Lemon Cake with Fresh Cherry Jam and Cherry Buttercream

Lemon cherry cake 1

My birthday was this past week and my aunt dropped in for a visit, so I decided I wanted to bake myself something delicious and summery to celebrate. I happened upon a mouthwatering recipe for lemon cupcakes with cherry buttercream and decided I would attempt to convert the recipe to a cake. The results were not only irresistible but also quite pretty.  This is definitely a recipe to keep in the books for special occasions. Scrumptious!

For the cupcake recipe, please see the link highlighted above for a redirect to A Bajillion Recipes. For the cake recipe, please continue on here!


For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup full fat yogurt (Greek is preferable), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) lemon zest

For the buttercream:

  • 8 ounces of fresh dark cherries, halved, stemmed and pitted*
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons heavy cream

*I weigh the cherries versus using measuring cups as it turns out perfect each time. Frozen cherries would likely work, but I have not tried it myself yet. If you do, please let me know how it turned out!

For the cherry jam filling:

  • 8 ounces of fresh dark cherries halved, stemmed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water, divided


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and line four 6″ cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until creamy and the color is lightened. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Beat in the yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract on medium speed until well incorporated.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, adding in two additions, scraping down the sides in between. Add the milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. Fill lined and greased cake pans about 2/3 full.* Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until the edges pull away from the pan and are slightly golden. A toothpick placed into the center should pull out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I weigh each pan to make sure they have roughly the same amount of batter so the cake layers are the same size.

For the buttercream:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice until mixture begins to boil and juices are released. Continue cooking and stirring, mashing cherries with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until all the juices are released, about 8 – 10 minutes.
  2. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much juice as possible. You should have about 1/3 cup or more of juice when done. Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  3. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating on low at first and increasing to high speed. Once creamy and combined, beat in the cooled cherry juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract until fully incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes.

For the cherry jam filling: 

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water until sugar is dissolved and cherries begin to release juices.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until mixed well.
  3. Add cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook on low heat until the mixture is thickened and glossy. When thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, the filling is ready. If not thickening well, add a bit more cornstarch.*
  4. Remove from heat, cover, and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

*Sometimes it doesn’t thicken up until it cools completely in the refrigerator. If it is still too runny, adding a tablespoon or so of chia seeds after it’s cooled thickens it up a little.

Assemble the Cake!

  1. After cake and jam filling have cooled completely, place one of the four cakes on a plate or cake stand. Spread a layer of the cherry jam filling on top and spread out in an even layer with a butter knife or spatula.
  2. Using a pastry bag for piping and any tip that suits you, pipe buttercream in a spiral, starting from the outside working inward, until there is an even layer on top of the later of jam filling.
  3. Place the second cake on top evenly and gently press down and into place. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’ve placed the fourth cake on top.
  4. Decorate the top however you’d like! I placed a layer of jam filling and piped rosettes around the rim and added a few fresh cherries to decorate. Experiment and have fun!*

*I like the look of “unfinished” cakes, but there will be plenty of frosting leftover to cover the entire cake if you so desire.

Lemon Cherry cake 2Lemon cherry cake 3Lemon cherry cake 1lemon cherry cake 4

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