Sweet & savory country cooking from my table to yours!


Triple Lemon Cake


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My friend Shirley asked that I make her a lemon cake for her birthday a few days ago.  She’s very picky, I might add.  She didn’t want lemon curd or any type of mousse or pudding in the cake or between the layers.  I knew I would have to stick to Lemon Butter Cream Frosting for this one.  This is one cake I couldn’t wait to experiment with, because I absolutely love lemon anything, especially cake.  Lemon pound cake is usually moist but dense, while most regular lemon cakes are moist and light and fluffy.  I decided I wanted to come up with a cake that was somewhere in the middle…slightly dense, yet moist and very lemony.   I started with a basic vanilla batter and added in lemon zest, lemon juice and pure lemon extract, hence the name, Triple Lemon Cake.  After I baked the cake layers, I made a simple syrup, consisting of more lemon zest and lemon juice and brushed it on each layer.  When I whipped up the Lemon Butter Cream, I added more lemon zest, lemon juice and pure lemon extract.  The addition of cake flour, buttermilk and real butter resulted in a moist and slightly dense cake with a wonderful perfect lemony taste.

After I spread the wonderful Lemon Butter Cream on this cake, I just wanted to cut a huge slice and get a tall glass of cold milk.  Oh, but wait, I had to deliver this cake to my friend Shirley for her birthday, yet I couldn’t help it, I just had to cut a piece.  After all, I needed a picture for my food blog.  I figured I could very neatly slice a piece and replace it and she wouldn’t really notice.  Well anyhow, she did notice, but I didn’t hear any complaints from her when she was eating and sharing it with her friends.  The cake disappeared before I even had time to bring the Ice Cream to the table.  This Triple Lemon Cake was a huge hit with everyone, and it’s for sure a keeper.  I can’t wait to make it again when I can get to eat more than a small sliver of it.  I’ll admit that it takes a few minutes to get this cake ready to go in the oven, but it is so worth it!

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of my illustrated pictures of this recipe.  I like to illustrate my recipes very clearly for those who don’t bake or cook much.  If you don’t wish to look at the pictures, just scroll down past them to get to the recipe. 

Here’s how I made it…     

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First I prepared three 9″ round cake pans, by cutting three wax paper rounds and greasing and lightly flouring the paper and the insides of the pans…

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The next thing I did was sift some cake flour into a large bowl through a wire mesh strainer.  (You can also use a regular sifter)…

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Then I remeasured the cake flour into my wire mesh strainer, added some baking powder, salt and baking soda and resifted the cake flour and set it aside…

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Next I zested a couple of lemons…

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Then I squeezed some fresh lemon juice into a measuring cup and sit it aside…

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Next, I divided some egg yolks and whites and beat the whites in a mixing bowl until they formed stiff peaks.  I sit both aside…

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Then I placed some soft butter in the mixing bowl of my stand mixer.  I mixed the butter on medium speed until it was very creamy…

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Next I added some sugar and mixed the butter and sugar on medium speed until they were combined and creamy…

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And I added the egg yolks and mixed for about 30 seconds to incorporate them…

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I added the lemon zest, lemon juice, and some pure lemon and vanilla extract…

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And mixed everything together for about 30 seconds…

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Then I added half of my dry ingredients…

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Then my buttermilk…

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And the rest of my dry ingredients…

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And lastly I folded in the egg whites with a spatula.  Notice in the pictures below, how I folded in the egg whites by only folding them over 3-4 times with the spatula…

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Notice in the picture above that you can still see pieces of egg whites that are not blended in.  That’s fine  You’re not mixing them in all the way, just folding them in gently…

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And finally I spread the batter equally between the three prepared cake pans…

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And I baked them until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes came out clean…

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I ran a knife around the insides of the pans, gently shook them to make sure the cakes were loose and inverted them onto a wire rack.  I peeled off the wax paper rounds and left them to cool.

Whew!! Done with the cake itself.  Now this is when my little pea brain decided to make a quick lemon simple syrup to brush on the layers.  What the heck…it will only add more lemon flavor…

So here’s how I made the simple syrup, and yes it’s simple to make…

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I placed some fresh lemon juice, water, sugar and freshly grated lemon zest in a small saucepan over medium high heat.  I brought it to a boil and boiled for about one minute…

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Then I removed it from the heat and let it cool…

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Then I brushed the three cake layers with the simple syrup…

Now I was finally ready to make the frosting.  Whew…but so worth it…  As you see there are several steps to this cake, but none of them are difficult…

Here’s how I made the frosting…triplelemoncake - 45

First I placed some butter in the bowl of my stand mixer…

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And I mixed it on medium speed until it was nice and creamy…

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Next I added some fresh lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract…

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And a lot of powdered sugar.  I mixed it until it was very creamy and fluffy, adding a wee bit of milk…

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And I started spreading it on the cake by starting with the bottom layer….

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Then the second layer…

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And finally the third layer and the rest of the cake…

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Oh but wait….am I done with this cake?  What’s that on top of that cake?  Oh yes, I almost forgot, candied lemon rind.  Oh yes.  You don’t have to do this step if you don’t want to, but I thought what the heck, I might as well use up those leftover lemons.  Yep, I went for it…so here we go again…

Here’s how I made the candied lemon rind…

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First I took my handy little vegetable peeler/julienne slicer and peeled small julienne slices of the lemon zest from two lemons.  I love this little gadget.  If you don’t want to do the julienne zest you can always use slices of lemon to candy and decorate with…

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I placed one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a small saucepan and brought it to a boil…

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Then I dropped my julienned lemon zest pieces into the boiling sugar water…
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I reduced the heat to medium and let the lemon lemon zest boil for about 20 minutes…

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Then I transferred the lemon zest to a wire rack covered with paper towels and let them cool…

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Once they were cool, I dipped them in sugar…

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Voila!!  So easy…and so pretty for decorating…

Okay, if you’re a lemon lover like myself, you need to make this wonderful cake.  Don’t be intimidated by the steps.  They are all easy.  You can do this!!  You won’t regret it, I promise!!!!

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I hope you triple enjoy this cake!!!

Cindy @ My Country Table



Triple Lemon Cake

  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 90


A moist and slightly dense lemon cake, with lemon zest, lemon juice and pure lemon extract. It’s then frosted with a wonderful creamy lemon buttercream frosting!



For the Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks real butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Simple Syrup

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the Frosting

  • 2 sticks real butter, softened
  • 1 package, 8 ounce, cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 89 cups powdered sugar
  • Milk if needed for thinning frosting

For the Candied Lemon Zest Garnish (Optional)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of two lemons, cut into thin strips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line three 9″ round cake pans with wax paper rounds. Grease and lightly flour the insides of each pan and the wax paper rounds. Set aside.

For the Cake

  1. Measure and sift the cake flour into a large bowl. Measure the cake flour again, using the dip and level method. Sift the flour through a sifter or wire mesh strainer with the baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and set aside. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed until the whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until the butter is light and creamy, about one minute. Add the sugar and mix for about one more minute until the mixture is light and creamy again. Add the egg yolks and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla and mix for about 30 seconds to incorporate.
  4. Add one half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix on low to medium speed for a few seconds, just until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the buttermilk and mix for a few seconds to incorporate. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and smooth. Do not over mix.
  5. Spread the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans. Gently shake the pans and tap them lightly on a counter to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with only moist crumbs on it. Run a knife around the insides of the pans. Gently shake the pans up and down until you feel the cakes give way from the pans. Invert the cakes onto wire racks and peel off the wax paper rounds. Let cakes cool completely before frosting

For the Simple Syrup

  1. While the cake is baking, mix the sugar, water, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a small pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and let cool completely before brushing on the cake layers. Once the simple syrup has cooled, brush it on the three cooled cake layers.

For the Frosting

  1. Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for approximately one minute until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and pure lemon extract. Mix for about thirty seconds to incorporate. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is light and creamy. Add a tiny bit of milk of half and half to thin it down if necessary, for proper spreading consistency.

For the Candied Lemon Zest Garnish

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lemon zest. Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture for about twenty minutes and remove from heat. Transfer the lemon zest to a paper towel covered wire rack to cool. Dip the zest in sugar and use as a garnish for the top center of cake.


  • Serving Size: 12

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