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This Vanilla Butter Cake with Lemon Cream and Berries is the perfect cake for those summer get-togethers with loved ones! Three layers of moist vanilla cake are filled with a whipped lemon cream cheese filling; and then enveloped in a sweet and tart lemon buttercream frosting and decorated with fresh berries! It’s the most delicious cake ever!
How This Vanilla Butter Cake with Lemon Cream and Berries Came to Be…
A couple of years ago I baked 3 whole tiers of this cake for a wonderful bride. Her only request was to have her wedding cake be white and have a delicious lemon cream in it.
I spent weeks recipe testing/lemon zesting, bringing my tester cakes over to my in-laws desperate for their HONEST opinions. This cake was going to be eaten by over 100 wedding guests, it HAD to be good. And, it was! Thankfully, the testings always got rave reviews. But most importantly, the bride loved it, and I got so many compliments on it from the wedding guests!
Practically three years later I’m finally sharing this recipe with you guys and I’m SO excited about it! (Especially because this version includes fresh berries!)
Tips on Baking The Cake:
Make it ahead of time!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither does this cake have to be. (Yes I just compared this cake to the city of Rome.) It may seem like there’s alot of steps to creating this masterpiece; but trust me, if you break it down into smaller goals the process won’t feel so intimidating.
My personal habit that always makes cake decorating SO much easier is to bake the cake layers ahead of time. Sometimes I freeze layers up to 2 months and take them out to thaw to the day that I need them. But most of the time I bake the layers the day before I need them.
I also whip up the lemon cream filling the day before cake assembly. It’s also an option to make the lemon buttercream frosting ahead of time too. That way, on the day of the big get-together your time will only be spent stacking, filling, and decorating the cake.
Use PURE extracts!
It’s very important that if you want your cake to taste amazing, you can’t skimp on your ingredients. For instance, when it comes to extracts I ALWAYS look for the word PURE on the label. One time I accidentally brought artificial imitation vanilla extract home from the grocery store and was super sad about it because it’s…well…gross.
This is why I’m so thrilled to be partnering with Rodelle on this recipe because all of their products are high quality and have that rich authentic flavor. (And ultra-important-side-note: they treat their vanilla farmers in Madagascar with respect and truly care about their quality of life!)
The three layers of the vanilla butter cake can be described as moist and tender. It’s very important to follow the instructions exactly and to not overmix anything or else the cake will be dense. In the cake I actually used a teaspoon of Rodelle’s Pure Vanilla Extract, and a teaspoon of Rodelle’s Vanilla Paste. (I just love to see those little black bean flecks in the cake!)
Moving on to the best part of this cake: the whipped lemon cream cheese filling! It’s so refreshing! And even though it has freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest in it, I still add Rodelle’s Pure Lemon Extract. I can’t get enough of that LEMONY goodness. And you guys, is there anything better than whipped cream being folded into a sweet lemon cream cheese mixture? Eee! So good.
Because I can’t get enough lemon, this cake is smothered in a sweet and tart lemon buttercream frosting; a flavor I will forever love and adore!
Assembling The Cake:
Begin by placing your cake layer onto a cake board/circle, and then pipe a generous rim of that delicious lemon buttercream frosting. This rim is SUPER important to the structural integrity of the cake because buttercream is stronger than filling. If the heavy layers rest on filling alone, they will literally squish it all out to the sides of the cake. I speak from humble experience.
Like just look at that whipped lemon cream cheese filling! It’s almost just as lovely to stare at as it is to eat! Repeat the steps for the second cake layer and second layer of filling, and then rest your third layer on top!
By the way, you’ll most likely have some of that lemon cream filling leftover, don’t fret! I saved it for serving time so that guests could add extra on top of their cake if they wished. (It also is great to dip the berries into.)
Once all three layers are stacked, fill the piping bag with more of the lemon buttercream frosting. Pipe this frosting all around the sides and top of the cake. I decided that I wanted this cake to have more of a casual/rustic/homemade feel so no need to make a thin crumb coat. Use all that buttercream and who cares if there’s crumbs visible in the buttercream? I don’t mind at all. 🙂
Decorating The Cake
How to smooth it out:
First, place your cake onto a revolving cake stand. I LOVE my Ateco revolving cake stand; it’s super sturdy with a cast iron base and revolves so smoothly.
After the buttercream has been piped all over the cake, fill a metal bowl with hot hot water. I dip my offset spatula into the water, wipe it dry onto a paper towel or cloth, and smooth out the top of the cake. Dipping, wiping, smoothing, and keep repeating until it’s as smooth and level as you’d like it to be!
To smooth out the sides, I dip my cake scraper into the water, wipe it dry, and scrape it along the cake towards me at a 45 degree angle. This ALWAYS works because the hot water heats up the metal scraper and spatula, smoothing out the buttercream substantially!
Making it Pretty:
This cake was so simple to decorate and I love that! Wash your berries, (blackberries would be delicious on here too!) and arrange them to your liking on the cake. And if you really want to please the crowd, buy some Gyposphelia, also known as “Baby’s Breath”. (I found mine in the floral department of the grocery store.) Then place them delicately on an around your cake. I think it looks magnificent with the berries and adds the perfect touch!
When it’s time to serve the cake, I would slice up those strawberries, and put all the berries into bowls. That way, your guests can decide if they want a mountain or a molehill of berries. (Believe me, there are weirdos out there who don’t really care for berries, so don’t waste any by putting them on their plate!) I’m definitely a mountain plus some more on the side kinda girl. 😉
I hope you guys love this Vanilla Butter Cake with Lemon Cream and Berries as much as I do! Summer is the time to go out and pick oodles of berries, and then pour them all over this cake! Literally. Do it.
A special thank you to Rodelle for sending me these amazing bottles of extracts; their lemon and vanilla extracts certainly take this cake to the next-flavor level!
Thank you for reading and I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts about this cake! I need to hear from my lemon-berry combo lovers! Hope your summer is going great so far!
Want More Cake?
Check out some of my other cake recipes here:
Vanilla Butter Cake with Lemon Cream and Berries
Vanilla Butter Cake
- 1 cup Butter softened to room temp
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening
- 3 cups Granulated Sugar white sugar or cane sugar
- 5 Eggs at room temp
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk at room temp
- 1/2 cup Buttermilk at room temp
- 2 tsp Rodelle Vanilla Extract and/or Rodelle Vanilla Bean Paste
Lemon Cream Filling
- 1 cup Whipping Cream
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- 2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Rodelle Lemon Extract
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest From one lemon
- 3 Tbsp Fresh lemon Juice From one lemon
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups Salted Butter softened to room temp
- 5-6 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Rodelle Lemon Extract
- 1 tsp Rodelle Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Fresh lemon zest from one lemon
- 3 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
- 4 Tbsp Cream Whipping or Heavy cream
Don't Forget the Freshly Sliced Berries!
Vanilla Butter Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 9" round cake pans by greasing with oil and a paper towel, flouring, and placing a parchment paper round at the bottom of each.
Beat the butter, shortening, and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy, about 4 min. Then add the eggs one at a time, making sure to NOT over beat. (Scrape down the sides after with a spatula.)
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk the whole milk, buttermilk, and vanilla extract together. Add this liquid mixture alternately with the flour mixture into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. GENTLY stir all ingredients until combined, being sure to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
Distribute the batter evenly between the three pans and bake for 25 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cake cool for 5 min in pans, then release cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Lemon Cream Filling
Pour the whipping cream into a small bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, mix until it becomes the consistency of fluffy whipped cream. (Takes between 1-2 minutes mixing on high speed.)
In a medium bowl, mix with an electric mixer on medium speed the cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice together until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then using a spatula gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
In a large bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer on medium speed until it turns white and fluffy. Scrape down the sides after.
Add in the rest of the ingredients mixing on low first and then increasing the speed to high for about 2-3 minutes. If frosting is too thin, add in another cup of powdered sugar, if it's too thin add in a Tbsp at a time of cream.
Assembling The Cake
Place the first cake layer onto a cake board on a revolving cake stand. Cut about an 1" off the end of a piping bag, fill it with the buttercream frosting and pipe a rim of frosting around the edge of the cake. Fill the centre of the cake layer spoonful by spoonful of the lemon cream filling, being sure not to fill it so high that it goes over the buttercream rim. (If you fill it too high, the cake will lose its stability.)
Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the last steps. (You'll most likely have left over lemon cream filling, feel free to add dollops to the cake plates later as it tastes delicious with the berries!)
Place the third cake layer on top, get eye-level with the cake to make sure you're putting on the cake layers evenly. Fill your piping bag with the lemon buttercream and pipe it all around the sides and top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top of the cake. Using a cake scraper, scrape around the cake whilst spinning the cake stand to smooth out the sides.
Decorate with an assortment of fresh berries!
- I always bake my cake layers ahead of time.
- If baking the day before: wrap each layer in plastic wrap to keep them moist and leave on counter.
- To freeze: double wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months, remove and allow to thaw to room temp before assembling cake.
- Lemon cream filling can also be made the day before, just cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and stick in the refrigerator.
- If slicing any of the berries, they’re best when washed and sliced right before serving.
- This cake freezes great even after assembled! Freeze as a whole by covering in plastic wrap/freezing in a box, or freezing wrapped slices individually.