I made this cake for a dear friend and her soon-to-be husband and their beautiful baby daughter, Punky.
I doubled the cake recipe to make two layers. Then filled it with lemon curd and fresh blackberries. Frosted it with vanilla butter cream. Sprinkled on some sugar glitter. And decorated it with candied lemon slices and topped with fresh blackberries.
And can I just say … yum.
The recipes for the cake and frosting are very versatile and can be used to create a cake for any occasion and the flavor combinations are endless.
DOWNY YELLOW BUTTER CAKE
5 large egg yolks (3.25 oz / 95 g), at room temperature
3/4 cup (6.4 oz / 180 g) whole milk, at room temperature
1 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (9.3 oz / 260 g) cake flour
1 1/4 cups (8.8 oz / 250 g) sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 Tbsp (5 oz / 140 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the sides of an 8 by 3-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper round that has been cut to fit.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 cup (4.3 oz / 121 g) of the milk, and the vanilla.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (2.1 oz / 60 g) of milk and mix on low speed until moistened, about 15 seconds. Add the butter and beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth and aerated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg mixture in 3 batches, mixing on medium speed for 20 seconds and then scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pan midway through baking, until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center, 55 to 60 minutes. You can also test for doneness by listening to the cake: Remove the pan from the oven, set it on a wire rack, lower your ear to the cake, and listen. If you hear the cake snap, crackle, and pop, it needs a few more minutes in the oven. If it’s quiet, it’s done.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, and then run an offset spatula around the inside of the pan. Invert the cake onto the wire rack, lift off the pan, and remove the parchment. When the cake is cool enough to handle, after about 20 minutes, reinvert it so the top is facing up. Let cool completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before assembling.
Makes enough for one 8-inch cake, 4 dozen mini-cupcakes or 1 dozen regular-size cupcakes
455 g (2 cups / 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
455 g (1 pound) cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
910 g (2 pounds) confectioners’ sugar
Food coloring, if desired
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream the butter. Add the cream cheese a quarter at a time on medium. When it is incorporated, add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to lowest speed and slowly add the sugar. Crank it up too high speed and beat for 30 seconds until fully blended and fluffy. If using food coloring, stir in now.
CANDIED LEMON SLICES
2 small lemons
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
Cut lemons into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; discard seeds. Stir together sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large skillet over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add lemon slices, and simmer gently, keeping slices in a single layer and turning occasionally, 14 to 16 minutes or until slightly translucent and rinds are softened. Remove from heat. Place slices in a single layer in a wax paper-lined jelly-roll pan, using tongs. Cool completely (about 1 hour). Cover and chill 2 hours to 2 days. Reserve syrup for another use.