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Spring Cherry Blossom Lemon Cake Recipe

Sweet spring cherry blossom lemon cake served on a golden ceramic plate.

Enter lemons. Limes. Key limes. Oranges. Blood oranges. Tangelos. Mandarins. Satsumas. Kumquats. Clementines. Pomelos. Yuzu. And even, eek, grapefruit.

The idea of citrus flavoured anything once made me cringe something awful. Homemade salad dressing? No thanks. Lemon bars? Um, no. Lemon meringue pie? Hell no.

But now? Oh mama. Give it to me.

Some notes about the Spring Cherry Blossom Lemon Cake (with vanilla buttercream frosting):

  • Cherry blossoms are innately super duper bitter. You probably don’t want to put one in your mouth without curing it first. If you choose not to heed my advice, do take a photo and tag me on Instagram – I’d love to see your sour pucker.
  • Be gentle with the cherry blossoms when you blot them dry; they’re precious and fragile.
  • Don’t cure the blossoms any longer than 3 days because they sit in the water you draw out of them and like any organic matter, leave them sitting in a pool of salty water and they’ll start to decompose.
  • The cake recipe and buttercream frosting come courtesy of Martha Stewart whom I had the “pleasure” of meeting last year. Her cake is much more enjoyable than she was.
  • The cherry blossom curing inspiration came via Edible Vancouver, whom I write for! 
  • Lastly, this cake is damn good. I won’t lie; This bastard of a mother is finicky and takes time. And you certainly aren’t going to get skinny eating buttercream frosting. But with a little patience, even a non-baker like myself can pull it off. It can also be done in stages over the course of a week so it’s manageable in bits. Kind of like Martha.
Beautiful and sweet spring cherry blossom lemon cake.

Spring Cherry Blossom Lemon Cake Recipe

Luckily (if you can find anything lucky about the rest of the continent’s never ending Winter) most of the cherry blossom trees are elsewhere are just beginning to spring into action. Making this recipe not only an ode to Spring but timely as well.
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • towel
  • Baking Sheet
  • Oven
  • parchment paper
  • Stand Mixer
  • wire tracks
  • Pan
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Platter

Ingredients
  

For the cherry blossoms

  • 3 cups cherry blossoms
  • 1 tbsp salt

For the cake

  • 1 ¼ cup unsalted butter room temp, plus more for pan
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ¾ baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 ½ cup sugar
  • 5 pieces Large pastured eggs room temp
  • 2 pieces zest of lemons
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 batch lemon curd devour it with a spoon

For the frosting

  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter room temp
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

For the cherry blossoms

  • Place blossoms and salt into a bowl. Mix well. Place another bowl on top of the salty blossoms and fill that bowl with water so it pushes down on the blossoms. This will extract their natural bitterness. Place in the fridge for 3 days.
    Creamy spring cherry blossom lemon cake on a wooden table.
  • Remove from the fridge an discard the bowl of water. Carefully blot the cherry blossoms with a clean tea towel to remove the moisture and excess salt. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry completely, about 24 hours.
    Close-up shot of a spring cherry blossom lemon cake.

For the cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and butter 3 8" round spring-form cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds and butter the parchment. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.In a stand mixer (or large bowl with beaters), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in zest and vanilla.
    A shot of spring cherry blossom lemon cake focus on coffee.
  • Turn the speed to low and carefully add the flour mixture in batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until just combined.Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans, smooth the tops so they're even. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, approx 40 to 50 minutes depending on your oven. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool 15 minutes. Drag a knife along outside of the pans to make sure nothing sticks and release the cakes. Leave on wire racks to cool completely. You may make the frosting as these cool.
    Pieces of a sugar butter on a white bowl.
  • If needed, use a serrated knife to trim the tops of the cakes flat so they'll stack nicely. Spoon a dollop of frosting on the center of your serving platter and place bottom layer of the cake on top; this keeps it from sliding around. Slather (or pipe) some frosting along the outer rim of the top of the layer (this keeps the curd from running down the sides of the cake). Fill with as much lemon curd as your heart desires. Place second layer on top of the whole shebang, repeat the fill steps, top with the 3rd layer of cake.
  • Spread a good helping of frosting around the entire outside of the cake. Just enough to cover. Put in the fridge for about an hour to let the frosting harden. This helps prevent crumbs and makes it easier to frost the rest of the cake. Remove from fridge, add the rest of the frosting and lightly press/sprinkle the cured, dried cherry blossoms into the frosting.At this point you can either devour the cake or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve with any leftover lemon curd. If you haven't already eaten it with a spoon.
    Spring cherry blossom lemon cake with a white cloth in wooden table.

For the frosting

  • In a stand mixer (or a large bowl with beaters) on medium speed beat butter until pale and creamy, approx 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the sugar, 1/2 C at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once blended, turn the speed up a degree for a few seconds to aerate the frosting, then turn back to medium-low before adding the next batch of sugar.
    A top view of a spring cherry blossom lemon cake with a sliced.
  • Add vanilla and beat until frosting is smooth. Frosting will keep in the fridge up to 10 days. Bring to room temperature before applying to the cake.
    Portrait of a sliced spring cherry blossom lemon cake.

Notes

Some notes about the Spring Cherry Blossom Lemon Cake (with vanilla buttercream frosting):
  • Cherry blossoms are innately super duper bitter. You probably don’t want to put one in your mouth without curing it first. If you choose not to heed my advice, do take a photo and tag me on Instagram – I’d love to see your sour pucker.
  • Be gentle with the cherry blossoms when you blot them dry; they’re precious and fragile.
  • Don’t cure the blossoms any longer than 3 days because they sit in the water you draw out of them and like any organic matter, leave them sitting in a pool of salty water and they’ll start to decompose.
  • The cake recipe and buttercream frosting come courtesy of Martha Stewart whom I had the “pleasure” of meeting last year. Her cake is much more enjoyable than she was.
  • The cherry blossom curing inspiration came via Edible Vancouver, whom I write for! My new column made the cover this issue!
  • Lastly, this cake is damn good. I won’t lie; This bastard of a mother is finicky and takes time. And you certainly aren’t going to get skinny eating buttercream frosting. But with a little patience, even a non-baker like myself can pull it off. It can also be done in stages over the course of a week so it’s manageable in bits. Kind of like Martha.
Keyword lemon cake

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