Thursday, 1 November 2012

Halloween Lemon Layer Cake

3 layer lemon cake covered with navy icing and iced with a white spiderweb

So second cake for my contribution to the Friday meeting (why is it that I am seemingly incapable of keeping things simple and just making the one cake?!) was a Primrose Bakery Lemon Layer Cake. I’ve made this once before and it was absolutely beautiful and went down a storm. It is deliciously lemony and moist.

The recipe is from the “Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery” book – which is my absolute “go to” book for cupcakes – however their recipe is for a two layer sponge, I have multiplied it to make a three layer sponge. Rather than filling and topping the sponge with lemon buttercream, I fill it with lemon curd and then cover with the lemon buttercream. They do suggest that you can make it as an all-in-one recipe, but I’m more of a traditionalist and prefer to do the long version of creaming the butter and sugar, etc.

I think I slightly overcooked it on this occasion as it ended up slightly drier than last time, although still delicious. I think you need to pull it out of the oven when it is just slightly golden rather than any darker.

Lemon Layer Cake


  1. 340g golden caster sugar
  2. 340g self-raising flour
  3. 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
  4. 40g cornflour
  5. 340g butter, at room temperature
  6. 6 large eggs
  7. Grated zest and juice of 3 large lemons (or 4 smaller lemons)

Lemon buttercream icing

  1. 110g butter, at room temperature
  2. Grated zest of 2 lemons
  3. 500g icing sugar
  4. Juice of 1-2 lemons

To fill and decorate

  1. Approx 6 tblsp lemon curd
  2. 500g ready-to-roll icing
  3. 100g royal icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. Grease and baseline 3 20cm loose-base cake tins
  3. Cream the butter and sugar using an electric hand mixer, or stand mixer, until the mixture is pale and smooth.
  4. Add the eggs, 1 or 2 at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add to the main bowl (best done in 2 or 3 lots). Mix gently after each addition.
  6. Add the grated zest and juice and mix gently to get a smooth mixture.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins.
  8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until raised and golden. The cakes should spring back when touched lightly.
  9. Remove from oven and leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes.
  10. Turn cakes out onto a wire rack and peel the parchment from the bases of the cakes.
  11. Leave to cool.

To make the buttercream icing:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, zest, juice of 1 lemon and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add extra juice, if required to get the correct consistency. Beat until smooth.

To assemble

  1. Place the first cake onto your plate / stand.
  2. Spread 3 tablespoons of lemon curd on top of the first cake and another 3 on a second cake.
  3. Carefully place the second cake on top of the first cake.
  4. Place the third cake on top of the others.
  5. Use a palette knife to spread the buttercream icing evenly all over the cake: start by covering the top and then smooth the icing down the sides of the cake. 
  6. Roll the ready-to-roll icing out on a sheet of parchment until it is large enough to cover the cake.
  7. Lift the parchment and gently lower the icing over the cake. Smooth and trim to fit.
  8. Make up royal icing according to instructions on pack. It needs to be a toothpaste-like consistency.
  9. Place royal icing into a piping bag and pipe as desired onto the cake.

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