Yellow Cake with Lemon Filling

2 8-inch layers

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.



  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.

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