Friday was my boss’s last day of work, so we simultaneously celebrated her awesomeness and mourned her loss with cake – Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Strawberries to be exact.
I don’t bake for everyone at the office - just those I really really like. Jenn hired me about a year ago (time flies!) and has taught me soooo much in that time – things I never even knew existed: information architecture, content strategy, and web accessibility to name a few. The Enough Project will miss her, but I know that NYC will love her!
At 4 pm we met for one final Online Comms meeting in her office, busted out the cake and some champagne and honored Jenn’s 2 years of accomplishments.
Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Strawberries
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about two medium-sized lemons – you’ll only need one lemon’s juice, so after zesting store the second lemon in a zip-lock bag or Tupperware to keep it fresh)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about one lemon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups whole strawberries, washed and dried completely, then thinly sliced
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) at room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons milk or buttermilk as needed
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour 3 9-inch round pans.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- With an electric mixer with paddle attachment or stand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down the sides as necessary.
- Beat in the lemon zest and the vanilla.
- Mix the lemon juice and the buttermilk together.
- Add the buttermilk/lemon mixture and the flour mixture to the batter in thirds. Pour 1/3 the flour mixture, then 1/3 the buttermilk mixture, beating until just combined, then repeat.
- Divide batter evenly between pans.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
- Beat butter and cream cheese, add in vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk.
- Beat in powdered sugar.
- Add more milk or buttermilk as necessary to reach a spreadable consistency.
- Choose flattest layer for the bottom.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake and cover it with thinly sliced strawberries (make sure your strawberries are completely dry).
- This is a little different but worked quite well: instead of putting cake layer 2 directly on top of the strawberries, first spread a thin layer of frosting on the underside of it. So it goes: cake layer 1, thin layer of frosting, strawberries, thin layer of frosting, cake layer 2, etc.
- Repeat between layers 2 and 3. If your cake appears unstable, push spaghetti noodles down through the layers to keep it upright (but warn people eating the cake about the potential for spaghetti; Mama rules: whomever gets a piece of spaghetti in their slice gets to make a wish!)
- Frost the outside of the cake completely. Store in the refrigerator, but take out at least an hour before serving.