Mom’s Lemon-Chocolate Birthday Cake

Have I mentioned that I’m bad at baking cakes?

I’m bad at baking cakes (although I’m getting better!).

Something just always seems to go wrong. This time, what went wrong was that when I arrived at Mom and Dad’s place to start on Mom’s birthday cake, I discovered that the round pan I brought was a different size than the round pan that Mom already had. This creates a bit of problem when what you’re making is a layer cake in which all the layers should theoretically be the same size.

But once again, it has been proven to me that all cake is good cake…

and this cake is GREAT cake.

LEMON-CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE (Recipe adapted from beautiful baking blog Always Order Dessert; click here for the original)

What you need:

For cake:

3/4 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
8 egg yolks
Zest and juice of 1 medium-sized lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2.5 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
Yellow liquid food coloring (optional)

For frosting:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

What you do:


1. If you’re making homemade lemon curd (recipe coming up), do that first.

2. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease and flour two round pans (if the sizes matched up, that would be a good thing). Alejandra used three, but…I had two, and everything turned out just beautifully – the layers were a little thicker, that’s all (and had to bake for a couple of minutes longer).

3. With an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat at high speed for another five minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, and beat for another minute.

4. Meanwhile (this “meanwhile” thing is greatly facilitated by the presence of a stand mixer or a father willing to help), mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Lower the speed on the mixer and slowly beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk until well-combined.

5. Gently stir in a teaspoon or so of food coloring, or until you achieve the desired color.

6. Divide the batter into the cake pans and bake for about 15 minutes (since I used two pans instead of three, they needed about 17 minutes to cook through). Flip onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.


1. Beat together half the confectioner’s sugar with the cocoa powder, the butter, half of the milk, the salt, and the vanilla extract about five minutes, until fully combined and creamy.

2. Slowly beat in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar and milk.

3. Frost the cake immediately, or store covered with plastic wrap.

If You Like This, Try These:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingItalian Rainbow Cake; Pumpkin Roll

powered by chloédigital