Lemon Velvet Cake & Our 1st Anniversary

Lemon Velvet Cake with a Lemon Poppyseed Buttercream: a tart and sweet cake by ibakeheshoots.com

As of one week ago, it’s been 365 days of culinary adventures, gorgeous photography, and studio abandonment. There have been bouts of great food, failed recipes, a trip to Dumbass Starbucks, plus a good old fashioned perfect baked potato. I’ve been mesmerized by grilled chocolate sandwiches, magnetized by chocolate covered potato chips, and hypnotized by dark chocolate waffles. Are you noticing a pattern here? I likes my chocolate.

Anyway, it’s been a good year.

Lemon Velvet Cake with a Lemon Poppyseed Buttercream: a tart and sweet cake by ibakeheshoots.com

We celebrated this joyous occasion with a Lemon Velvet Cake. Actually, there were 3 Lemon Velvet Cakes which is a bit much. Now, I know what you’re thinking…3 Lemon Velvet Cakes equals 3x the happiness in my belly; but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Here’s what happened

There are two reasons why I wanted to make this cake: 1) the brilliance of Joy the Baker’s Lemon Pound Cake and 2) Snuda. I know, I know…wtf is a Snuda? Well, never you mind. Just know that she’s the coolest and loves lemon poppyseed cake.

Cake #1

The first lemon velvet cake was more beautiful than the cake above, if you can believe that. It was absolutely gorgeous! Unfortunately, it was in between me and my peanut butter filled pretzels from Trader Joe’s. Yeah, I tipped it over and it fell, frosting first, right into the dish drainer. Dave was only 6 shots into the shoot, so there were no beautiful photos to be had. I’m not gonna lie to you…there were some tears, that night and I woke up looking like Tyson gave me a 1-2 combination.

Cake #2

This is the amazing cake you see in the photos above…not as gorgeous as the first, but still beautiful. It lasted most of the photo shoot, but towards the end Dave moved the table and…

…but instead of the ground it was the carpet. It went everywhere and I stepped in some, making a frosting trail from the living room to the kitchen. Later, when breaking down the set, Dave tried to clean it up with a vacuum. Um, yeah…that happened.

Still, it wasn’t a total loss. Half of the cake fell on a chair and we couldn’t let it go to waste, so…

Lemon Velvet Cake with a Lemon Poppyseed Buttercream: a tart and sweet cake by ibakeheshoots.com

Dave and I took a fork to it and ate the inside. If you look closely at the background, you can see there’s no top to the cake-just a sad and empty shell. We took photos of it, anyway. The ridiculousness of the moment had to be captured. I can’t help but laugh every time I look at this pic.

Ah, the things we do for our art.

Cake #3

Nothing happened to this cake. I baked it, my friends ate it, and we had a good laugh about the cake drama.

Who’s to blame

I wanna blame the cake, but that wouldn’t be fair. You see, I put it on a stand just big enough for a cupcake. A 6 inch cake had no business on that stand, but I used it anyway because Dave wanted the shot. Let’s blame Dave, shall we?

Lemon Velvet Cake with a Lemon Poppyseed Buttercream: a tart and sweet cake by ibakeheshoots.com

In the end, you shouldn’t be fooled by my cake drama. This cake is amazing! Seriously…Make. This. Cake. The flavor is tart and bright, with just the right sweetness. I will make this cake over and over and over again. You should too. Bake it for your next anniversary. When you do, don’t put it on a tiny cupcake stand. That would be ridiculous.


Lemon Velvet Cake Recipe

Lemon Velvet Cake recipe adapted from Rock Recipes

Lemon Poppyseed Buttercream recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Lemon Velvet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes one 2-layer, 6 inch cake
Serves: 6
  • 1¼ c + 2T cake flour
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • ¾ t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • ¾ c sugar, separated
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, large
  • ¾ c buttermilk
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one medium lemon
  • For the frosting
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • ½ c unsalted butter
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T poppyseeds
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Spray two 6 inch cake pans with baking spray with flour. I used Pillsbury's.
  3. In a small bowl, mash lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of sugar together until it's moistened and fragrant. Set aside.
  4. Using and electric mixer, beat the vegetable oil, egg and remaining sugar until light and fluffy( about 5mins).
  5. Add the zest/sugar mixture.
  6. Combine vanilla and lemon juice with buttermilk.
  7. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Divide batter evenly between two prepared pans.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Lemon Poppyseed Butter Cream: Mix 2 cups of powdered sugar with ½ cup of unsalted butter until light and fluffy (about 3min). Add 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice. Mix for another minute. Mix in 1 Tbsp of poppyseeds. Fill and frost completely cooled cake layers.





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      Annie! If you love all things lemon then this cake is definitely for you. I didn’t know you could put poppyseeds in buttercream. What! Thanks for stopping by.

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    I can’t believe all of that happened with this cake! Third time’s the charm, though — it does look absolutely amazing and this really needs to happen! 🙂

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      Jessica! Six inch cake pans are the best. I rarely make cakes but when I do, I usually make small ones. Plus, it’s the perfect size for recipe testing. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. 9

    Lemon velvet cake? What a brilliant idea. Must try…though I will likely put in more lemon juice. Most cakes are never lemony enough for me! Ina Garten’s is the only one so far, but the texture of this one looks perfect. And I love the 6″ size since we are only 3 people and a regular cake is just too much. Plus, it’s cute!

    • 10

      Hey Annie, I get ya. Of course, you should adjust the recipe to your liking. The combination of the grated lemon peel with lemon juice in the cake and frosting was the perfect amount for me. I’d love to hear how it goes with your version. Thanks for reading.

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        When I double the recipe would I use all cake flour or half all-purpose and half cake flour. As should I use 1 cup of oil or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup shortening? Thanks Mondo!

        • 23

          When I make this recipe, single or double, I use cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour but you have all purpose flour and cornstarch on hand, you can make your own cake flour. See tutorial here: http://joythebaker.com/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/. Of course, you can use a combination of both cake flour and a.p flour, as in the original recipe, but the way that I’ve written it is the way that I make it.

          When you double this recipe, double every ingredient…every one of them. I know that 1 cup of oil and 1 1/2 cups of sugar seems like a lot, but just go with it!

          Remember…you always have a choice. I’ve made this cake several times as written above and it works best for me. You have to choose what’s best for you. Happy Baking!

  10. 27

    Baking in 2 loaf tins right now… smells divine! My kitchen is too cold to do the ol’ “cream the butter & sugar” nonsense so was glad to find this veg oil recipe… Thanks!

  11. 29

    I love the cake, especially the frosting! Had to laugh at your cake mishaps. Dropping the cake once sucks. I’d cry. But twice? That’s just comical 🙂 I’ve done things like this, too. I’ve patched up birthday cakes that my 2 year old decided to grab on his way out the door, dropped dinner trays on the floor & watched in amusement as my “I’ll do it myself” 7 year old dropped multiple glasses of milk because she didn’t need any help.
    Beautiful pics, especially with the cake shell 🙂

    • 30

      Hahaha…I know, right? So much drama over a freaking cake! But it’s truly worth it. By far, one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Thanks for love, Farah!.

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      I might be wrong, but I think she means to add the smaller amount of regular AP flour to the 1 1/4 c. of cake flour, like Swans Down.
      I don’t buy cake flour, I make my own. For every 1 c. of regular flour, I remove 1 Tbsp. and replace it with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch. Or you could take away 2 T. and replace with 2 T.

  13. 37

    This cake was so good!!! I almost didn’t save any of it for my guests at a BBQ!! What I loved about this recipe was that I didn’t have to adjust it; I live in Colorado. Also, I didn’t use 6 inch cake pans. Instead, I assembled the cake the Momofuku Milk Bar way! I am so happy with this cake! I will definitely try your other recipes! Thanks!!

  14. 39

    This cake was incredible, thank you Mondo!! I doubled it and it was my birthday cake. Full disclosure, I am a super-novice baker, but I think you should clarify the frosting instructions–I did as it said and mixed the butter with the sugar, and it came out a weird paste, but then I did it over and creamed the butter first and then added the sugar, which is what your frosting looks like. Most people probably know that but for us noobs it was confusing!!

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