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Lemon Velvet Cake

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a slice of Lemon Velvet Cake topped with lemon zest on a plate with a fork
Lemon velvet cake is a delectable dessert featuring a soft texture and a vibrant lemony flavor, providing a delightful citrus-infused treat that's perfect for lemon lovers.
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Velvet Cake Ingredients
  2. Substitutions and Additions
  3. How To Make This Lemon Velvet Cake Recipe
  4. How To Serve
  5. Storage
  6. Why We Love This Recipe
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. More Recipes You’ll Love
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

Indulge in the bright and refreshing world of our fluffy lemon velvet cake. This delightful creation combines the allure of lemons with a velvet-smooth texture for a cake that’s both luscious and tangy.

a slice of Lemon Velvet Cake topped with lemon zest on a plate with a fork

Lemon Velvet Cake Ingredients

Lemon Velvet Cake raw ingredients that are labeled
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The cake itself features a combination of pantry staples with a touch of lemon zest for that citrusy zing. 

This vibrant dessert is brought to life by the creamy goodness of cream cheese frosting.

You’ll need:

For The Lemon Velvet Cake:

  • 2½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¾ cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of buttermilk at room temperature
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 24 ounces (3 blocks) of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 cups of powdered sugar
  • Lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Substitutions and Additions

BUTTERMILK: If you’re out of buttermilk, blend one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with one cup of milk and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle.

FRESH LEMON JUICE AND ZEST: While fresh is best, bottled lemon juice can work if you’re in a pinch for this lemon cake recipe. 

Just be mindful that it might lack the vibrant citrus kick of fresh lemons.

How To Make This Lemon Velvet Cake Recipe

Making and assembling this delicious cake is a straightforward process, and we will walk you through the steps below. Let’s get started.

For The Lemon Cake:

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

To ensure a smooth and well-incorporated cake batter and frosting, make sure your butter, cream cheese, eggs, and buttermilk are all at room temperature.

STEP ONE: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. You can also line the bottoms with parchment paper for easy removal.

STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.

PRO TIP:

When measuring flour, use the spoon and level method. Gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge for accurate measurements.

flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt combined in a bowl

STEP THREE: Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients, and using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

softened butter combined with then dry ingredients in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Whisk together the egg, egg whites, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.

STEP FIVE: Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture, mixing on medium speed until the batter is well combined.

wet ingredients combined with the dry ingredients in a bowl

STEP SIX: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

STEP SEVEN: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

PRO TIP:

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cake as the suggested baking time approaches.

cake batter placed into a baking pan then baked

STEP EIGHT: Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For The Cream Cheese Frosting:

STEP ONE: In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, and butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.

cream cheese, vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, and butter combined in a bowl

STEP TWO: Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing on low speed after each addition until fully incorporated.

powdered sugar combined with the ingredients in a bowl

Assembly:

STEP ONE: After the cake layers have cooled completely, place one cake layer on a flat surface, such as a cutting board or cake turntable.

STEP TWO: Using a long knife, carefully slice off any dome-shaped top from the cake layer. 

Hold the knife parallel to the surface of the cake and make a gentle sawing motion to level it. You can also rotate the cake while cutting to ensure an even level.

top of the cake sliced

STEP THREE: Repeat the same process with the second cake layer so both layers have flat tops.

STEP FOUR: You can use the excess cake trimmings for snacking or save them to make cake pops or a trifle dessert.

STEP FIVE: Now, you have two even and flat cake layers ready to be assembled with the lemon frosting.

STEP SIX: Place two pieces of parchment paper overlapping each other in the center of a serving plate or cake stand. This will help keep the serving platter or cake stand clean, and they will slide out easily after decorating the cake. 

STEP SEVEN: Place one cake on top of the parchment paper.

STEP EIGHT: Spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting over the top of the first cake layer.

PRO TIP:

If your cream cheese frosting is too soft, you can refrigerate it for about 20-30 minutes before frosting the cake. This will help the frosting hold its shape better and make the decorating process smoother.

STEP NINE: Carefully place the second cake layer on top.

STEP TEN: Frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting. You can decorate the cake with lemon zest on top for an extra touch.

cake frosted with cream cheese frosting

STEP ELEVEN: Remove the parchment paper carefully by sliding it out slowly.

STEP TWELVE: Store the cake in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

PRO TIP:

For clean slices, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry before cutting each piece.

Lemon Velvet Cake topped with slices of lemon on a cake stand

How To Serve

Enjoy your lemon velvet cake by serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, creating a delightful contrast between the warm cake and the cold, creamy ice cream.

Pair this cake with a hot cup of tea or coffee for an afternoon tea party. The citrus notes of the cake complement the tea’s aromatic flavors.

Check out more of our lemony desserts with our lemon cheesecake and lemon cobbler.

Storage

If you are planning ahead or have leftovers of this delightful confection, we have a few handy tips.

MAKE AHEAD: You can prepare the cake layers in advance, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, and store them in the fridge for up to two days. 

Frost the cake just before serving for the freshest taste.

IN THE FRIDGE: Once frosted, store this velvety lemon cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four to five days. Make sure it’s covered to prevent any absorbed odors.

IN THE FREEZER: To freeze the cake, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It can last in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw it in the fridge before serving.

Why We Love This Recipe

SWEET AND TANGY BALANCE: The lemon velvet cake strikes the perfect balance between sweet and tangy, making it a dessert suitable for any occasion.

IRRESISTIBLE TEXTURE: Its velvety texture and creamy frosting create a delightful contrast that keeps you coming back for more.

REFRESHING CITRUS: The zesty lemon flavor adds a refreshing twist to the classic velvet cake, making it a standout dessert.

Lemon Velvet Cake on a cake stand topped with slices of lemon and a slice of cake missing

Lemon velvet cake is a delightful creation that combines the refreshing zest of lemons with a velvety texture. Whether you’re celebrating a special event or simply indulging in a slice, this cake is sure to delight your taste buds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the cake ahead of time?

You can make the cake ahead of time. You can bake the cake layers in advance and store them tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days. Alternatively, you can freeze the unfrosted cake layers for up to a month. Thaw the cake layers in the refrigerator before assembling and frosting.

How can I make the frosting hold its shape better for decorating? 

If your cream cheese frosting is too soft, refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes before frosting the cake to achieve a firmer consistency.

What’s the best way to level the cake layers? 

Use a long, serrated knife to gently slice off any domed tops from the cake layers while holding the knife parallel to the surface for an even cut.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice? 

You can use bottled lemon juice, but fresh lemon juice will give the cake a more vibrant citrus flavor.

Can I add fillings between the cake layers?

Yes, you can add fillings between the cake layers. Some popular options include lemon curd or fruit preserves.

How do I achieve a pale color for the cake?

The cake’s pale color comes from the limited amount of egg yolks in the recipe

Can I use a different frosting for the cake?

While cream cheese frosting complements the lemon velvet cake beautifully, you can use other frostings like lemon buttercream, vanilla buttercream, or a whipped cream topping if you prefer.

Can I use different citrus flavors for the cake?

You can experiment with other citrus flavors like orange or lime. Simply replace the lemon juice and zest with the citrus of your choice. Keep in mind that the acidity level may vary, so adjust the measurements accordingly.

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a slice of Lemon Velvet Cake topped with lemon zest on a plate with a fork

Lemon Velvet Cake

5 from 1 vote
Lemon velvet cake is a delectable dessert featuring a soft texture and a vibrant lemony flavor, providing a delightful citrus-infused treat that's perfect for lemon lovers.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

For the Lemon Velvet Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 blocks)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • Lemon zest, for optional garnish

Instructions
 

Lemon Velvet Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. You can also line the bottoms with parchment paper for easy removal.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  • Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients, and using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Whisk together the egg, egg whites, buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture, mixing on medium speed until the batter is well combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Then, carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, fresh lemon juice, and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing on low speed after each addition until fully incorporated.

Assembly

  • After the cake layers have cooled completely, place one cake layer on a flat surface, such as a cutting board or cake turntable.
  • Using a long knife, carefully slice off any dome-shaped top from the cake layer. Hold the knife parallel to the surface of the cake and make a gentle sawing motion to level it. You can also rotate the cake while cutting to ensure an even level.
  • Repeat the same process with the second cake layer so both layers have flat tops.
  • You can use the excess cake trimmings for snacking or save them to make cake pops or a trifle dessert.
  • Now, you have two even and flat cake layers ready to be assembled with the cream cheese frosting.
  • Place two pieces of parchment paper overlapping each other in the center of a serving plate or cake stand. This will help keep the serving platter or cake stand clean, and they will slide out easily after decorating the cake.
  • Place one cake on top of the parchment paper.
  • Spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting over the top of the first cake layer.
  • Carefully place the second cake layer on top.
  • Frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting. You can decorate the cake with lemon zest on top for an extra touch.
  • Remove the parchment paper carefully by sliding them out slowly.
  • Store the cake in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

Notes

  • To ensure a smooth and well-incorporated cake batter and frosting, make sure your butter, cream cheese, eggs, and buttermilk are all at room temperature.
  • When measuring flour, use the spoon and level method. Gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge for accurate measurements.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cake as the suggested baking time approaches.
  • If your cream cheese frosting is too soft, you can refrigerate it for about 20-30 minutes before frosting the cake. This will help the frosting hold its shape better and make the decorating process smoother.
  • For clean slices, use a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry before cutting each piece.

Nutrition

Calories: 998kcal | Carbohydrates: 138g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 115g | Vitamin A: 1645IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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  1. Katie says

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! My nephew requested a lemon cake for his birthday, it was my first time making a lemon cake so I was a bit nervous, but I never need to try another lemon recipe. It turned out so well, the crumb and flavor are perfect!

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