Lemon Bundt Cake

lemonbundtcakeEarlier this week Mike needed lemon juice for something, so I zested the lemon and saved it for baking. I don’t like to waste ingredients, so I whipped up this lemon bundt cake, an easy recipe that yields a lovely treat. You’ll notice below that the recipe uses the zest from two lemons, but the juice from just one. You can always reserve lemon juice and use it for cooking or baking by storing it in the fridge for 2-3 days.

This recipe is adapted from my poppy seed cake, and next time I think I’ll toss in some poppy seeds for a classic lemon poppy combination. One thing I love about baking is that when you find a reliable recipe, you can adapt it however you like by adding different flavors. I plan to adapt this recipe many times in the future.


For the cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Zest from 2 medium lemons

For the icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt tin.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vegetable oil, extracts, and lemon zest. Stir in flour in three batches, mixing to combine completely.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in tin for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and add lemon juice about 1 teaspoon at a time to reach a thicker pourable consistency. Pour over cake and allow to drip down the sides. Allow icing to set before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days; this cake stays moist much longer than I expected. Makes about 12 servings, depending on how generous you are with your portions.


Lemon Poppy Seed Layer Cake

Today I turned 41. And while it feels like I was 17 years old about five minutes ago, I’ve never been intimidated by getting older. Not everyone gets to get older, right? And so to celebrate entering my “early forties,” I baked myself this lemon poppy seed layer cake.

This past week I weighed my birthday cake options, considering a caramel cake, a lemon raspberry cake, and a spice cake with maple buttercream. Then yesterday, Mike mentioned something about a lemon poppy cake, and here we are. It’s one of my favorite cakes I’ve ever made. And being a proud Pittsburgher, I do love that it’s black and gold.


For the lemon poppy seed cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • About 1 cup poppy seed filling*
  • About 1/2 cup lemon curd*

For the lemon curd buttercream frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon curd
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*Truth: I used bottled filling this time, because I’ve never made my own poppy filling and my homemade lemon curd went awry. Even experienced bakers have mishaps in the kitchen, my friends. 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 6-inch round cake pans, line each with a parchment circle, and lightly grease the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until very well-blended. Add eggs, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest and beat well to combine, scraping the sides of your bowl a few times.

Add flour and milk alternatively in two batches, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until completely combined. Stir in poppy seeds.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: in a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat on low, then medium speed, until the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. Add lemon curd and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, then slowly add remaining cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes; you want a spreadable consistency that is not too soft or firm.

To assemble the cake:

Slice each cake in half lengthwise to create four layers. Place the first layer on your cake stand – I anchored my cake with a blob of buttercream to help it stay in place. Spread about 1/2 cup poppy seed filling on the first layer, leaving about a 1/4 inch border at the edge of the cake; some of your filling will spread further once the other layers are added.

Top with the second layer, then spread that layer with lemon curd, again leaving a bit of a border around the edge. Repeat with the third layer, topping it with poppy seed filling, then place the final layer on the top of the cake.

Frost the entire cake with a thin crumb coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and frost to completely cover the crumb layer; you don’t need to put the frosting on too thick, as it will take away from the flavors in the cake itself. I chose to add some flower decorations to the top of my cake because I had a bit of frosting left over.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Lemon Blackberry Cake

lemon blackberry cake 4Today, in an effort to ramp up my piping skills, I bought a basic Wilton cake decorating book at the craft store. In it, I found a cute berry-and-vine cake and was inspired to make this lemon blackberry cake.

I found a great recipe for lemon cake at My Cake School, then divided the recipe in half to make one single 8-inch round. I don’t usually double-fill cakes, but my blackberry filling made less than I was hoping for, so I thought it needed a bit of a boost; next time, I’ll double the filling recipe.

Once filled, I frosted the top only for a more rustic look, then piped on some vines, leaves, and blackberries. The end result is delicious, light, and perfect for summer. If you’d like to frost the sides of your cake as well, I’d increase the frosting recipe by at least one quarter to ensure that you have enough for piping.

Lemon Cake


  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, slightly softened, but still cool
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of 1 medium lemon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, then grease the parchment and lightly flour the pan.

In a glass measuring cup, combine eggs, milk, vegetable oil, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine; set aside.

In your stand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; beat for 30 seconds to combine. With the mixer running on low, add butter one pat at a time, until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add half the egg mixture and beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes, then scrape down the bowl and add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for about 30 seconds after each.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.

Blackberry Filling


  • 6 ounces blackberries, mashed
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


In a medium saucepan, stir together blackberries, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture boils, then allow to boil for 1 minute, stirring well, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and press through a fine sieve to filter out the seeds. Allow to cool before using; makes about 1/3 cup.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting


  • 12 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Leaf green food coloring
  • Purple food coloring
  • Black food coloring


In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar all at once, then beat on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes. Scraped down the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add vanilla and heavy cream, then beat for another 1-2 minutes.


To assemble the cake:

Reserve about 1/2 cup frosting for tinting. Divide the reserved portion and tint half green and the other half purple/black; I started with purple and added black until I reached my desired blackberry shade.

Slice the cake in half length-wise; place one half on your cake plate.

Top with blackberry filling, spreading within about 1/2 inch of the edges. Top the filling with frosting, spreading gently to within about 1/4 inch of the edges. The filling is slippery, so as you spread the frosting it will mix with the filling a bit, and that’s fine.

Top with the second half of your cake and frost the top using the white frosting.

Fit a piping bag with a plain tip and fill with green frosting; pipe on vines, then switch to a leaf tip and pipe on leaves.

Fit a second piping bag with a plain tip and fill with purple/black frosting; pipe on blackberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Below is a detail of the blackberries and vines and a slice of the cake so you can see the filling.

lemon blackberry cake 2 lemon blackberry slice