Triple Lemon Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

05 Apr

Happy Birthday Laurel

This past weekend we hosted an Easter Brunch for all of our Ottawa friends. But, not only was our brunch to celebrate Easter, it was also to celebrate our friend Laurel’s birthday.

I wasn’t quite sure what type of birthday dessert to prepare for her, so I enlisted Jeff’s help in determining the perfect dessert to serve. I gave many options, cake, *pie even an ice cream cake, but Jeff came back with cake and told me that her favourite flavours were lemon and vanilla. How incredible is that! A lemon and vanilla birthday cake, I knew that could be arranged!

*I was a bit worried that he would come back and tell me that her all time favourite dessert was some sort of double crusted pie – then I would have to torture myself and (try) to make a pie that was nice enough to present to Laurel for her birthday – but luck was on my side when the reply was for cake!

I immediately started searching the internet for a lemon cake recipe. There are a lot of them out there. I wanted something that would be a bit easier, as we were also preparing for brunch. When one of the hits in my Google search came back with a Kraft recipe, I knew I would have a fail-safe winner.

When I started looking over the ingredients, I was very excited! As you know, lemon is also one of my favourite flavours. This cake (well, actually it was a lemon loaf recipe, but you throw that batter into a couple of cake pans and you have transformed a loaf into a cake) didn’t just have one lemon element, or even two, no, it had three. THREE. I was definitely making this cake 🙂

The base of this cake recipe is a lemon flavoured boxed cake. I am not ashamed to admit that I love boxed cakes (Kerri, I know that you can also agree with this statement). They always turn out, they always taste good and they always stay moist. They really are great to have in your pantry for when you need to make a dessert in a hurry.

OK, so the first lemon flavour was the boxed cake, but then you add in lemon Jell-O. Kind of like making a poke cake, but instead of adding in the jelly after the cake was made, you add it to the cake batter. You would think that would be enough lemon, but in order to take this to the next level add in the zest of one lemon. Amazing!

In order to elevate this cake, I found a delicious buttercream icing recipe. You know, I used to make my buttercream with shortening and icing sugar, but now that I have made it with real butter, there is no way I will ever go back to shortening. Real butter buttercream just cannot be beat! To increase the lemon intensity, I added some lemon extract to the icing, for just a hint more lemon.

Well, the birthday cake was a hit! Laurel loved it, and so did the rest of our brunch guests. This recipe (for the cake and the icing) have been put into a safe place in my cookbook cupboard, because I know I will be making this again, guaranteed! 🙂

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Courtesy of:
Kraft – Triple Hit Lemon Loaves
Annie’s Eats – Whipped Vanilla Buttercream



  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package Lemon Jelly Powder
  • 1 boxed lemon cake mix
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4 eggs


  • 1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (3 sticks plus 2 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp coffee cream (10%)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Spray 2 – 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray.
  3. Add boiling water to jelly powder; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Mix cake mix, oil, lemon zest, jelly and eggs in large bowl with mixer until blended. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let cool completely on wire racks.


  1. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the icing sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated, add in the salt.  Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the heavy cream, vanilla and lemon extract on low speed just until incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 4-5 minutes.

Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Baking, Desserts, In a Pinch, Lemons, Memories


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2 responses to “Triple Lemon Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing

  1. Kerri

    April 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Box cake love.

    I am having visions of watermelon jello flavoured cake.


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