Meyer lemon layer cake is a lemon lover’s dream cake! With three layers of the most plush and buttery cake, bright and tangy Meyer lemon curd, and silky vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, each bite is sublime.
Inspired by the Citron Cake in the new French issue of Bake From Scratch, I fell for this cake at first sight, and I was not disappointed. With plenty of butter (from the Meyer lemon curd to the cake and the Swiss meringue buttercream) and lovely notes of Meyer lemon and rich vanilla, this is the cake I can’t stop devouring.
You’ll love the light texture and the pretty layers, making this an ideal layer cake for spring occasions. For decorating, leave the top and sides smooth or pipe on pretty buttercream roses. Top with mini vanilla meringues and gold pearl sprinkles for the perfect finish!
Meyer Lemon Curd
- 1 1/2 tsp Meyer lemon zest
- 6 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups reduced fat buttermilk, at room temperature
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp Meyer lemon juice
- pink gel food coloring
- For the curd, whisk together Meyer lemon zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a heavy saucepan. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Add butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly until melted, before adding more butter. Continue until curd is smooth and thickened, and coats the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes total).
- Strain curd through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic directly on the surface, and chill until cold – at least one hour.
- For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F and butter and flour three 8-inch round cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in Meyer lemon zest and vanilla until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk (begin and end with flour mixture).
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until the cakes are golden, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Let cakes cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
- For the Swiss meringue buttercream, combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a mixer bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat mixture to 160°F while whisking constantly to dissolve the sugar.
- Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer fitted with wire whip attachment. Starting on low and increasing to medium-high speed, whisk for 10 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, forms stiff peaks, and the mixer bowl is cool to the touch.
- Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time on medium-low speed. Once the butter is added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat buttercream until completely smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes).
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on a rotating cake stand. Transfer Swiss meringue buttercream to a large piping bag and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer. Use a spoon to spread about 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon curd in the center of the cake layer. Add second cake layer and repeat with frosting and Meyer lemon curd.
- Add top cake layer and frosting, smoothing with an offset spatula. Use the offset spatula to apply frosting to the sides of the cake while you rotate the cake stand, then use a bench scraper to gently smooth the edges of the cake and remove any excess frosting. Chill frosted cake for 20 minutes.
- For the buttercream roses, beat butter and salt in a large mixer bowl until smooth and creamy. Mix in powdered sugar on low speed 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Add milk and Meyer lemon juice and mix in on low speed until incorporated. Add pink gel food coloring 1 drop at a time to reach the desired color. Transfer buttercream to a large piping bag fitted with a 1M tip and pipe roses over the top of the chilled cake. Chill for 15 minutes to set frosting.
- If desired, serve cake topped with vanilla meringues and gold pearl sprinkles. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Meyer lemon curd can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week.
Cake recipe adapted from Citron Cake, Bake From Scratch March/April 2019 The French Issue
Keywords: Meyer Lemon, Meyer Lemon Curd, Cake
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