{create} white chocolate-lemon birthday cake

I love birthdays. I happen to think that any day dedicated to you is the best. day. ever. Which of course, I've already waxed poetic about. Yes, I'm the oldest child, why do you ask? 

I also happen to love baking and have always thought cakes were a fun challenge. The problem though, is most occasions don't call for cakes. They might call for pie, or cupcakes, or even brownie, but sometimes an entire cake is a little over kill. So I decided a couple years ago I would bake each of my family members a birthday cake of their choice on their special day. Whatever flavor, whatever frosting, it's all up to them. 

And you guys, it is so much fun. They get to have a tasty homemade cake for their birthday, which they love, and I get to experiment and play and make cake! 

So recently my little younger brother turned THIRTY. Yes, I realize how old this makes me. I don't want to talk about it :). I thought I'd share the recipe for the cake I made him. It was good and presented well. The cake requested he requested was a white cake with lemon filling. 

And this was the final product! White cake with a hint of lemon, lemon curd filling and white chocolate butter cream frosting.  It managed to be light and decadent all in one. Not an easy feat.

A minor point about this recipe. You've probably noticed that the recipes I post here are gluten free. Most are dairy free also. That's because we're a gf/df household. But, if you read my post about Chris' birthday cake, you'll know that my family is not. And, is amazingly wary of the gf baked goods. So my goal is to create such awesome gf recipes that they can't tell the difference. My friends, this isn't one of the those recipes. It isn't gluten free. Chris was out of town for the party, and so I went the complete lazy route. But I was at least assured my brother would love his cake! And, that's important too :).

The sparkly yellow worm-like things on top are (as requested) candied lemons. They are super easy and really tasty.

And, before the recipe, one last note. About these photos ... I am not a fan of camera date stamping. As I mentioned, Chris was out of town the weekend I made this and he happened to grab my camera. What I forgot, was that for some crazy reason Chris loves the date stamp. It's actually one of the reasons we have two cameras :). By the time I noticed it was on, it was too late. The best part though? The date was set for 1/1/2006. I'm glad he's tracking events by the incorrect date :)

White Chocolate Lemon Birthday Cake

White cake:
*adapted from Bakerella's Perfect Party Cake

Makes two 9-inch layers

  • 2 1/4 cups flour, minus 4 tablespoons + 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temp. If you use unsalted butter, add in 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Cut out two 9 inch parchment paper circles, butter and line the bottom of each pan. 
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt (if using) into small bowl.
  3. Whisk together the milk and eggs whites in a medium bowl.
  4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in your mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and smells delicious. Add the butter and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until butter and sugar are very light -- it'll be practically white.
  5. Add in one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
  6. Add in half the egg mixture and then half the remaining flour mixture.
  7. Add the remaining milk mixture and then the last of the flour.
  8. Beat the batter for about 2 minutes to fully mix and aerate.
  9. Divide between the two pre-prepped pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When finished, the cakes will be spongy to the touch.
  10. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks. After about 5 minutes, run a knife around the sides of the cake and unmold them onto the racks. Peel off paper liner and invert and cool at room temp right side up.

Lemon Curd
*I've actually had this recipe for a couple years and have no idea where I first pulled it. If you recognize it, let me know and I'll cite.
Makes about two cups

  • 8 large egg yolks
  • Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 stick (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  1. Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly (especially after first -- I have totally scrambled the egg yolks before!) with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. It'll be about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent nasty skin from forming. 
  3. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

White Chocolate Buttercream
*I've actually had this recipe, also, for a couple years. If you recognize it, let me know and I'll cite.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the melted white chocolate. 
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.
Cake assembly:
I'm actually planning a full cake assembly/frosting tutorial next week, because it took me years to figure this out, and I want to share what I've learned. But, if you'd like to try the recipe this weekend, here's the assembly order.
  1. Lay first cake layer on your serving surface.
  2. Add desired amount of lemon curd.
  3. Lay second cake layer on top.
  4. Frost and decorate as desired!

** First two photos via we heart it **


  1. Yummy, and that cake stand is perfect! Happy Weekend!

  2. This cake looks delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe.

    ~ Elizabeth

  3. Mmm this looks delicious! I'll have to try it sometime soon!


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