Happy birthday to youuuuu, happy birthday tooooo you! Happy birthdayyyy, Dear Dannnnnnnn….Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuu! And many morrreeeeee….on Channel Fourrrrrr….and Scooby Dooooooo….on Channel Twooooo — What? That’s not how the song goes? Are you sure? Well, alright then…
Anyway. As you may have guessed, it was Dan’s birthday this week. What did I get him? Well…what I really wanted was to order him some kind of singing/dancing birthday gram at work. BUT, I didn’t want him to murder me, so I restrained myself and bought him a Kindle Fire instead. Not as wickedly satisfying as imagining Dan reacting to a giant dancing teddy bear showing up in his office, but at least this way I get to play with a new toy too.
And, before you ask, I did make him a tasty birthday dinner. I wanted it to be a surprise, but Dan suspected something was going on long before he got home. Apparently I am not as sneaky as I think I am. Also, my dad called him to wish him a happy birthday and accidentally spilled the beans. (“So I hear Tina made you a delicious steak dinner for your birthday!”)
Oh well. I tried! And hey, I made him a birthday cake, too! A light and fluffy lemon-yogurt layer cake with frothy, lemony whipped cream cheese frosting. It was tangy, delicate-y sweet, packed with bright, lemony good flavor, and completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It’s not chocolate, but this is still one damned good cake, guys.
Happy birthday, Dan!
Lemon Lover’s Layer Cake
** The cake I made was 3 layers, but the recipe below actually only makes 2. I really wanted 3 layers though, so I made 2 batches and used the fourth layer for something else.
- 1-1/2 cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature.
- 1 tsp lemon zest (~1 lemon) + more for garnish (optional)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
- Fold vegetable oil gently into batter.
- Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until knife in center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for cooling.
- While your cake layers cool, make your lemon syrup/glaze. Bring 1/3 cup lemon juice + remaining 1/3 cup sugar to a simmer in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.
- When your cake layers have cooled for about 10 minutes, pour lemon-sugar mixture over each layer and allow it to soak in. Set aside while you make your frosting.
- In a large bowl, whip cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whip your heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
- Add the whipped cream to your bowl of whipped cream cheese and fold gently to incorporate.
- Gently stir in lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Chill frosting for at least 30 minutes.
- Turn your cake layers out onto a cutting board and trim the sides/top as necessary to get rid of the brown bits.
- Place one layer on a serving plate/cake stand. Spread a generous layer of frosting on top. Lay the other cake layer on top of the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting on top of that.
** You can frost the sides of the cake too, but it is impossible for me to do that and not make a huge mess. This is my favorite lazy-chef method of cake frosting. I personally think cakes look prettier this way, don’t you?
- Sprinkle the top of your cake with lemon zest.
- Chill cake until ready to serve.
- Slice and enjoy!