Make a stunning statement at Easter this year with this beautiful layered cake, packed with bright lemon flavor and buttercream frosting.
Cornstarch, for work surface
16 oz. white gum paste
Royal icing or white candy melts, melted (optional)
2 1/2 c. cake flour, spooned and leveled
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. whole milk
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1/4 c. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (16-ounce) package confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon zest, plus 3 tbsp. lemon juice
12 lemon jelly candies
2 (0.75-ounce) packages green-apple fruit leather, plus more, thinly sliced for grass (optional)
- Make flowers: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly dust a work surface with cornstarch. Roll out gum paste to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out desired number of flowers using 1 1/2- and 2 1/2- inch daisy-shaped cookie cutters. Place on prepared baking sheet or in cups of a mini muffin pan to make shaped flowers. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature overnight or up to 2 weeks. To make a double-layered flower, place a small dot of royal icing or melted candy melts onto center of one flower; top with another flower, and press gently. Let stand until dry.
- Make cake: Preheat oven to 350°F . Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
- Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in milk and lemon zest and juice.
- Using a clean bowl and beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir one-third of egg whites into batter. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until cake is golden brown and edges pull away from sides, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; then invert onto racks to cool completely.
- Make frosting: Beat butter on medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. Beat in vanilla, salt, cream, and lemon zest and juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Top with 3/4 cup frosting and spread to edges. Repeat one more time. Top with third layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Chill 30 minutes.
- Cut lemon jellies in half horizontally. Cut into small rounds using large opening of a piping tip. Attach to centers of flowers, sticky sides down. Cut fruit leather into 12 (1/4-inch-wide) strips of various lengths for stems. Cut out some small leaves with scissors. Arrange flowers on cake (placing some toward the top of the cake so they overlap the edge), pressing into icing to adhere. Add a stem (trimming length as necessary) and leaves for each flower, pressing gently to help them adhere. Scatter fruit-leather grass around cake, if desired.