FLUFFY LEMON ROSEMARY CAKE WITH LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Learn how to make this unique and light and fluffy lemon rosemary cake with lemon cream cheese frosting complete with step-by-step pictures. This is my favorite fluffy yellow cake recipe that always comes out tender and moist!
For the Cake
- 2 1/2 cups (280 gr) cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
- 1 1/4 tsp (5 gr) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp (2 gr) baking soda
- 3/4 tsp (3.6 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1 1/2 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
- 1 3/4 cups (343 gr) granulated sugar (divided)
- 10 tablespoons (140 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk, room temperature
- 3 TBSP (44 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
For the Frosting
- 8 oz (224 gr) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 112 gr) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cup (298 gr) confectioners sugar
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. Dust pans with flour and tap out excess any excess.
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary and egg yolks.
- For the meringue: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy. With machine running, stream in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Gently transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add flour mixture to the empty stand mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix for about 10 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape down the bowl. Mix again on medium for 20 more seconds just until combined.
- Using rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the meringue just until incorporated. Fold in the rest of the meringue. Be very gentle to not deflate the air in the meringue. You will have a few white streaks in the batter. Divide batter evenly between your prepared cake pans.
- Place pans on a half-sheet pan and bake on the center rack in the oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cake will begin pulling away Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and will no longer jiggle in the center when it is finished.
- Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the sides of the pans to loosen cakes then invert on a greased wire rack. Allow to cool completely (about 1 more hour) before frosting.
FOR THE FROSTING
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Reserve just under half to frost middle layer, using the rest for top and sides. (added that one myself for future reference – P)
Calm before the storm
Remember what I said about being a ridiculous baker? Still true! I prepped my ingredients ahead of time and grouped them, as all smart cooks and bakers do, but when it got to the “melted butter” portion of the program, then it went sideways. And out. And under.
I had just cleaned the microwave two days prior to its pristine, sparkling self. Then I put the butter in and set the timer for 45 seconds. Whoops, too long. Explosion #1. Remove butter, clean microwave (again), take stock of lost butter. Add at least another ounce. Ugh. Cut more butter, add to existing butter, microwave for a scant
“stiff peaks”/”almost butter”
seven seconds. Explosion #2. Remove butter, clean microwave (AGAIN), take stock of lost butter. At least another ounce. Ugh. Add more butter, learn lesson, warm Pyrex of already-melted butter on flat top range (this might be the only thing our electric range is good for).
Then it was time to separate the eggs. Oh look, half a white got into my yolks. Offff course they did. At least it wasn’t the other way around, right? Sure. I stored my mixing bowl and whip attachment in the fridge, since I always heard that stuff should be cold for maximum height, and the whites whipped up beautifully. But um, for maybe a little too long, I was probably about 31 seconds from butter. I passed “stiff peaks” and went into “stiff nearly chunk”, but they still folded in and at least the proteins never separated from the fats (small mercy, since I had used almost twice the amount of butter to make up for the microwave snafu.
looking good! until…
Mixed all ingredients, folded whites and batter together, poured into pans, shook for air bubbles, waited to level, added to oven. Whoops, I forgot to put them on a sheet pan but I bet it’ll be ok.
It was not. 20 minutes, test. Raw batter in the middle. Five more minutes, test. Still batter. Crap. Google. Notice well-baked top and sides, cover with parchment and insert sheet pan on bottom rack, six minutes. Ding! Perfecto! Tip cakes out of tin. Tin #1: excellent. Tin #2: not excellent. I quickly pulled the stubborn bit away from the bottom of the tin and pressed it onto its mother. This is why the good lord invented crumb coats! No one will know! That bottom will be the middle of the cake, I decide.
Frosting finished without catastrophe, minus almost adding only half the butter. Then it was time to frost. I don’t know if anyone else has this anxiety, but I’m always worried about adding too much frosting to the middle layer and then not having enough for the top and sides. As a result, I regularly wind up with just a thin coating in the middle and a bunch leftover for the rest. That happened here. It presents really nicely once frosted, it tastes so, so good, but it’s lopsided and sad looking.
hey that doesn’t look so bad!
doesn’t taste so bad either.
Next time I’ll add half more rosemary and lemon rind to the batter, and I’ll remember how to portion out the frosting but otherwise: Huge success.