Learn how to make this unique and light and fluffy lemon rosemary cake with lemon cream cheese frosting complete with step by step pictures. This is my favorite fluffy yellow cake recipe that always comes out tender and moist!
I made a cake this weekend. That sounds like a small statement. But listen to me when I say: this is a big statement!
Cake is my baking arch enemy. I have just had so many failures with cakes. If you saw my last post, you know that this was the cake I had planned to make for my birthday. I decided to make a giant cookie instead because I knew it would be far less stressful and much more enjoyable for me to eat. But I was determined to make this cake anyway. And man, am I proud of it!
We bakers are known for our patience. Well, let me tell you this: I am not patient! Not at all. And this cake took me all freaking morning to make so it also took all my energy to keep myself in the cake baking game. To keep myself from taking any shortcuts and to just plain finish. I give those wedding cake bakers mad cred. They deserve it.
I kept the look of the frosting on this one simple. The reasons for this is 3-fold. #1: I wanted it to look a little old fashioned. #2: I pretty much only like cream cheese frosting and it’s not the easiest to work with as far as decorating. #3: Let’s be honest, I don’t have any cake frosting skillz (with a z). This is the best I could do. One challenge at a time, folks! One challenge at a time.
The cake turned out really light and fluffy! I am pretty pumped about the success! So I wanted to try something different for this post. I did step-by-step photos to help your cake turn out as light and fluffy as mine did! Let me know how you feel about me doing my posts like this for the future. Helpful? Annoying?
Everything is going to go a lot more smoothly if you get all your mise en place (getting everything in it’s place) before you start. Trust me. Then you know you need to run out in the ice to get more sugar before you actually start mixing anything (not that I had that problem or anything).
Hopefully you also put those eggs and that buttermilk out in enough time to come to room temperature too! You want a fluffy cake right? Okay, then. Let’s do this right!
Preheat your oven to 350F! (not really sure why that deserved and exclamation mark)
Spray two 8″ or 9″ cake pans and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour and set pans aside while you get your batter together! (things are getting exciting! more exclamations!)
Gather up a large bowl, a sifter, the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar and set aside for later. Sift together everything (minus the 1/4 cup sugar).
I like to use a whisk to speed things along since I don’t have a hand crank sifter. Baker’s trick!
Give it all one more quick whisk to combine everything and set the dry ingredients aside.
Moving on to the wet stuff! Grab your egg yolks, melted butter, oil, vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest, and chopped rosemary.
And give them all a quick whisk together and set aside.
Whew! This is hard work.
Now whip your egg whites in the mixer with the whisk attachment. Stream in the 1/4 cup sugar you reserved earlier with the mixer on high just until stiff peaks form. Like those ^ up there!
You just made simple meringue yo! Good for you!
GENTLY move the meringue from the mixing bowl into a clean mixing bowl and set aside. GENTLY! Capiche?
Finally, we can start making the batter! Add that dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl and with the mixer on low speed gradually pour in the wet ingredients.
Mix for only about 10 seconds then shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Mix for about 20 more seconds on low speed and shut off. We don’t want to over develop the glutens here! We took all this time to get everything together let’s keep things light and tender!
GENTLY fold 1/2 the meringue into the batter being very careful not to deflate the meringue. GENTLY fold the rest of the meringue into the batter.
You will have a few white streaks in the batter. They will bake out. You want to fold as little as possible to keep the cake light and fluffy!
GENTLY divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. Are you noticing a trend? GENTLE!
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through.
Cool on a wire wrack. Ignore the imperfections! The top will become the bottom!
Make your frosting while the cake cools! Lemon cream cheese frosting!
Now frost your cake, take some pictures, and share with someone special!
The cake is not overly sweet and I am obsessed with the herbaceousness that the rosemary brings! You’ve probably noticed the thing I have for rosemary in baked goods. There were those one cookies and those one cinnamon rolls and those waffles too! If you aren’t down with it, leave it out! The cake with just lemon would be awesome too!
Hey! I baked a cake! And it doesn’t look terrible! And it tastes pretty darn awesome! Don’t worry, it will probably only take me like a year and a half to do another one.
One Year Ago:
Cheddar Jalapeno and Thyme Quick Bread
Two Years Ago:
Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Cake
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, minced
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 2T lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2½ cup confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. Dust pans with flour and tap out excess any excess.
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary and egg yolks.
- For the meringue: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium speed until foamy. With machine running, stream in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Gently transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add flour mixture to the empty stand mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix for about 10 seconds. Stop mixer and thoroughly scrape down the bowl. Mix again on medium for 20 more seconds just until combined.
- Using rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the meringue just until incorporated. Fold in the rest of the meringue. Be very gentle to not deflate the air in the meringue. You will have a few white streaks in the batter. Divide batter evenly between your prepared cake pans.
- Place pans on a half-sheet pan and bake on the center rack in the oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cake will begin pulling away Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and will no longer jiggle in the center when it is finished.
- Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the sides of the pans to loosen cakes then invert on a greased wire rack. Allow to cool completely (about 1 more hour) before frosting.
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
Tools I used for this recipe…