Lemonade Layer Cake

Lemonade Layer Cake

It’s been a while since I posted a dessert here, mainly because I’ve been trying to stay away from things like that, but also because I haven’t found anything that interested me. But since it’s the first week of Spring, I decided I wanted to make a dessert that was light and fruity, nothing chocolate or heavy (which is my usual preference for desserts). So when I was flipping though my beloved Cooking Light cookbook, this recipe jumped right out at me.

But I have a confession: I haven’t made many layer cakes before. Most of the ones I’ve tried have been unmitigated disasters with uneven and/or rounded layers and frosting catastrophes aplenty. So I was bracing myself for another un-perfect cake, but it turns out I didn’t need to worry. This cake should be called “Baby’s First Layer Cake”. Seriously, it’s really easy to make and I didn’t have any of the problems I normally have. For one, the tops didn’t puff up and get rounded like many cakes I’ve baked (I know I could slice them off, but let’s just say I’m not too good with the cutting). Both layers were perfectly flat. I also used a trick I picked up somewhere about using my kitchen scale to weigh each pan after I poured in the batter, that way I could get exactly equal sized layers.

Lemonade Layer Cake

The frosting was also very easy to make. Since it’s mostly cream cheese, you don’t have to worry about trying to whip egg whites or butter into submission like most of the frostings I’ve had problems with. You just need to make sure the cream cheese is very cold or else the frosting could turn out too thin. When I first attempted frosting the cake, I was having some trouble since it was a bit crumbly and the top and sides were tearing when I tried to spread it on but then I remembered another trick (I love the internet!) and froze both cake layers for about 30 minutes. After that, frosting them was a snap.

Lemonade Layer Cake

I’m glad I made this cake because it is delicious and as an added bonus I seem to have finally found a cake that my boyfriend actually likes. I think a lot of it has to do with the lemony cream cheese frosting, which is undoubtedly the best part. But the cake is extremely moist and fluffy and has a very light lemony taste that takes it over the top from being a boring white cake. It really is a perfect spring or summer cake. I can imagine it being served with tea, or lemonade, of course! I can also see it being a refreshing, light ending to a heavy ham-laden Easter dinner.

Lemonade Layer Cake

Lemonade Layer Cake

adapted from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

Dessert | Servings: 1 9″ cake (16 servings)
Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 2 hours



  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 6 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 3 tbsp. thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free or low fat buttermilk


  • 2 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 tsp. thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (8 oz.) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, very cold (if it’s softened the frosting will be too thin)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Coat 2 (9 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
  2. Combine sugar, butter, lemon rind, lemonade concentrate and vanilla in a large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and beat well.
  5. Add all the buttermilk and beat again. Then beat in the remaining flour.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pans evenly. I weighed both pans on my kitchen scale to make sure they have the about same amount in each. Sharply tap pans once on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is cooking, start preparing the frosting. Place butter, lemon rind, lemonade concentrate, vanilla and cream cheese in a large mixer bowl and beat at high speed until fluffy.
  9. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed just until blended. Don’t overbeat!
  10. Chill in refrigerator for at least an 1 hour.
  11. When cake is completely cooked and the frosting has been chilled, spread 1/2 cup of frosting over one cake layer. Top with the other layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. To have a much easier time frosting the cake, I recommend putting the completely cooled layers in the freezer for about half an hour first.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Store cake, loosely covered, in the refrigerator.

Nutrition info:

Serving size: 1 slice
Calories: 322
Fat: 9.9g
Carbohydrates: 54.1g
Fiber: .5g
Protein: 5g

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  1. what do you think of that CL cookbook? reccommend it?
    .-= tia @buttercreambarbie´s last blog ..Honey Pecan Bars =-.

    • Definitely recommended, it’s one of my favorites. When I first got it, I thought the recipes were a bit overcomplicated, but honestly, as I’ve gone through it I think it’s made me a better cook and it’s made me experiment with ingredients that I had never used before. There’s lots of good stuff that doesn’t seem like it could be light at all, plus lots of variation and different kinds of cuisines. I have another Cooking Light cookbook of simple/fast recipes called Fresh Food Fast that is great as well.

      • Can you make this the night before Easter dinner?–I’m making dessert but my mom will be busy busy busy in the kitchen making dinner the day of so to stay out of her way, I want to bake before ….

        • You can definitely make this the day before. Because of the cream cheese frosting, the cake needs to be stored in the fridge so it may work better to make the cake layers the day before and then assemble and frost the cake on Easter. I found the cake to be easier to frost when the layers were chilled beforehand anyway. Otherwise, you can just store the whole cake in the fridge and bring it out an hour or two before serving to let it come to room temp.

  2. ALways good to please the boyfriend!!!!! Whata perfect cake to start off Springs!
    .-= leslie´s last blog ..Pretzel Sugar Cookies =-.

  3. You did a perfect job on the cake, it looks beautiful and delicious!

  4. Looks like a perfect dessert for spring. With my backyard lemon tree now laden with fruit, you’ve given me a great way to make use of at least a few of them. 😉

  5. Love lemony cakes!

  6. I made a pink grapefruit cake and loved it, recipe is on my blog:) I can’t wait to try this citrus cake next! Yum!

  7. I have a dwarf variegated Pink Eureka Lemon tree, it has pink flesh and is touted to make ‘real’ pink lemonade. That would be fun with this recipe and I wouldn’t be adverse to add a drop of color. It would also be great for a ‘girl’ baby shower. The recipe looks very reliable to me.