This bright Lemon Syrup Layer Cake is infused with lemon simple syrup, frosted with deceptively light Swiss meringue buttercream and filled with homemade lemon curd. It’s perfect for just about any occasion!
Hello friends! Today I’d like to share a couple of things with you that I’m really excited about. The first and perhaps most obvious is this Lemon Syrup Layer Cake. It’s tart with layers of white cake soaked in lemon syrup. It’s a bounty of citrusy goodness and with tangy sweetness and no sourness to speak of.
And speaking of centerpieces! The cake stand you see here, along with the beautiful dinnerware, flatware, and serve ware are all from The Home Depot. I’m so happy to be working with them and to show you the dinnerware that I tried out personally.
Long-time readers know that I usually only recommend products and services that I can try out or hold in my hands, so I decided to order a new set of dinnerware. Delivery is FREE on all orders over $45.
Hand painted beauty!
This Euro Ceramica Blue Garden Dinnerware! I wanted to switch up my dinnerware for something striking but less formal than china. I took a chance on this Blue Garden dinnerware set and was not disappointed! Most dish sets these days are embellished with decals, but not this one! I love that each piece is hand-painted. They are also dishwasher and microwave safe, which makes my practical side very happy. However if you order something and are not happy The Home Depot backs every purchase with 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they offer free and easy returns at their more than 2,200 stores nationwide.
Lemon Cake for all occasions!
Now. Let’s talk about this cake. I’ve put together a video at the end of this blog post. Use it as a guide to assemble this cake. If you’ve never made Swiss meringue buttercream before, then you can find my short video of the process in this blog post.
I used my favorite scratch-made white wedding cake recipe to make the layers, which were nice and sturdy for soaking up all that lemon syrup. The finished cake is so luscious and tastes like it came from a high-end bakery. Frost it with deceptively light Swiss meringue buttercream. And fill it with homemade lemon curd. It’s perfect for just about any occasion!
The veritable fruit bowl arrangement on top is optional, but we had fun picking off pieces and sharing mandarin segments with cake slices.
Be sure to check out the video! I hope it’s helpful and inspires you to give the recipe a try!
Related recipe: Mini Lemon Marshmallow Pies
Lemon Syrup Layer Cake
White cake layers
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Lemon syrup and filling
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract
- 2-3 drops lemon yellow food color
- 15-20 oz. lemon curd prepared, or store-bought
Swiss meringue buttercream
- 10 egg whites
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 pounds unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tbsp. clear vanilla extract
- Lemon yellow gel food color
- 2-3 fresh mandarin oranges with stems and leaves attached
- Lemon halves
- Fresh raspberries
- Key lime halves
- Cara-cara orange halves
- 8-10 lemon wheels halved
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with flour-based baking spray.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together egg whites and milk in a separate bowl.
- Beat the butter in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment until soft and creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture alternately with the egg white/milk mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture and beat until smooth on medium-low speed after each addition.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cakes spring back when pressed in their centers. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out and cool completely. Level the cakes using a serrated knife, if needed.
- Make the syrup: Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon extract. Mix in the food color a little at a time. Cover and let stand while you make the frosting.
- Make the Swiss buttercream: Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl (I suggest a stainless bowl). Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (120-140 degrees on a candy thermometer, to be sure).
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
- Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
- Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition. The mixture will deflate and may look curdled at first – this is normal. Keep going. Add the vanilla extract.
- Beat on high speed until the frosting is thick and completely smooth.
- Remove 1/2 cup of the frosting to a bowl and tint with the yellow gel food color. Transfer to a disposable piping bag with the end snipped. Transfer a large portion of the remaining white frosting to a piping bag with 1/2-inch hole snipped.
- Assembly: Pour the lemon syrup into a shallow dish or pan with 2-inch sides. Quickly dip each side of the cake layers into the syrup (do this quickly to avoid soggy cakes). Place one of the layers on a cake stand or cake board. Pipe a large circle of frosting on the top edge of the cake. Fill the center with lemon curd. Top with a second cake layer and repeat the process with the frosting and lemon curd. Place the final cake layer on top.
- Pipe or spread frosting over the entire cake in a thin layer (crumb coat) and refrigerate until firm, about 15-20 minutes. Pipe or spread a second thick layer over the first, spreading the frosting as evenly as possible. Use some of the reserved lemon yellow frosting to dot the sides of the cake. Use a cake smoother or bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake and to smear the white and yellow frostings together (watercolor technique). Do not smooth the top edges of the cake; rather, leave a rustic top edge. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Cover the top of the cake with whole fresh mandarins lemon halves, orange halves, fresh raspberries and key lime halves. Pat the lemon wheel halves dry and line the bottom edge of the cake, cut side-down, so that the lemon halves completely encircle the bottom edge of the cake.
- Serve immediately. Store leftovers under plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Slowly add the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in lemon juice and mix again. Expect the mixture to look curdled, this is normal.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat in a medium-size saucepan until it looks smooth (no longer curdled.) Increase the heat slightly and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 170 degrees.
- Remove the curd from the heat. Transfer the curd to a bowl and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.
This original recipe and blog post is sponsored by The Home Depot and contains affiliate links. I only recommend products and services that I’ve had the chance to use personally and feel will be beneficial to the readers of Sprinkle Bakes.