Naked Lemon Layer Cake filled with Lemon Curd & Vanilla Buttercream

Naked Cake!


Just to be clear, that means no frosting on the outside…


Naked cakes are being increasingly popular, especially for weddings, and whilst they are a LOT less work, I am still undecided on if I am a fan or not.  I’ll let you know later.

Nakedness worked SO well for this cake though.  It had a rich and delicious filling and it didn’t need frosting smeared all over the outside as well.

As you may know by now, I have been busy with my course in wedding cakes for the past 4 months, and in thinking about my assignment and my flavour development, I have been doing work on some options, this being one of them.  And even though my course is now wrapped, and I didn’t go with Lemon Cake for my final, (I will soon share my assignment work and the recipe I did go with), this cake is SUCH a winner!  It’s more than just a cake, it’s dessert in itself.  It’s so incredibly fluffy, with  heaps of lemon heaven all layered into one.

Just ask my Mom, she went mad for this cake, and she is really not much of a dessert / cake person.  I took this cake over to my parents house and we shared it after a braai (barbeque).  My mom tucked into the left overs the following day, and then asked me 2 days ago when I am making this cake again.  I also took half to my in-laws, and they ALSO fell in love with this cake.

The cake itself turned out really fluffy and light and lemony but not overpowering on the lemon front.  The lemon curd is one of my fave’s and I use this recipe often.  I paired it with a thick, creamy vanilla buttercream because I didn’t want to overdo the lemon, and wanted the cake and the curd to be the stars of the show, and the vanilla buttercream really complimented the cake in all its buttery creaminess.  Man, I wish I had this cake now so I could eat a big slice!  It’s a keeper recipe for certain.  I mean, tell me you don’t want to eat this picture right now!


Naked Lemon Layer Cake filled with Lemon Curd and Vanilla Buttercream

Makes three round 8” cake pans

Adapted from Martha Stewart


3 cups all-purpose flour

3t baking powder

1t baking soda

½ t salt

1 cup salted butter, cubed and at room temperature

2 cups granulated (caster) sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

2t vanilla extract

Zest of 2 lemons


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C and either grease and flour dust cake pans or line with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk it to mix and set aside.
  3. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter for about 2 minutes.  Then, keeping the mixer on a slow speed, add the sugar in small amounts.  Once all the sugar is added, beat the mixture until pale and fluffy for about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.
  5. At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix again to ensure the ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the batter in three parts, mixing after each addition until just incorporated. Do not overmix the batter at this point.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins and bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake tins from the oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes, then tip out the cakes carefully onto wire racks to allow them to cool completely before layering and filling.

Lemon Curd Ingredients (makes 1 ½ cups)

3 large egg yolks

Zest of ½ lemon

¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

6 T granulated (caster) sugar

4T unsalted butter, cubed


  1. In a small pan over a medium heat, mix together the yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and ensuring to stir down the sides and bottom of the pan.  Continue for about 7 minutes until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter one piece at a time, stirring in with the spoon until the consistency is smooth.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a cool bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap so it sits directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming.  Let the mixture cool and then refrigerate it until firm for at least 1 hour.

Buttercream Ingredients

1 ½ cups salted butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup whipping cream

1t vanilla extract


  1. In a bowl fitted to an electric mixer, cream the butter until very smooth, then whip it for about 4 minutes on a medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar ½ a cup at a time, combining after each addition.
  3. Add the cream and vanilla and combine well for about 2 minutes on a medium speed.
  4. Finally whip the buttercream for 2 minutes on a high speed.

To assemble the cake, spread buttercream onto the first layer then pipe the lemon curd onto the buttercream in a thin layer.  Sandwich the next layer on top of that and repeat.  Lightly dust the cake with caster sugar through a sieve before serving.




Until next time…


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