You guys, this cake came out so good! It was everything I wanted. The tart lemon cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream were the perfect combination!
But… Before I get into baking this lemon cake I would like to talk about the backstory of the cake.
I didn’t make this cake only for sharing with you my lemon cake recipe. This cake has been on my mind now for many months.
I decorated my lemon cake with yellow tulips to raise awareness of suicide. Yellow is the color of suicide awareness. The tulips are a sign of hope and new growth.
According to befrienders.org (see post)
- Approx. 1 million people die from suicide each year
- Mental health disorders are associated with 90% of suicide cases (this includes substance abuse)
- Youth suicide rates are increasing at the greatest rate it ever has
The CDC reports that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 years old.
If you feel like you need to talk to someone;
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the United States is 800-273-TALK (8255)
If you are concerned about a friend or family member talk to that person. The first step is acknowledging the change in behavior. Don’t be afraid to bring it up. It will actually make them feel like they are important to you and that you care!
Last year my eyes were opened to a world that is so sad. My little cousin committed suicide. She was so young (too young) and it just made me realize how important it is to love yourself.
It’s life or death in some cases.
Over the past few years I have developed a bad relationship with myself. Some would say I have low self esteem. I was never like that, but in my adulthood I started to think of myself as not good enough for anything.
Fast forward to last summer I was tired of the negative self talk that went through my head daily. I started to reach out and read self help books and do everything that I could to live a happier life. I started to treat myself better.
That is why I started to build my personal brand. To do something for myself. To express myself in a creative way by doing something that I enjoy spending my time doing.
I’m not gonna lie to you, some days are still a battle. I try my best to take care of myself physically and mentally but I sometimes find myself feeling like I’m not good enough to be healthy and happy. Each time I start to feel down on myself it’s a little easier to come out of it, using the tools that I have learned from amazing people on social media. The best advise I ever read was “Be your own best friend”. You cannot open up and be yourself if you don’t like yourself. Learn to like yourself! Everyone deserves to be happy!
Let’s get into baking this amazing cake!
Side note: This is a variation of my white almond sour cream cake recipe. You can find the original recipe here or in the recipe card below. I made a half batch recipe with the lemon variation.
To start, prepare your cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper. See recipe notes for pan sizes.
Pre-heat your oven to 325°
Measure the dry ingredients into large mixing bowl or stand mixer:
1 box of white cake mix
1 cup of flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
In a medium bowl combine your wet ingredients:
1 1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup sour cream
3 whole eggs
Lemon zest from one lemon
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean. See recipe notes for suggested baking times.
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I used John’s Swiss meringue buttercream recipe from Preppy Kitchen!
If you have never made Swiss meringue buttercream before, this post from Preppy Kitchen will teach you the in’s and out’s of meringue. See post here! You can also follow along to his YouTube video.
Can I just mention how incredible it is to pipe flowers with Swiss meringue buttercream!? If you haven’t tried it before, you need to!
After my cake layers were cooled completely, I did a crumb coat and then frosted the entire cake with the white Swiss meringue buttercream.
The tulips on top of this cake
This was the first time I tried piping buttercream tulip’s! I have a Russian piping tip that does something similar, but I decided to teach myself how to pipe it with a petal tip.
For the flower petals I used a Wilton 123 piping tip. I watched a few tutorials on You Tube and then just dove right into trying it myself. They all came out a little different. Some look more realistic then other’s. I decided to use all of the tulips I piped (not just the good looking ones) to share my learning journey with you all! We all have to start somewhere, right?
White Almond Sour Cream Cake
- mixing bowl
- hand mixer or stand mixer
- cake pans
- 2 boxes cake mix
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups sour cream (16 oz.)
- 8 large egg whites
- Preheat oven to 325° F
- In a large mixing bowl, Whisk together dry
ingredients; cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. (You can also use your stand
mixer with the paddle attachment)
- Add remaining ingredients into the dry
ingredients; water, veg oil, vanilla, almond, sour cream, and eggs. I will mix
my wet ingredients in a separate bowl first, then add everything into the
mixing bowl. Just to make sure everything gets incorporated when making a full
- Set mixing bowl on medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes (if using a hand mixer mix on medium speed until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated)
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick
inserted comes out clean (see recipe notes for pan sizes and approximate
- cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack
• 1 box of white cake mix
• 1 cup flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1 1/3 cup water
• 2 tbs. vegetable oil
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 tsp. almond extract
• 8 oz (1 cup) sour cream
• 4 large egg whites -Quarter Batch
• ½ box of white cake mix
• ½ cup flour
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• Pinch of salt
• ½ cup + 2 tbs. + 2 tsp. water
• 1 tbs. vegetable oil
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• ½ tsp. almond extract
• ½ cup sour cream
• 2 large egg whites Pan Sizes:
-Full Batch makes either;
• 80 cupcakes,
• A Half Sheet Cake (12”X18”)
• One 6” + 8” + 12” (tiered Cake)
• Six 6” + 24 Cupcakes -Half Batch makes either;
• Two 6” + Two 8” + 12 Cupcakes
• 48 Cupcakes (4 dozen) -Quarter Batch makes either;
• 24 Cupcakes
• Two 7”
• Two 6” + 6 Cupcakes Bake Times:
These are just approximate times. Please remember all ovens vary and to make sure you are checking doneness with a toothpick.
• 6 inch= 25 minutes
• 8 inch= 18 minutes
• 10 inch= 35 minutes
• 13”X9” = 40 minutes
• Cupcakes= 12 minutes Recipe Variations:
-Yellow: Use yellow cake mix instead of white and substitute 6 whole eggs for egg whites.
-Chocolate: Use chocolate cake mix instead of white and substitute 6 whole eggs instead of the egg whites.
-Strawberry: Use strawberry cake mix instead of white and thaw frozen sliced strawberries for in between cake layers. Save the juice from the strawberries and use in place of water (as much as you can get).
-Alcoholic: Substitute choice of alcohol for about half the amount of water. -Lemon: Substitute lemon juice for water, use 6 whole eggs, substitute lemon extract in place of almond, add 1 tbs lemon zest.