 97mg (3%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 45g (50%) | Vitamin A: 920IU (18%) | Vitamin C: 4mg (5%) | Calcium: 45mg (5%) | Iron: 0.4mg (2%)