Ready for some rich, not-to-sweet, mildly lemony but very buttery cake with a lemon curd icing and a creme fraiche filling? Yes? Me too, let’s do this.
This cake is a spin off of my yummy Rustic Orange Vanilla Cake, with a few twists. If you like this cake, you’ll love that one!
For the Cake Batter:
2 cups flour (all purpose)
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1½ cups sugar (I use raw, demerara)
1 cup whole milk
½ Cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of one lemon (or 2 small lemons)
For the Icing and Filling:
1 cup lemon curd
1 cup creme fraiche
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
4 T. sugar
Garnish: Lemon wedges/thyme
Bake that cake!
Ok, so this cake batter is very straightforward to make, basically your very standard cake. I cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and lemon zest and beat. Then I add the milk, sour cream, and flour, and beat. Easy.
Note: I often use Demerara sugar in my baking. It’s raw cane sugar, and not as intensely sweet as white sugar. It also has a larger size grain and gives my baked goods a wonderful, rustic texture that I love, and a caramel coloring. Using white sugar will result in a smoother texture cake, with a lighter color and a bit more sweetness.
I made two 7″ round cakes, and since I wanted for layers (which means plenty of layers for that creme fraich filling!) I had to divide each cake evenly in half.
Now, there is a tool that is made for dividing cakes into perfect layers, but in the absence of one of those specialty tools, I use a long bread knife, and keep it flat and strait by laying it on a cutting board that is about half the height of the cake. Then I just cut through it little by little, rotating the cake around and keeping the knife flat on the cutting board. It works pretty well!
This cake must be completely chilled before cutting or icing. This icing is not at all structured and very “melty”, so if you put it on a warm cake you’ll have a puddly mess on your hands!
The directions for the filling is in the printable recipe at the bottom of this post, but basically it’s just heavy cream, creme fraiche, and sugar beaten together. So simple!
I’m using a lemon curd whipped cream to ice this cake. Again, this cake has to be cold, or this very delicate icing will just melt off.
Dickinson’s lemon curd is good, but a particular favorite of mine is the Bonne Maman Brand. (It just wasn’t available at the store where I was shopping!)
I beat the lemon curd with a whisk to make sure it was very smooth, then carefully folded in the sweet whipped cream. (Directions are in the printable recipe!)
I did put on a crumb coat, but honestly this icing is so soft I don’t think it was really necessary. It did, however, look very elegant as a “naked cake” with just the crumb coat on it, don’t you think?
I ended up putting a thicker layer of icing and just garnishing with some lemon slices and some fresh thyme from the garden. I LOVE how it turned out.
My photography assistants could really hardly wait for me to take the photos, already!
This cake was SO good with cup of hot coffee. It’s not overly sweet, and the filling and icing, while rich, are remarkable light.
I hope you love this cake as much as my boy did! It’s a real winner and though it looks fancy, it easy enough to become a household staple. Enjoy!