Cake dreams are made of Meyer lemon crunch cake! Incredibly bright and buttery, this scrumptious cake is layered with Meyer lemon curd, lemony cream cheese buttercream, and finished with homemade toffee (the crunch!).
The Best Lemon Crunch Cake
Cake – Plush and buttery, the 8-inch cake layers bake up perfectly golden and ready to be frosted. Fresh Meyer lemon zest and vanilla flavor the cake.
Meyer Lemon Curd – Homemade Meyer lemon curd is perfectly smooth and creamy! The sunny yellow curd makes a delicious filling between the cake layers.
Cream Cheese Buttercream – Simultaneously sweet and tangy, cream cheese cuts the sweetness of the buttercream and complements the bright Meyer lemon zest.
Toffee – Crushed toffee adds the crunch to this cake, a delicious counterpart to the soft and buttery cake and tangy frosting.
Layer Cake Success
This is one epic layer cake! Feel free to break the recipe down into parts to make it more manageable. The Meyer lemon curd and toffee can be made a day ahead of assembling the cake. Store the curd in the refrigerator and the toffee in an airtight container at room temperature.
The cake layers can also be made a day ahead. Once the layers completely cool, wrap with plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight. Here’s to cake!
Cake dreams are made of Meyer lemon crunch cake! Bright and buttery, this cake is layered with Meyer lemon curd, cream cheese buttercream, and finished with homemade toffee.
Meyer Lemon Curd
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh Meyer lemon zest
- 6 Tbsp fresh 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 fresh Meyer lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups reduced fat buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese, cool room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh Meyer lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 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 toffee, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture reaches 250ºF. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 300ºF and is a light almond color, then immediately pour mixture out on prepared baking sheet and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Place baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes to set toffee.
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, salt, Meyer lemon zest, and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low; add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well, scraping down bowl as needed.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on a rotating cake stand. Use an offset spatula to swirl frosting over the cake layer. Transfer 1 cup of frosting 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 chill for 20 minutes.
- Use offset spatula to apply a layer of frosting to the top and 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.
- Break toffee into pieces and transfer to a food processor; pulse into crumbs. Set the cake over a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle toffee crumbs over the top of the cake, and use a clean hand to press toffee crumbs evenly up the side of the cake. Chill cake for 20 minutes before serving.
- If desired, serve cake topped with vanilla meringues and gold pearl sprinkles. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Make Ahead – The Meyer lemon curd and toffee can be made a day ahead of assembling the cake. Store the curd in the refrigerator and the toffee in an airtight container at room temperature.
Recipe inspired by Fork to Belly
Keywords: Meyer Lemon, Lemon, Lemon Cake, Layer Cake, Toffee