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Luscious Lemon Cake with Candied Citrus & Lemon Buttercream Frosting


January birthdays call for Lemon Cake.  We’re all sick of heavy desserts, and citrus is in season.  One of my best friends requested a lemon cake for her birthday last week, so here we are.  Yes, if you are my friend and you ask me to make something, it is guaranteed to make the blog.  Especially in winter.

Lemon cake with candied citrus and lemon buttercream

The cake recipe is modified from the tips on how to decorate a cake.)

Lemon cake with candied lemons and lemon buttercream

Where did I get my lovely glass cake pans, you ask?  They are pie plates.  I could not for the life of me find my cake pans, so I had to improvise.  This meant later cutting my cake to have straight sides.  Which also meant that icing the cake was very challenging.

Lemon cake with candied citrus & lemon buttercream

The thing that really “takes the cake” is the candied citrus.  It was super easy to make and left me with some delicious citrus simple syrup.  You can use simple syrup in cocktails, but I’ll be saving it for a pancake recipe that I have planned.  Candied citrus needs to dry overnight, or for at least 8 hours, so if you’re in a hurry you might want to skip it.

lemon cake with candied citrus and lemon buttercream frosting

The candied lemon and oranges tasted delicious, but I was not a fan of the limes.  The rind was too bitter.

Lemon buttercream icing is highly addictive.  Oh let’s be real, buttercream in general is addictive.  If you would rather have a true citrus flavour, you could use a combination of lemon, orange, and lime juice instead.

lemon cake with candied citrus and lemon buttercream lemon cake with candied citrus and lemon buttercream

Luscious Lemon Cake with Candied Citrus & Lemon Buttercream

Serves 12-16

Cake Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened,
4 eggs,
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour,
1 1/2 tsp baking powder,
1/2 tsp baking soda,
1/4 tsp salt,
2 cups sugar,
2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel,
2 tbsp lemon juice,
1 cup milk.

Candied Citrus:
2 lemons, sliced,
2 limes, sliced,
1 orange, sliced,
2 cups sugar,
1 cup water
sugar for dipping

Lemon Buttercream Icing:
2 cups salted butter,
1 bag (approx 8 cups) icing sugar,
juice of 1/2 a lemon, or to desired taste & consistency.



Mix cake ingredients and divide between 2 large or 3 small greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes at 350, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes completely and remove from pans. While the cake is baking & cooling, thinly slice lemons, limes, and oranges. Boil the sugar and water, turning down the heat to a simmer. Add the citrus one layer at a time and boil for 15-18 minutes. Remove and place on a silicon sheet or parchment paper to dry overnight. When dry (they will still be sticky) roll in granulated sugar for a nice appearance. To make icing, combine all ingredients in a mixer and mix until combined.


What birthday cake do you request for your birthday?  I’d love to know!  

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!