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Luscious Layer Cakes from Scratch

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Luscious Layer Cakes from Scratch

Layers of Lemon Love

Spring hits and I’m all about the lemon desserts all season long and on through the summer! I love a good tart, lemon treat and have shared many of my favorites on Home Cooking Rocks. From Lemon Meringue Pie to Fresh Lemon Ice Cream and even Lemon Macarons, the bright, sunny flavors of lemon are always a hit.

But if you really want to impress, there’s nothing quite like a luscious lemon layer cake. I’ve been baking and decorating layer cakes for years, and this Lemon Mousse Cake is hands-down one of my all-time favorites. Tender lemon cake layers are stacked high and filled with a creamy lemon mousse and tangy lemon curd. Frosted with a silky lemon buttercream, it’s like a little slice of sunshine.

Lemon Cake Perfection

While I love a good lemon cake, I’ve found that many recipes can fall flat – literally. They’re either too dense and heavy or they bake up thin and sad. Not this one, my friends. This lemon cake is light, moist, and bursting with fresh lemon flavor in every bite.

The secret is in the reverse creaming method, which results in an incredibly tender crumb. I also use both lemon juice and zest to pack the maximum lemon punch. And a touch of buttermilk keeps the cake nice and moist, even days after baking.

Once the cakes are baked and cooled, I like to brush each layer with a simple lemon syrup spiked with a splash of limoncello liqueur. This little extra step ensures the cake stays super moist and infuses even more lemon flavor.

A Luscious Filling

Now, the real star of this show is the lemon mousse filling. Airy and light, yet intensely lemon-flavored, this mousse is the perfect complement to the moist lemon cake. And the addition of a layer of tangy lemon curd between the cake and mousse takes it over the top.

According to Southern Living, “Fresh berries and strawberry-flavored gelatin give this dessert its pretty pink hue. And the vanilla buttercream is a perfect match for the cake layers.” In this case, we’re swapping out the strawberries for tart lemon curd, and the vanilla buttercream for a silky lemon buttercream.

The secret to the perfect mousse texture is all in the tempering of the gelatin. By whisking a bit of the cooled mousse into the melted gelatin, we bring the two components together seamlessly, resulting in a smooth and creamy filling.

Frosting Finesse

Speaking of that lemon buttercream, it’s the perfect finishing touch for this cake. Silky and light, it complements the lemon flavors without being overpowering. I like to use a combination of lemon zest, lemon juice, and a splash of limoncello to really make the lemon flavor shine.

As Eileen Gray from Baking Sense mentions, “The limoncello makes the flavor extra special. Of course, if you can’t or don’t want to do liquor you can leave it out. You can use water to bloom the gelatin. But even if you generally aren’t a fan of liquor flavors I suggest you give it a try. The limoncello adds a deep lemon flavor without leaving a boozy aftertaste.”

The buttercream comes together quickly using the Italian meringue method, which results in a light and fluffy texture. And the best part? You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the cake.

Assembling the Masterpiece

When it’s time to put this lemon layer cake together, it’s all about taking it step-by-step. First, I level the cake layers to ensure perfectly flat surfaces. Then I brush each layer with the lemon-limoncello syrup, allowing it to soak in.

Next, I pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge of each layer to create a “dam” to hold in the lemon mousse filling. A generous dollop of the velvety lemon curd goes in the center, followed by a swirl of the airy lemon mousse.

Finally, I frost the entire cake with the silky lemon buttercream. I like to keep the sides a bit rustic, but you can certainly go for a super smooth finish if you prefer. A few lemon slices or a dusting of powdered sugar on top finish off this showstopping dessert.

A Lemon Lover’s Dream

This Luscious Lemon Mousse Cake is truly a labor of love, but I promise it’s worth every minute. The combination of moist lemon cake, creamy lemon mousse, tangy lemon curd, and silky lemon buttercream is simply out of this world.

It’s the perfect dessert for any special occasion, from birthdays and anniversaries to showers and holidays. But honestly, who needs an excuse? This cake is good enough to serve any time, any day. Just be prepared to have your guests begging for the recipe!

So gather your ingredients, clear your schedule, and get ready to bake up a lemon lover’s dream. With a little patience and a lot of love, you’ll have a showstopping layer cake that’s sure to impress. Enjoy!


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