This cake has a soft, fluffy texture thanks to bubbly 7UP soft drink added to the cake batter. It’s bursting with lemon-lime flavor!
This recipe was inspired by a cake that has been around for decades. I’m sure that many of you are familiar with 7UP pound cake, which is a classic southern favorite and even sold prepackaged in some southern grocery stores. I found a copy of the recipe in the vintage avocado green recipe card box I found at a thrift store last year and was reminded to give it a try.
I would have made this cake as-written in bundt cake fashion, but I was feeling the need to return to normalcy, and normal for me is dreaming up new layer cakes. Although I enjoy making every kind of dessert, layer cakes have my heart! With a few additions to the original recipe, I was able to transform the pound cake into a light, fluffy version suitable for stacking and filling.
The cake batter receives a big dose of 7UP soda right at the end of mixing, and after baking I decided to douse the layers with another small can of the soda. This makes the finished cake extremely moist and the soda flavor really shines through.
I used the pound cake formula as a guide, so this cake yields the same amount of cake as the full-sized bundt – it’s just in 6-inch layers here. I love my little pans, because you can turn just about any full sized bundt, or double layer 9 inch cake into a little four layer cake (Fat Daddios is the brand of 6″ pans I use).
I made a simple confectioners’ buttercream and divided it into three parts – the white and yellow frostings are flavored with lemon extract, and the green portion is flavored with lime extract.
Every cake needs sprinkles, right? I tossed on some lemon yellow and lime green sprinkles without much forethought so they landed, just, wherever. This is fun, but you must be at peace with the mess of confetti on your table afterward (and maybe your floor).
I had some lemon jelly slices in my candy cabinet, and they made a really cute border for the bottom of the cake – tasty too!
This cake slices easily and so neatly when slightly chilled. Make sure to bring the cake to room temperature before you enjoy it, though. It’s at its very bubbly best and the soda flavor is more noticable.
This cake feels VERY summertime to me, and tastes refreshing! We’re getting some warm, sunny days here, so we’ll be enjoying this on the patio.
7UP Layer Cake
- 1 cup 226g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups 600g granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 5 eggs
- 3 2/3 cups 462g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract
- 1 1/2 cups 7UP soft drink divided
- 2 cups 1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 lb. confectioners’ sugar
- Milk or cream to thin
- 1 tablespoons lemon extract
- 2 teaspoons lime extract
- Yellow gel food color
- Leaf green gel food color
- 1/4 cup yellow sprinkles
- 1/4 cup green sprinkles
- 5 lemon jelly slice candies
- 12 maraschino cherries with stems drained on paper towels
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat four 6-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. When the mixture is fluffy, gradually add the oil. Beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk well to aerate and combine. Pour the dry mixture into the creamed mixture. Beat until just combined. Add the lemon extract and mix again; Pour in 3/4 cup of the 7UP and beat until well incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans, about 2 cups of batter per each 6-inch pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cakes are well browned on top and set in the center. These cakes should not dome much due to the high sugar content.
- Transfer cakes to wire cooling racks to cool completely. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
- Unwrap cakes and conservatively trim off the crusty tops. The cakes will be very firm chilled. Place cakes in a large baking pan and poke holes in each using a skewer. Pour over the remaining soda. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow the cakes to soak while you prepare the frosting. Note: Don’t let cakes soak for too long, or they will start to break down. You want to start building the cake within about 30 minutes.
Lemon Lime Buttercream
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the whip. Add milk or cream to bring to piping consistency. Whip for 4 minutes, until the mixture lightens considerably in color. Add the lemon extract; beat well. Transfer 3/4 of the frosting to a separate bowl and cover with a damp towel. Divide the remaining frosting into separate bowls and tint one bowl with the yellow food color; tint the other bowl with the leaf green food color and stir in the lime extract. Transfer each color of frosting to separate piping bags with the ends snipped. Also transfer 1 1/2 cups of white frosting to a piping bag with the end snipped.
- Place a cake layer on a cake board, serving plate, or cake stand. Do this gently and carefully, because the cakes will be soft from the 7UP soak. Top with a generous 1/4 cup of the white frosting from the covered bowl and spread gently and evenly. Stack a second cake layer on top. Repeat process until all of the cakes are filled and stacked. Pipe white frosting around the entire outside of the cake and smooth using a bench scraper or cake smoother. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill, about 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and pipe green frosting 1/3 of the way up the cake, followed by a section of white frosting another 1/3 of the way up, and end with yellow frosting covering the final 1/3 of the cake. Smooth frostings together on the sides of the cake using a bench scraper or cake smoother; don’t smooth the top yet. Immediately toss yellow sprinkles on to the green part of the cake; toss green sprinkles onto the yellow part of the cake. Smooth the top of the cake, trapping some of the green sprinkles in the frosting on top of the cake.
- Cut each lemon jelly slice into three triangles; press into the frosting around the bottom edge of the cake. Use leftover lemon-yellow frosting to adhere them if they don’t stick naturally.
- Transfer any leftover white frosting in the bowl to a piping bag fitted with a large star decorator piping tip. Pipe about 12 swirls of frosting on the top edge of the cake; top each swirl with a maraschino cherry. Slice cake while slightly chilled for neatest slices. Bring to room temperature before enjoying.
Could this recipe be done in a Bundt pan??
Hi Brintini! Yes, with these changes: Decrease the flour to 3 cups and omit the baking powder. Then it can be baked as a bundt cake.
what a fun cake, had no idea 7 Up could ever be used in baking, I'm nervous about botching the exacting steps in most baking recipes so I rarely go off script, this recipe looks like you just did, so I appreciate that, thank you
Can I use this recipe for cupcakes
This cake tastes phenomenal and was so fun to make! But my cake layers, sunk slightly. I made it twice to be certain it wasn’t a mistake the first time. I made 3 8 inch layers. could this have been the problem?
Hi Mitzi! Thank you so much for trying the recipe. I’m sorry your layers sank -aah! I wonder if your baking powder is still active. Sometimes that can be the culprit. You can test it by spooning 1/2 tsp. in a bowl and pouring boiling water over it. If it bubbles and foams then it is still active. Are they sinking during baking or after they are taken out of the oven? The fizzy 7UP soda is also part of the leaven, so the pans should go in the oven soon after you mix up the batter. I see no… Read more »
Hello! If I want to use cherry 7up, would I still use the lemon extract?
You could omit the lemon extract if you want a more pronounced cherry flavor.