Lemon Rosemary Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love lemon. I also love rosemary. So when I was picking what dessert to make for Valentine’s Day, this cake was a no brainer. I know some people are averse to cake because it’s too dense, or too dry. But this cake has buttermilk and whipped egg whites mixed in, so it is so light and fluffy. It’s also a very universal cake. You could do it for birthdays, holidays, whatever.


Also here is a peek at what I did for Valentine’s Day for my friends this year. I made 5 different kinds of cookies and bagged them into festive bags I found at Target. We ended up having a snow day on Valentine’s Day, so I had to drive around delivering cookies since I wasn’t able to give them away at school and I didn’t want to eat them all myself!!


Recipe adapted from here.

2 1/2 cups cake flour (Note: if you don’t have cake flour, you can use regular flour and just take out 5 tablespoons of the flour and replace with 5 tablespoons of corn starch)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)
10 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
6 egg yolks, room temperature
3 egg whites, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8 or 9 inch cake pans by spraying or covering with butter. Then place a bit of flour in the pan and shake around so it covers the bottom and sides.

2. In a large bowl (just a regular bowl, not the bowl of your mixer), whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar (set aside the other 1/4 cup of sugar). In a second bowl, whisk the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary, and egg yolks.



3. Now in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. Then add the 1/4 cup of sugar. Continue beating for several minutes until it creates stiff peaks. Set aside in a separate bowl.



4. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (no need to clean it after the previous step), place the flour mixture. While the mixer is going, pour in the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and mix for a few more seconds.


5. Now using a spatula, FOLD in the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer by hand. Don’t just mix this like you normally would or you will lose the fluffiness, try to fold in the egg whites by making circular movements with the spatula starting on top of the batter and then running under the bottom of the batter. You’ll still be able to see some of the egg whites when you’re done.


6. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. You’ll know they are done when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

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7. Cool the cakes completely. While they are cooling, make the frosting. Place all of the ingredients in your cleaned mixer bowl. This time use the paddle attachment and beat until everything is smooth and creamy. Once the cake has completely cooled, you can frost the cake. I like the more natural looking cake so I only placed frosting in between the two layers and then on top. You’ll also notice I used some of my extra rosemary as a decoration on top. You could also decorate with lemon slices.

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