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Lemon Cake

Prep Time:

20 mins.

Cook Time:

35 mins.


1 (9-inch) round cake with 3 layers

A simple dessert for any occasion, this light, bright cake is rich in lemony flavor. Finish it with a light buttercream frosting or even some homemade fluffy whipped cream.


  • 3 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Swans Down® Cake Flour, sift before measuring
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 1 lemon (use microplane zester or finely chop larger zest)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons)
    Lemon Syrup
  • Zest of 2 lemons (remove as much of the white pith as possible)
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups lemon curd (or mixed-berry jam)


  1. Make Cake: Preheat oven to 350℉. Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans and line with parchment. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until incorporated (it may look broken). Add flour mixture and mix until fully combined and smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Make Lemon Syrup: To remove bitterness from lemon peel, place lemon zest and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and strain; discard water and reserve lemon zest. In same saucepan, place sugar, remaining 1/2 cup water and lemon zest. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature. When cooled, remove lemon zest and set aside to use for garnishing cake.
  5. Assemble Cake: Evenly brush all cake layers with Lemon Syrup. Top bottom and middle cake layers with filling as desired. Assemble layers and frost cake. Garnish with the reserved lemon zest.
    This cake can also be baked in 1 (18×13-inch) sheet pan (bake for 20 to 25 minutes)
    or in cupcake pans for 18 to 24 cupcakes (bake for 18 to 20 minutes).