Pretty Spring Cake {Vanilla Cake with Lemon Filling}

Spring comes early here in California, and with tulips and daffodils blooming all around our neighborhood, I was ready for a little spring themed baking.  I’ve been enjoying the homemade lemon curd I made recently, and knew it would be a delicious cake filling.  I paired the sweet-tart lemon curd with vanilla cake and lemon frosting.  And since I recently enjoyed decorating my daughter’s birthday cake with the simple, yet intricate looking petal effect, I wanted to give it another try.  The end results was a delicious cake that I think is perfect for spring!

Vanilla Cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)

1 cup oil (vegetable, canola, or extra light olive oil)

1 cup buttermilk (can be made with 1 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice, add acid to milk and set aside for 5 minutes before use)


* Preheat oven to 350*F.
* Prepare cake pans (line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, butter and flour the sides of the pans)
* In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and oil, beat.
* Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk. Beat until just combined. Scrap down the side of the bowl.
* The batter will be thin. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
* Bake cakes until cake is slightly domed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs, no wet batter.  Depending on the size pans you use (6″, 8″ or 9″), the baking time will vary between 22-30 minutes.
* Cool cakes about 10 minutes in pans, then remove from pans.  Wrap warm cakes in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place in freezer about 20 minutes.  This will help them cool fully, but stay nice and moist.
* Frost as desired when fully cool.
Yield- The cake pictured is a 6″ cake.  If you are using 8″ pans the finished cake will not be as tall.  If you are using 9″ pans I would recommend tripling the original Vanilla Cupcake recipe posted HERE.
Recipe source- Glorious Treats (this is the same recipe as my Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes, simply doubled for a cake)
Lemon Filling
Spread about 1/4 cup lemon curd between each layer.  I used my delicious Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe.
Lemon Frosting
Prepare one batch of my American Buttercream Recipe.  Add one teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest and 1/2-1 teaspoon pure lemon extract.


As I mentioned when I posted my daughter’s birthday cake, I first discovered this pretty petal effect style of decoating on My Cake School.  Here are a couple photos of the process so you can try it too!

~ How to frost a cake using a petal or scale effect ~

1.  After frosting the cake with a thin layer of icing (also called a crumb coat), place the cake in the fridge for 10-20 minutes for the frosting to set up.  Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip (with a 1/4-1/2 inch opening) with frosting and squeeze icing to create dots in a vertical row (as shown).

2.  In one motion (per dot), use an offset spatula to spread the icing dot in one direction.

3.  Continue the pattern by spreading each individual dot (one stroke per dot), scraping off the spatula (into a bowl) between every or everyother swipe.  One you have spread one row of dots, add another row of dots and repeat the process.

Note- When you get all the way around the cake with this technique, the last row of dots you spread will bump into your first row a bit.  Just do your best to match the pattern, and this will need to be the “back side” of your cake.

Prop note- The pretty pastel flowers I added to the cake are premade flower decorations from Sweet Estelle’s Baking Supply.

Happy Decorating!


  1. I'm making this tomorrow! Looks so yummy and we could use a dose of Spring hope this week since the forecast is calling for chilly temps and lots of rain!

  2. What size tip did you use to make the dots before you spread them with the offset spatula?

  3. Pretty cake Glory!! Lemon Curd is a favorite :)

  4. Thanks for the decorating instructions! For the frosting…do you think I could use lemon juice instead of extract? I always have big Costco bag of lemons in my fridge…but would have to buy extract. Thanks!

  5. Love this technique! I will probably try something similar next time I make a cake!

  6. Looks amazing. I have been craving lemon cake. Mmmmmm.

  7. I love lemon curd. Your cake looks so pretty and yummy. Thanx for the petal effect tip!

  8. A very pretty cake that is just perfect for welcoming Spring time. I love the petal effect you've put on the cake and the flowers on top make it extra special!

  9. Gorgeous, well done! thanks for the tips!

  10. I love, love, love anything that is lemon flavoured!!! It's making my mouth water!

  11. I love the petal effect, Glory! I also love lemon curd, and the little flowers are adorable! Come on springtime!

  12. Oh yummy, I think the only thing that cake might need are the words welcome spring on the top, it looks so yummy, and so many layers, even though chocolate is NORMALLY my favorite, I think I'd choose this over chocolate especially with the real lemmon in it. I really think you hit the ball out of the park for this one. Love it, love it- from Lacie

  13. Mmmmm, very very nice Cake!

  14. Very pretty… love the technique used to frost the cake!

  15. This cake is amazing!! I love the yellow icing!
    Have a nice week

  16. I think I bake this sooner…thanks for sharing :-)

  17. Saw your FB post on this and just had to re-share it on our wall! Such a "spring sunshine" cake!

  18. that cake looks and sounds amazing!!!

  19. Oh I love lemon and this is so pretty.

  20. Oh My this is beautiful and it looks so yummy! I would like a slice right this minute.
    It is on my TODO list.
    Thank you

  21. This cake makes me smile.

  22. Your cake is BEAUTIFUL!!! And thank you for showing your icing technique – can't wait to try it!

  23. Love it and I'd like a piece right now!! Great frosting tutorial. Can't wait to make this. YUM!!


  24. You give us the best decorating tips! Your cake is gorgeous and I truly appreciate that you showed us how to do it. Not that I could make mine look like yours, BUT whenever I follow your tips, my decorating goes up by about ten notches! Thank you for your help always!

  25. I have already made this cake petal design twice, I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

    AND….your vanilla cake recipe is perfection.

    AND…I am totally planning on using this design, in yellow, for Easter…thinking of a cute little nest, eggs and birdie on top!!!!!

    thanks for your talents and inspiration.
    Your blog is such a fun place to visit!

    I look forward to your creations….

  26. Yum! I do love Spring and cake! I will have to try this! Love you!

  27. Beautiful cake! Thanks for providing the photo instructions to decorate the sides. Such a great look!

  28. Yum! What a beautiful cake. I can't wait to try. :-)

  29. Pretty, pretty, pretty! I'm ready for some spring decorating myself! :)

  30. BEAUTIFUL! And it looks like it TASTES AMAZING! Thanks for showing the petal effect!

  31. Thank you for sharing. It just brightened my rainy day :)

  32. A perfect cake for spring! When it's getting sunnier outside you really feel like having a gorgeous yellow cake like this!

  33. I've wanted to try this kind of frosting for a while – it looks so pretty and actually not too hard to do. Gorgeous cake :-)

  34. It's a georgeous spring cake with perfect yellow colour!!!!!!! I'll make this cake definitely next week for my husband's birthday. Thanks a lot for the tips!!!!!!
    Hugs…. from frozen Greece.

  35. una obra de arte en pastel muy hermoso,felicitaciones,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  36. So beautiful, Glory!! I love yellow…did you know that? This cake is so cute and I love lemon toooo!

  37. This looks gorgeous! I love that there's so much lemon flavor :) The color is so bright and vibrant and I love how you frosted the cake, it's so simple, but it looks hard to do! Beautiful job!

  38. Love this frosting! I'll be making this for Easter!


  39. Thank you for your blog it is SO amazing, I love reading it and read your advice! Thanks again

  40. This looks so cool. Definitely trying it.

  41. Looks great and I will make this for Easter. Did you use two 6" pans and cut the layers, or use four pans?

  42. whoua cet super jolie j' aime beaucoup bravo bisous

  43. This is such a BEAUTIFUL cake. It's so perfect for spring.

  44. Hi Glory,

    Am attempting this cake this week! My 3rd cake from your blog :)

    Am wondering how you made your frosting such a pretty bright yellow? Also, wouldn't the lemon zest in the frosting make it gritty and not smooth? Thanks!

  45. I tried this recipe last week. The taste is amazing! I split the batter into 2 9″ inch pans and the cake seemed to be too thin. Do you recommend multiplying the cupcake recipe by 4 to get a thicker 9″ cake? Do you know how much batter this specific recipe yields?

    • Yes, feel free to increase the recipe, or certainly if you use 8″ pans, your cake would be much taller.
      Sorry, I’m not sure off hand how much batter the recipe yields.

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  47. Hi , It seems that this blog uses your photos without quoting the source !

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  49. Do you think this cake would do well covered with marshmallow fondant?

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  52. It’s hard to come by well-informed people in this particular subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re
    talking about! Thanks

  53. Is this cake four layers, or two layers cut in half? On your cupcakes page it says the recipe makes one 6″ cake, but here you say to double the recipe for the same. Which recipe would you reccomend for a two-layer 6″ cake? Thanks very much.

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  57. I love your cakes and the tutorials! Thank you for sharing your talent to everyone who adores your recipes! God bless!

  58. Beautiful cake! I love your page and have used your recipes often. I’ve made your vanilla cupcakes on several occasions, but have not used the recipe to bake a cake. I’m planning on baking a cake, but in a larger pan. I was hoping you could tell me about how many cups of batter does one of the recipes above yield (double the cupcake recipe). From what I’ve read in some of the comments someone asked you the same question about how many cups of batter, but that was a few years ago so I thought I’d give it a shot. Thank you for showing us your wonderful creations! I hope to hear from you soon :)

    • Hi Jocelyn, I’m sorry to say I’ve never made note of the exact amount of batter. I have been able to make a 6″ round (3 layer) or 8″ round (two layer) cake with a double batch of the cupcake recipe.

  59. No worries! I filled two 8″ pan with water (about 2/3 full) and calculated about 8 cups of batter, but I’ll confirm when I make the cake later his week… Thank you for getting back to me, though!

  60. Hi, how did you achieve this beautiful color? Thanks :0)

  61. Hello,
    I allow to put you this link because this blog published your recipe and photo.

  62. Hi. I was searching for the Vanilla cake recipe by using oil instead of butter from a long time. I’m glad I found your blog on pinterest got this perfectionist recipe. Tried this cake recipe everyone on my side loved it. I frosted my cake with fresh whipped cream and pineapples. Thank you.

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  64. It is soooo hard to chose just one cake recipe.  Next best thing…make them all!
    Thank you for posting the recipes.

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