Assistant Curator, Center for the Arts & Religion, GTU & Friend


A Socially Distant Birthday Party!

Davita Spencer, former baker at Tartine in San Francisco, baked up this beautiful lemon curd cake for our friend's 27th birthday. We celebrated in the local park with takeout, games, presents, and this delicious cake! Just before serving, we walked around the block and picked flowers to decorate the top of the cake. Needless to say, it was a hit!

Find the recipe Davita used below.

Lemon Cake Ingredients

13 ounces cake flour

13 ounces granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

8 ounces unsalted butter 

10 ounces buttermilk

3 ounces vegetable oil 

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon extract

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Curd

8 ounces lemon juice

1 Tablespoon lemon zest

6 ounces granulated sugar

5 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

Lemon Buttercream

8 ounces egg whites

32 ounces unsalted

32 ounces powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lemon extract

4 ounces lemon curd

1/2 teaspoon salt


Lemon Cake Instructions

​Preheat your oven to 335º F

Grease and line your cake pans.

Combine the 4oz of buttermilk with the oil and set aside.

To the remaining 6oz of buttermilk, add your eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract, and lemon juice. Whisk lightly to break up the eggs and set aside.

Stir together cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Add in the butter in small chunks until the flour mixture resembles coarse sand.

Add your oil/milk mixture all at once to the dry ingredients and stir for a full two minutes.

​Slowly add in the milk/egg mixture in 3 parts, letting the batter mix for 10 seconds between additions. Stop to scrape the bowl once more halfway through.

Fill your cake pans 3/4 full with cake batter. Give the pan a little tap on each side to level out the batter and get rid of any air bubbles.​

Bake for 30 minutes and let cook on a cooling rack.

Lemon Curd Instructions

Bring about a ½” to 1” of water to a boil in a large saucepan

In a large glass bowl or non-reactive metal bowl whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl over the saucepan.

Bring the water to a simmer and whisk the mixture constantly until it thickens and them temperature reads about 170ºF.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry, add it into the bubbling mixture, stirring constantly and cook for 1-2 more minutes until the cornstarch is clear.

Remove the curd from the heat. Immediately add your butter in small pieces to the curd. Whisk until smooth. Strain the mixture to remove any large pieces of zest or seeds.

Cover the curd with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface of the curd without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the curd.

Refrigerate until cool before using.

Lemon Buttercream Instructions

Place egg whites and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk for 10 minutes to combine.

Add in butter in small chunks then lemon extract and salt. Whisk until light and fluffy and white. Add in your lemon curd and mix to combine.


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