Lemon Curd Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Tomorrow is my older sister’s birthday. Selby is now to the point where she doesn’t like telling everyone how old she is, though I will tell you she isn’t “old” at all- she’s not even 30 yet. That birthday is next year ;). Selby, Kevin, and their adorable baby Jack visited Robert and me two weeks ago and we celebrated her birthday early. When I asked her what type of cake she was craving, she said she wanted lemon and lots of it. I perused my cookbooks and found this recipe from Martha Stewart. WithΒ  ingredients of lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon curd, I knew this would be right up her alley. The cake is delicate and moist and the layers are sandwiched with lemon curd to add an extra lemon punch. This was my first time making Swiss meringue buttercream and I will definitely be making it again. It’s fluffy and light, but richer than whipped cream frosting; and adding in the lemon curd makes the final product a lemon-lovers dream. My sister loved it and Robert, who normally isn’t a lemon enthusiast, really enjoyed it as well. Next year, I am hoping Jack will be able to enjoy a few bites of birthday cake. πŸ™‚

Side note- I wanted to make my own lemon curd for the cake, but I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do so. Lemon curd can be a bit pricey, but the Trader Joe’s version is only $2.99 per jar and quite delicious.

The beautiful birthday girl and her 5-month-old little man!

Lemon Curd Cake with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Printable Version


For the Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups lemon curd (to fill between the cake layers)

For the Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd


For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 9×2 inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with flour. Into a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine the sour cream, zest and juice. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the sour cream mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat just until combined- don’t overmix!

Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until golden brown and a test comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Flip the cake pans out of the pan and allow to cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, carefully cut each layer in half horizontally (I placed the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes before doing this to make it easier to cut). Place one of the layers on a cake plate and spread generously with lemon curd. Place the next layer on top and repeat.

For the Frosting

Set a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer over a saucepan of simmering water. Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add the butter, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again. Beat in lemon curd. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

Place in the fridge and allow to cool slightly before icing the cake.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Reiko says:

    Would this frosting hold up as a wedding cake frosting? I am making a 3 tiered cake. 14″, 10″, and 6″. The frosting suggested for the cake recipe is a whipped cream frosting. . .I’m afraid it is not going to hold up. Because this one is a meringue I thought it would be a better way to go. Thanks for your help in advance if you can help. My first wedding cake. πŸ™‚ I look forward to it.

    1. Lolly says:

      Yes I think it will be much more stable than whipped cream. It does tend to melt in warm environments those, so hopefully the venue is cool!

  2. Well, this just looks delicious! I adore anything with lemon curd in it!

  3. Kankana says:

    This cake sounds like my fav type .. I am a lemon lover πŸ™‚ You have done the frosting so neatly and presented it so beautifully. That cutie lil man .. SO adorable and happy birthday to your sis πŸ™‚

  4. Chrissy says:

    This cake looks wonderful! I love anything with lemon in it! πŸ™‚

  5. Amy says:

    What a beautiful and delicious sounding cake! How perfect for your sister’s B-day, I’ll bet the cake was devoured in no time ;)!

  6. Kelly says:

    Wow your cake is absolutely beautiful, looks sooo delicious! Impressive! πŸ™‚

  7. Selby says:

    Oh wow, this post is wonderful! The cake was so delicious. After I had one piece (a large piece) I was later hovering over the lemon treat in the kitchen forking out yet another piece. So good. Love you sis! Maybe I will learn to bake wonderful treats like you by your 29th! πŸ™‚

  8. What a beautiful cake! I wish my frosting looked that great when i frosted a cake!

  9. Lilly says:

    Lovely birthday cake! And very cute pics of your sister and her baby. You should try to make your own lemon curd it is so easy and super duper jummy.

  10. Wonderfully garnished – the lemon curls are very cute! The cake appears scrumptious and the birthday looks like it was a fun occasion!

  11. Luciana says:

    Amazing Cake! It looks delicious!

    Thanks for the add on Foodbuzz!
    Have a nice weekend!

  12. What a gorgeous sister and such a cute little baby! I’m sorry. I had to skip back to the actual post after a few “awwww’s” over the wee cutie pie. Thank you for the TJ find. Always good to know where to find good baking ingredients. And such a lovely frosting job on a cake that sounds delish!

  13. What a nice summertime cake! Happy birthday to Selby! I am sure she enjoyed every bite of this cake. Wish I could have had a slice-simply delicious.

  14. Dawnie says:

    What a beautiful cake! Wow

  15. Ann says:

    Stunning cake! There is nothing in the world like Italian or Swiss Buttercream! They are temperamental – so I know how much work it was to make that cake…and it’s STUNNING! I love the idea of lemon curd in the frosting! Really amazing!

  16. Liz says:

    Beautiful cake!!! The lemon curd takes it over the top~

  17. Liz says:

    WOW! Beautiful cake…the lemon curd takes it over the top!

  18. Jessy says:

    Your cake is beautiful! I bet it tastes awesome!

  19. Jennifer says:

    mmmm…looks delicious! late at night, i’m alone at the bakery i work at; it’s been taking all of my willpower not to devour a lemon curd cake in the case. i might have to make this πŸ™‚

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