White Cake with Sweet Lemon Frosting

white cake with lemonLast week’s cookie-baking extravaganza left me with six egg yolks, which of course I turned into lemon curd, which I then needed to use up in some creative way. Hence, white cake with lemon curd filling and sweet lemon frosting.

Recipes for single-layer cakes like this one are quite useful, especially if you’re baking for a date night or a small gathering. Tonight, Mike and I will celebrate New Year’s Eve, and this little treat will be perfect for our dessert.

Just a few items to note: my sweet lemon frosting is similar to lemon cream cheese frosting, and it’s based on another lemon frosting recipe I saw recently, with different ratios to increase the sweetness. Appearance-wise, don’t worry if your lemon curd filling and frosting drip over the sides of your cake; this just makes the end result a more charming, old-fashioned-looking dessert.

White Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray; line with a parchment circle and spray the parchment.

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

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 25 minutes, until top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool cake completely before filling and frosting.

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 recipe lemon curd, prepared in advance.┬áReserve about 2 tablespoons prior to filling the cake for the frosting.

Sweet Lemon Frosting


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon curd
  • About 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar


In a mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until very well blended, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon curd; beat on low to begin, then increase speed and beat on medium until well-blended. Add additional cup powdered sugar and additional tablespoon lemon curd; beat on low to begin, then increase speed to medium and beat until very well-blended. Taste; add another 1/4 cup powdered sugar if desired.

To assemble the cake:

Using a very sharp knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Flip top half onto a cake platter top-side down and spread lemon curd in an even layer. Lemon curd will drip over the sides; this is fine.

Top with the remaining cake half and frost the top of the cake only, so you’ll be able to see the sides. Store in the fridge.

Chocolate Cake

chocolate cake






My five-year-old nephew Roman took a bite of a homemade sugar cookie on Christmas Day and made a face I wasn’t expecting: he wrinkled his nose and shook his head, the universal sign for “I don’t like this.” How could this be, I wondered? He’s a kid, right? Don’t children love sugar?

My brother Andy, Roman’s dad, remarked that kids eat a lot of processed foods, that they’re not necessarily used to homemade tastes. This make me think about the difference between the baked goods you buy at the store–packaged cookies, boxed cake mixes–and how different they really are from homemade. If you bake a cake from a mix, you’ll get fluffy, moist layers that will stay fresh for several days. Bake a cake from eggs, flour, butter, and sugar, and you’ll get a denser, more crumbly treat that lasts three, maybe four days tops (depending on your ability to resist slicing up a huge piece every time you pass your cake stand).

This recipe is a simple, one-bowl affair that requires no melted chocolate, just cocoa powder, and yields a single layer. Caramel frosting pairs well with this cake, but I chose to dust it with powdered sugar, make some whipped cream, and serve it “plain.”


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, if desired


Grease and flour a nine-inch round cake pan; set aside. Note: if you plan to leave the cake in the pan, you can simply grease and flour it, but if you wish to remove the cake from the pan to set it on a cake stand, I recommend greasing the bottom of the pan, lining it with a circle of waxed paper, then greasing and flouring the paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add milk, shortening, and vanilla, beating on medium speed for two minutes.

Add egg and beat on medium speed for another two minutes.

Pour batter into prepared pan; it will be a light brown color and very fluffy in texture.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cake on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan (if you desire) to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar and top with sweetened whipped cream if desired.

Sweetened Whipped Cream


  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar


Chill your bowl and beaters (or whisk attachment) for 10-15 minutes.

Add whipped cream and powdered sugar to the chilled bowl and beat on medium, then medium-high speed until soft peaks form.