Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

For this over-the-top cake recipe I put together some of my favorite parts to make one fabulous cake. Like a delicious old fashioned 1-2-3-4 cake, lemon cheese filling- another old favorite, and the classic cream cheese icing. It’s a beautiful cake especially when you add fresh berries for serving. I love the story behind 1-2-3-4 cake. It gets its name from the proportions- one portion of butter, two of sugar, three of flour, and four of eggs. I like this recipe because it gives step by step directions that result in a perfect cake. The lemon cheese filling comes from an old southern cookbook, and as for cream cheese icing, well enough said. What’s better than cream cheese icing?

1-2-3-4 Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9 inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or waxed paper cut to fit. Butter and flour the paper.

Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on low speed until soft. Increase the speed and beat for 1-2 minutes until it looks like lightly whipped cream. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time starting slow and increasing speed until well whipped about 7-8 minutes. Mix the eggs and vanilla together in a small bowl and add a fourth at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Don’t worry if it looks curdled.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed paper. Add a third of the flour mixture into the batter and beat to incorporate; then add half the milk, and beat in incorporate. Repeat with the flour and milk, ending with flour and beating about 1 minute, only enough to incorporate the flour. When the flour is incorporated, divide the batter equally between the three pans. Tap the pans lightly against the counter and smooth the top of the batter.

Bake 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Move the pans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the inside edge of the cake pans to loosen. Turn the cakes out upside down onto the wire rack and peel off the waxed paper. Let cakes cool completely. The cakes can be made ahead to this point. Well-wrapped, they will freeze up to 4 months.

Lemon Cheese Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in a little water
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 eggs yolks

In a double boiler combine all ingredients and cook until thick. Let cool before spreading between layers of cake.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 16-oz box 4X powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

In an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla, mixing well.

Cake must be completely cool before frosting. Frost the lemon cheese filling between the layers and ice the top and side of the cake with the cream cheese icing.