Sweet Recipes: Citrus Cake, A Love Story

Last year I fell in love with a cake. June 14th, 2011.

There you are browsing Pinterest for the 3rd hour in a row when suddenly it smacks you in the face. Cake LOVE. A beautifully photographed and presented cake, for your viewing pleasure. The kind that makes you want to reach on in and grab a slice, if such thing were at all possible. Have you even had this happen to you? Well of course I pinned that sucker right then and there and have since been drooling over it.

Of course I never got around to making it. That is until we settled on a summer Citrus Brunch Celebration and started planning our menu. Then out came my “Cakes” board and the Citrus Cake was re-pinned to our “Citrus Brunch Ideas” board. It was finalized. This cake was going to happen. In my kitchen.

My cake love came at the hand of one Apollinas and her fashion inspired blog. About her cake inspiration she writes: “Those spring Stella McCartney prints we have all been seeing look delicious enough to eat.  So, now you can - in the form of cake…!”

Enough talk of my cake love though, here is the recipe we adapted from Apollinas.

Citrus Cake with Orange & Lemon


  • 2 sticksunsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • Parchment Paper, cut to fit the bottoms of your baking pans.
  • Assorted citrus fruits, sliced and drained to decorate with.
  • Fresh mint leaves, for decoration.


  1. Heat your oven to 350°F and prepare two 8″, 9″ or 10″ cake pans. I prefer to use Pam for baking, and spray the pans generously, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. I find it is easier than buttering and flouring. 
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then set it aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 - 3 minutes.  
  4. Add the grated zest of the oranges and lemons.  
  5. Add the vanilla.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides if needed.
  7. Reduce speed to low, then add the dry mixture and the milk, alternating a little of each, and ending with the dry. Mix this until just until combined, and take care not to overmix.
  8. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans, leveling the top of each with a large spoon or rubber spatula.  
  9. Bake until a toothpick from the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans, 22 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans and 20 to 22 minutes for a 10 inch pan.  
  10. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Citrus Curd Filling


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, sliced


  1. In a stainless or glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, zests and juices. 
  2. Add the butter, then set the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water.
  3. Cook the curd, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Pour into a medium bowl.  
  5. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 hours.

Fresh Orange Lemon Buttercream


  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar


  1. Beat the butter in your electric mixture until light and fluffy. 
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the orange juice and zest.
  3. Add the sugar a cup at a time, waiting until one is fully in corporated before adding another.
  4. Resume a medium-high speed and beat the buttercream until it is smooth and fluffy.
  5. Store at room tempurature until you are ready to ice the cake. (Up to 2 days in an air-tight container.)

Assorted Citrus Fruits & Mint Leaves

Chose which citrus fruits you want to feature on top of the cake.

Slice them thinly and pat dry with a paper towel before laying them on top of your cake.

Pluck your mint off the sprigs and scatter about the cake between your citrus slices to add a bit of greenery. We also added in a bit of sage as well for color around the base of our cake.

Please try this recipe and come back and let us know your thoughts!

Or share with us a cake you fell in LOVE with!