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Martha's Favorite

White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

  • Yield: Makes two 9-inch cakes
White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, April 2006


  • 3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 large egg whites
  • Seven-Minute Frosting
  • 1 cup Lemon Curd


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.

  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

  3. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.

  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.

  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a serving plate, cut side up. Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, pipe frosting around the perimeter. This dam will prevent the lemon curd filling from seeping out. Fill cake with lemon curd. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread entire cake with frosting, swirling to cover.

Reviews (20)

  • Tizzylish22 31 Aug, 2014

    I was very disappointed with this birthday cake. Why is there 3 sticks of butter in a white cake that is supposed to be light and fluffy? The lemon curd and frosting were fine but the cake was so heavy . More like a pound cake than a white cake....My guests were very polite and ate their pieces but nobody wanted to take a piece home with them...Never doing this recipe again...

  • cmazzy 10 Mar, 2014

    Made the cakes and the lemon curd Saturday.
    (Lemon curd is very tasty, but too much for a single layer)
    Very stiff cake batter, very hard to fold in the egg whites.
    Baked it in 3 9" pans - 2 pans would have been too small.
    Took longer to bake than stated - even in 3 pans.
    Made frosting on Sunday - very good but enough to cover two 3 layer cakes.
    Once assembled, cakes slipped and slid on the curd filling.
    Had to use skewers to keep the layers lined up.

  • Kate McKenna 27 Aug, 2013

    Outstanding! I am a pie maker, not comfortable with cakes. In the past I was successful with a Martha's chocolate cake recipe so I went on MS web site to look for my next challenge, a white cake recipe. This recipe is a great find for me. My guests all requested I make this cake again. It was all I wanted it to be, similar to what my grandmother made. This recipe has given me the confidence to volunteer to make friends or family a birthday cake. I did not make the lemon curd.

  • Cody Chester 8 Mar, 2013

    great cake

  • Cody Chester 8 Mar, 2013

    great cake

  • hapatite 30 Sep, 2012

    I didn't like folding in the egg white mixture because it left pockets of egg white that baked differently (or didn't bake) than the rest of the cake. I wouldn't make this cake again, especially since it didn't really taste that great after baking. I'd rather save the time and money and make a white cake mix or a yellow cake.

  • AshleyKChicago 7 Jul, 2011

    This cake was very good. The lemon filling was perfect for summertime. I opted to use a butter cream frosting instead of the 7 minute frosting, and they paired nicely.

  • brickles 13 Mar, 2011

    I made this for my daughter's birthday cake and it was a huge success! I made a tiered cake using 2 9-inch rounds and 2 6-inch rounds, using two batches of batter; the 6-inch round batch made the rounds and 8 cupcakes (which were used to "test" the frosting and lemon filling). The cakes had a light crumb, but help up to the lemon filling and strawberry frosting amazingly well.

  • hypatia163 1 Feb, 2011

    This cake is delicious. But I must have done something wrong, because it slid and oozed everywhere! A complete disaster! The curd was really thick, so I don't know what went wrong! Any thoughts? I made the frosting dam per the recipe as well...It was very sad. But it tastes so good we laughed and ate it. But I'd like to know why this happened for next time!

  • davelauc 30 Jan, 2011

    How would I convert this recipe to make two 10-inch cakes?

  • Tor1985 11 May, 2010

    Has anyone covered this in fondant?? I wonder if it will hold up under the weight??
    It sounds really good, can't wait to make it!

  • Kassie_s 15 Jun, 2009

    This cake is delicious and comes out absolutely gorgeous! I made the cake with the lemon curd and frosting just as the recipe said and it couldn't have looked or tasted better! Great for parties.

  • clarasmommy 7 Oct, 2008

    I was looking for a highly rated recipe for my daughter's first birthday cake. I was not disappointed! This cake is delicious. Cream cheese frosting topped it off for me!

  • ndt2592 30 Aug, 2008

    Truly one of the best cakes I've ever moist, so dense...

    I made mine with buttercream frosting instead, since I'm not fond of lemon curd. Everyone had two helpings!

  • jimsqueeniechef 9 Jul, 2008

    This is one of my favorite cakes; next is yellow cake with chocolate frosting; a really good carrot cake; there are probably a couple more!!! This one is the yummiest (is that a word????) lol-- It is also very good with a raspberry filling. Vicki

  • hamster330 8 Apr, 2008

    I have made this cake several times because it was sooo good! It's ideal for someone's birthday. I have made different fillings other than lemon curd, they all came out great. I'll repeat this recipe again in the future for sure.

  • FridaB 28 Jan, 2008

    I love this cake! It's very good.
    But every time I do the bottoms i have to have them in the oven for much more time than in the recepie. l have an electrical oven, not gas, can that be why?

  • NHolewinski 22 Jan, 2008

    Has anyone tried to use this batter as cupcake batter? And if so what were the temperature and time conversions?

  • ellavanilla 19 Nov, 2007

    look soooo fluffy, moist and yummy!!!! can't wait to try it.

  • moe4life 8 Nov, 2007

    This is one White Layer Cake recipe that my husband, Michael absolutely loves. I have tried several recipes for white layer cake, but this is the best.

    Very moist and flavorfull for the both of us. Will defintely serve to guests in our home.

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