Tag Archives: cake

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m not a huge baker—not from scratch anyway. I make no secret of the fact that I think boxed cake mixes are not only acceptable but quite delicious. Sure, I doctor them up and get creative, but it’s not everyday that I make a cake from scratch. When I saw this recipe for lemon cake from Cooking Light (and the great reviews it got), however, I decided it was worth the effort.

I did stray from the original recipe when it came to the frosting, choosing instead to use my go-to recipe for cream cheese frosting. The result was ah-mazing! Seriously, this is one of the best cakes I have had. I love lemon desserts, so maybe I am just a sucker for the tart mixed with the sweet, but this was really, really good. Yes, my cake was a little lopsided and not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, but I somehow didn’t mind that too much as I was shoveling it into my mouth!

lemon cake with cream cheese frosting

Lemon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½tsp salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


16 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Lemon rind spirals (optional, for garnish)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

4. Place granulated sugar and ½ cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tbsp lemon rind and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

5. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. To prepare icing, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar.

7. Place 1 cake layer on a plate and carefully level with a knife if necessary; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake and around sides. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

I have a confession to make. Before now, I had never made cupcakes and frosting from scratch at the same time. I had make cupcakes from scratch and then cheated with frosting from a tub—and vice versa. So this was a big deal for me. It made me feel like I should call my grandma to tell her because I knew, as a former wedding cake baker and caterer, she would be as proud of me as I was of myself.

After my Sunday marathon baking session, I take my proverbial hat off to people who bake from scratch all the time because it is no joke. The result was outstanding, but I have officially decided that I prefer cooking to baking—it’s less strict … more room for deviating from the recipe. But if you love baking, you have to try these cupcakes. They were so good that even I {the self-proclaimed non-baker} will be making them again! 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

For the Cupcakes:
Yields 24 cupcakes 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Blend in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, blend together the sour cream and vanilla.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake until the cupcakes are just set and pale golden, about 20-22 minutes.  Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost as directed below.


For the Frosting:

9½ oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sour cream


1. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt.

3. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.

4. Frost cupcakes immediately before the chocolate hardens and the frosting sets.

Recipes from Annie’s Eats


Orange Apricot Cupcakes

When I was planning my wedding, I went to a bridal convention with a friend. It was there that I tasted the best cake/filling combo I had ever had—orange cake with Grand Marnier and apricot filling. I couldn’t make it happen for my wedding day, but I’ve been making cakes and cupcakes in this delicious combo ever since! It’s especially good with homemade cream cheese frosting and a little sprinkle of orange zest.

 Now, I have made cupcakes from scratch, but for these, I usually just grab a box of yellow or white cake mix and get to work. The light, spongy texture of box-mix cupcakes works really well for filling {and I’ve never had any complaints}! 

Orange Apricot Cupcakes

1 box butter yellow cake mix
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest plus a little extra for garnishing
1 jar apricot preserves

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
½ stick of butter, brought to room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp whipping cream
4 cups powdered sugar


1. Preheat your oven to 325°. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, water, oil, orange juice and the tbsp orange zest using an electric mixer on medium speed.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners (yields approx. 24) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

4. Fill a decorating bag (fitted with a Wilton #12 decorating tip) with some of the apricot preserves. Insert the decorating tip into the top of each cupcake and fill with the preserves. It might take a couple of tries to get a feel for the right amount. Use a knife to level off any excess filling.

5. For the frosting, blend together the cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar. Slowly add in the whipping cream until your frosting is at the desired consistency.

6. Frost each cupcake, sprinkling the top with a bit of the extra orange zest for garnish. Enjoy!

Semi-Homemade Lemon Blueberry Cake

I was in the mood for lemon cake this weekend, so I decided to bake one. I had some yellow cake mix in the pantry, along with cream cheese frosting, so I decided to “enhance” them for some lemony deliciousness. If you have a favorite yellow cake or cream cheese frosting recipe, by all means use them. But I had the box stuff and a lot to do, so here we go!

Semi-Homemade Lemon Blueberry Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 can of cream cheese frosting

2 lemons

1 jar lemon curd

Fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 350° (325° if you’re using dark, nonstick pans). Grease two 8-inch cake pans.

Zest both lemons and squeeze the juice; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Beat using an electric mixer until the batter is smooth. Add half of the lemon zest and half of the lemon juice and mix another 30 seconds or so. Split the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool on wire racks.

Mix the remaining lemon juice and zest into the cream cheese frosting and chill in the refrigerator while the cakes cool. When the cakes are completely cooled, use a large bread knife to shave off the top of one of the cakes to create a flat surface. Spread the lemon curd on the flat cake surface and cover with fresh blueberries. Top the filling with the other cake and frost with the lemon cream cheese frosting.


Chocolate Cake in a Mug

I go through phases where I absolutely crave chocolate. I cannot get enough, and it doesn’t matter in what form it comes as long as it ends up in my tummy. These phases generally last three to five days every month, so I’m sure you ladies can relate. :) I was smack dab in the middle of one of these “phases” the other day and, having polished off the rest of the rocky road ice cream two days prior, I was experiencing chocolate withdrawal.

As I was puttering around on Pinterest, I came across a pin about coffee cake in a mug. Someone commented on the pin, “First chocolate cake in a mug and now this- what are you doing to me?!” I immediately started Googling chocolate cake in a mug to see if I had the necessary ingredients, and within five minutes, I was at my kitchen counter preparing two mugs of cake (no, they weren’t both for me—the hubby wanted to try it too!).

This cake isn’t going to win any culinary awards or rock your socks off, but in a pinch (or a PMS-induced craving), it works just fine! Next time, I think I’ll add chocolate chips to the batter or top the cake with ice cream or Cool Whip, since it was a bit dry. Also, the cake is pretty dense, so one mug of cake would have been plenty for Ryan and I to split.


Instant Chocolate Cake
Recipe ©2011 Food Network Magazine, LLC  

Whisk 1/4 cup flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oiland a dash of vanilla extract and salt in a large mug until smooth. Microwave until puffed, about 2 minutes.