Throughout the warmer months of the year, I tend to crave light, fresh desserts. Desserts that are zesty or full of fruit tend to really go down a treat! I know that layer cakes have a reputation for being the complete opposite of fresh and light, but this Lemon Cheesecake Layer Cake is different. To make it less heavy, I ditched the buttercream and opted instead for a lighter, whipped cheesecake filling (it’s the same recipe as I used for my ANZAC Cheesecake during Le Meilleur Patissier). Taking away the buttercream really made the cake a lot lighter and more suitable for the warmer months. The cake itself is also doused in a really zesty lemon and yuzu syrup giving it lots of zing.
I decorated my layer cake with fresh, inedible flowers. If you plan on doing the same, make sure you wrap the stems in aluminium foil before inserting them in the cake. This will stop you from potentially poisoning your guests. Also, make sure to remove any petals from the cake before serving. If you want to serve the cake with the petals still on, make sure you find edible flowers.
Lemon Cheesecake Layer Cake
For the cake
- 285 g of flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 170 g of butter at room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 250 g of caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean seeds scraped
- Zests of 3 lemons
- 100 ml of buttermilk
- 100 ml of crème fraiche
Lemon Yuzu Syrup
- 200 ml of lemon juice roughly 4 big lemon
- 1 tablespoon of Yuzu powder optional
- 100 g of sugar
- 400 g of Philadelphia
- 260 g of caster sugar
- 300 g of crème fraiche
- 2 lemons zested
- 300 ml of heavy whipping cream
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease and line two cake tins 15cm in diameter.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and set aside.
- With the help of a mixer or electric beaters, beat together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and lemon zests. Keep beating until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk and crème fraiche. Add half to the cake batter and mix until just combined. Add half the flour and mix again, then repeat these steps with the remaining cream and flour.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake at 160°C for 45 minutes or until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool, then cut them in half horizontally so you have a total of 4 cake layers.
Lemon Yuzu Syrup
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a tablespoon to pour a small amount of the syrup over each cake layer. Place the leftover syrup in the fridge for later.
- Using a mixer or electric beaters, beat together the Philadelphia, sugar, lemon zests and crème fraiche.
- With the mixer running, gradually add the cream.
- Continue to beat until the cream has become very thick (approximately 3 minutes).
- To assemble the cake, cover each cake in a thick layer of cheesecake filling, stacking them on top of each other as you go. Use a spatula to cover the top of the cake and exterior in a very thin coating of cheesecake then decorate with fruit and flowers.
- Serve the cake nice and cold with an extra drizzle of lemon syrup.