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Yellow Cake with Lemon Filling


This rich yellow layer cake with sour-lemon filling and chocolate frosting has been one of Martha's favorites since she was a child. Buttermilk adds depth to the dense cake; the frosting creates an impressive presentation when spread atop it. To set the frosting, chill the frosted cake for about 10 minutes before serving.

  • Yield: Makes two 8-inch layers

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2001


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Lemon Filling Lemon Filling
  • 6 cups Rich Chocolate Frosting Rich Chocolate Frosting


  1. Arrange two racks in the center of oven, and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of two 8-by-2-inch buttered cake pans with buttered parchment paper. Dust the bottoms and sides of pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter at medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and continue until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides once or twice. Gradually add eggs, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, about 5 minutes.

  3. Slowly add the flour mixture on low speed, alternating with buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in vanilla.

  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes; rotate the pans in the oven if needed for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; set cakes, top side down, on wire racks, and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.

  5. To assemble, remove parchment paper from each cake. Reserve the one with flattest bottom surface to use as the top layer of the assembled cake. Place the other cake, top side down, on the serving platter as the first layer. Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of lemon filling to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Place remaining cake, top side down, on top, and press down slightly. If the kitchen is warm and filling seems runny, transfer the cake to the refrigerator to firm up the filling. Frost cake with chocolate frosting, and then chill until frosting sets, about 10 minutes; serve.

Reviews Add a comment

  • cakengiftsini
    22 MAY, 2017
    Superb!!! cake , i love this recipe and thanks to you for giving this super recipe. I will try this recipe recently. Thanks!!! Other site from which we make such wonderful cakes at various occasion is :
  • puan_kartina
    23 JUN, 2014
    this cake is superb! but it was so crumbly it fell apart when i took it out of the pan. I ended up eating the bits and pieces. note to self, lower the temperature and cook it longer, or maybe add an egg.
  • AZMomma
    22 MAR, 2009
    I just baked this cake and followed the directions and it came out awful! Perhaps it is due to the difference in our climate (Sonoran Desert) vs. the eastern seaboard, but the cake was like corn bread, not like a lovely, moist birthday that I was hoping to make. Very disappointing. I have baked many other cakes here and have never encountered this issue.
  • bosselmand
    16 FEB, 2009
    very moist cake. did not make the filling or the frosting in the recipe. made a strawberry filling and buttercream frosting instead. good recipe.
  • MS11244303
    17 JAN, 2009
    cake tasted great, but i had issues with the icing. the cake, while dense and rich, had a lite texture for a day after baking, but didn't keep well (dried out pretty quickly). the icing tasted great, but took at least 4 hours to set up in my refrigerator despite stirring every 15-20 minutes. if you want to use this as a ganache, set the cake on a wire rack with parchment underneath and drizzle the glaze over the cake. if you want a thick, fudgy icing, you need a lot of time.
  • AutumnSpirit
    26 NOV, 2008
    You have to stir it every 15 minutes while it is in the fridge for at least an hour or more. I frost the cake and let the cake set on the cake stand with frosting for at least several hours before placing the cover on. If you still find the frosting a bit too fudge like, you might try placing the entire, uncovered, frosted cake in the fridge to cool for 15-20 minutes. I would not leave the cake in the fridge for too long, as it will dry the cake out.
  • Janeele
    8 NOV, 2008
    i tried this recipe and was very good my whole family loved it
  • Nayda
    14 JUN, 2008
    This recipe was the reason i enter to this wonderful website after watching Martha in the Podcast in my iPod, love it!!! I'm going to prepare this cake for tomorrow's fathers day!