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The Mass Media

Orange and lemon cake: A spring delight


Fresh oranges and lemons.

Last weekend, while staying with my parents for Easter, I got in the mood to bake a spring treat. I was aiming for something light, airy, sweet—altogether a dessert that echoed how Easter feels. So when I was finally able to eat my Easter cake, I was delighted with how it turned out, and felt I must share this recipe. The cake I made is a three-layer lemon cake with orange zest-y frosting. I recommend this cake be topped with coconut shavings or candied orange. (Or both!) This is a pretty cake and perfect for spring.

To make this cake, you will need the following ingredients: 

  • 3 cups of white/all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ teaspoons of baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon of salt

  • 1 cup of butter

  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 cup of buttermilk or yogurt

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon zest

  • ½ a cup of lemon juice.

 To make the frosting, you will need: 

  • 8 to 9 ounces of stiff cream cheese

  • a stick of butter

  • 3 cups or so of icing sugar

  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed orange

  • 1 tablespoon or more or orange zest. 

If you are like me, and you like to play around with levels of ingredients—feel free to do so here. I have found that this is a forgiving cake. (Note about frosting: if your frosting is too liquid-y, add more cream cheese or butter. If it’s too solid, add more orange juice). 

To make the cake itself, follow these steps: Preheat your oven to three hundred and fifty degrees. Butter or line three cake pans. Then, mix together your dry ingredients (other than your sugar). Next, blend together your sugar and your butter until the consistency is smooth. Throw in your eggs (without the shells). Add your lemon-y ingredients and your other wet ingredients to the sugar-butter mixture. Finally, slowly add your dry bowl to your wet bowl until the batter is smooth. Place the batter equally in pans and cook it for twenty to thirty minutes, testing it with a fork after twenty. 

The frosting is as simple as it gets. Add all the ingredients that I listed together and… mix! Make sure your butter is soft before throwing it in. You want your frosting to be a nice consistency, though keep in mind that the orange zest you add will give it a certain texture. If you have an aversion to certain food textures, skip the zest. That is an orange sacrifice you may have to make.

Decorating the cake is the fun part. I love to ice each layer. You can even frost around the sides. For the top, get creative. Decorate with the topping I suggested (coconut, orange, etc)—or do your own thing! I made this cake for Easter, but it will do well all Spring. For the summertime, I recommend a darker fruit dessert, like cherry pie or rhubarb crumble. But for now, keep it light! This cake could even be served with some gelato—though watch your flavor combinations.

Finally, serve your family or friends— or just yourself. If you are sharing this cake, make sure you give yourself a big slice. Eat up. You deserve a treat.