Birthday Cake Club : Lemon White Chocolate Cake
Zesty lemon and tangy cream cheese tame the sweetness of white chocolate in this bright and creamy cake.
Hi Bakers! Allow me to introduce you to this month’s Birthday Cake Club recipe: Lemon White Chocolate Cake. This light and creamy cake has a puckery lemon curd filling and the most luscious white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
For anyone celebrating their birthday this month (or the birth of someone they love), then please consider this zesty, creamy cake as an alternative to all the gingerbread and peppermint cakes that are typically made this time of year. Lemon and white chocolate are an unexpected perfect match. While white chocolate can sometimes be quite cloying, the cream cheese tames the sweetness.
I hope you are enjoying this free version of the Style Sweet Newsletter. Starting in the new year, the Birthday Cake Club series will be accessible to Bake Club+ members only. Be sure to subscribe and snag our holiday discount to keep receiving these spectacular layer cake recipes!
Know someone special celebrating a December birthday? Be sure to share this layer cake recipe!
Lemon White Chocolate Cake
5 tablespoons (70 g) unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of two lemons
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
Place the butter in a heat safe bowl. Set a mesh sieve on top of the bowl and set aside.
Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, and egg in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, while stirring slowly yet constantly with a heat-safe rubber spatula to keep the eggs from curdling. Reduce the heat if the sides of the pan begin to get too hot to the touch. Cook until the lemon curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon or registers 160°F on a candy thermometer.
Once thickened, remove the curd from the heat and strain through the mesh sieve into the butter. Stir the lemon curd until the butter melts and combines. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly to the surface of the curd and refrigerate until cool and thick.
Lemon curd may be made in advance and stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
Lemon Buttermilk Cake
1 ½ cups (195 g) cake flour
1 ½ cups (195 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
Zest of one lemon
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 ⅓ cup (315 ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease, flour, and line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub the ingredients together between your fingertips until fragrant and lemony. Add the butter. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate into the mixture before adding the next. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add half of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated. Stream in the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined and the batter is smooth (it will be quite thick).
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 32 to 36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. The cake layers are tall, but try not to over bake. They will be golden brown on top when done.
Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing them from their pans. Continue to let them cool completely before assembling.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 to 3 cups (240 to 360 g) confectioners’ sugar
9 ounces (255 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Pinch of salt
Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer), and mix on medium-low speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 cups (240 g) confectioners’ sugar on low speed and mix until incorporated. Bump up the speed and mix on medium speed until combined.
Add the remaining ingredients. Mix on medium speed until light and creamy, another 2 to 4 minutes. The frosting will lighten in color and become more aerated and fluffy when done. Mix in the remaining sugar until it is a spreadable consistency, or as needed.
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
1 cup fresh cranberries
¼ cup (50 g ) granulated sugar
Place ½ cup (100 g) sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cranberries and remove from the heat. Allow the cranberries to soak in the syrup for about 10 minutes.
Strain out the cranberries (saving the cranberry simple syrup for tea or cocktails). Place the syrup-covered cranberries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to dry out for about an hour.
Sprinkle the cranberries with ¼ cup (50 g) sugar and toss around until evenly coated. Use the cranberries to decorate your holiday desserts or use as a garnish for festive cocktails.
To create the white chocolate curls, heat a bar of chocolate in the microwave at half power in intervals of 30 seconds until slightly softened. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape against the long side of the bar. The chocolate should be just soft enough to curl with a little pressure from the peeler, but not melt in your hand. Allow the curls to fall onto a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
Once the cakes have completely cooled, use a long serrated knife to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally. You will have four cake layers.
Place one cake layer on a cake board or serving dish. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with some of the frosting, set aside.
Spread about ¼ cup of frosting on the cake with an offset spatula. It will be a very thin layer of frosting that acts as a barrier between the cake and lemon curd. Pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake to create a frosting dam. Fill the center with ⅓ of the lemon curd. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out until smooth.
Top with the next layer of cake and repeat. Place the last layer of cake on top, cut-side down. Crumb coat the cake in a thin layer of frosting then place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once chilled, frost the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Continue to frost the sides of the cake. The layer of frosting on the sides does not need to be thick or perfect since they will be mostly covered in chocolate curls.
Carefully press the chocolate curls onto the sides of the freshly frosted cake. Some of the curls will break, but that is okay. Decorate the top with the sugared cranberries.
Serving and Storage:
Serve the cake at room temperature. If not served right away, store the cake in the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature before eating.
Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This filling and frosting can be quite soft. If you are having trouble stacking the cake, refrigerate as you go. Crumb coat the sides as you stack to make sure no lemon curd slips out between the layers.
The frosting consistency relies on the temperature of the ingredients. The butter, cream cheese, and melted white chocolate should all be the same temperature. If too soft, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar or chill in the refrigerator very briefly (you don’t want the chocolate to turn solid again).