Lemon Berry Cake


I was tasked with making a dessert for roughly 25-30 people attending a baby shower last weekend. The mom-to-be and I decided on a lemony berry-y concoction, and this is what I came up with. It was a bit precarious to transport, but it looked nice, tasted good, and fed the right amount of people. Success!

The cake is a basic 1-2-3-4 cake with a dose of vanilla and lemon zest added. I baked mine in the three-tiered wedding-style configuration—if you do that, just keep an eye on the layers since they’ll bake at different rates. Start checking them at 20 minutes. The easier way is to cook them in three 9-inch pans like the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have three. You work with what you got. Note that you can make the lemon curd beforehand (it’ll keep in the fridge for 1 week).

The combo of the sweet cake, tart lemon curd, fresh berries, and fluffy whipped cream is just so good. Technically you could leave out the berries or you could leave out the curd. It’d still be good, just not quite as good. But I get it if you don’t want to prep four things.


1-2-3-4 Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 lemons, zested
3 cups sifted self-rising flour*
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare your three 9″ pans by greasing and flouring well.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to mix well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and zest and mix well.

Add flour and milk alternately to mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 5-10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and cooling completely.

* Make your own self-rising flour if you don’t have any. 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 2 teaspoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Lemon Curd
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen/The Joy of Cooking

4 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small lemons, zested and juiced

Put all ingredients in a double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken.


1 package fresh strawberries, washed and dried
1 small package raspberries, washed and drained
1 small package blueberries, washed and drained

Hull the strawberries and slice into 2-4 slices lengthwise, depending on their size. If your strawberries are not very sweet, you can toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of sugar.

Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chill a large, clean mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla and whip using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer. Add the sugar gradually, a tablespoon at a time. Whip until stiff peaks form.

How to Assemble:

Place one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 1/3 of the lemon curd in a thin layer, followed by 1/3 of the whipped cream and a single layer of berries. If you soaked your strawberries in sugar, be sure to drain them before using. Top with another cake layer and repeat twice. For the final layer, arrange the fruit in a pretty design. Or don’t! Whatever you want. Store in the refrigerator until serving.


Lemon Berry Cake

Thoughts on Rhubarb


I love rhubarb. I know not everyone feels the same way, but I crave the tart, fruity stalks all year long. The vibrant, celery-like plant can be hard to track down in SoCal, but at long last I got my hands on some at the farmers market on Sunday. It was a little green and extra tart, but beggars can’t be choosers and it still satisfied my craving.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some rhubarb but aren’t sure what to do with it, here are some ideas:

I made this recipe with two cups of tart rhubarb and almost two cups of diced apple. Depending on how tart your rhubarb is, you’ll need at least 3/4 cup of sugar, maybe more.

And if you’re lucky enough to have a little green space and live in a slightly cooler climate than LA, plant rhubarb in an out-of-the-way place and let it go. The shrub takes a year or so to come into its own, but it comes back year after year, producing more and more tasty stalks. Heaven.

Thoughts on Rhubarb

Throw Back to Italy, part 3

It’s Thursday and I’m in the mood to reminisce. Last time I posted photos from our time in Cinque Terre, but I left out our visit to the Lemon Festival in Monterosso. It deserves its own post. I am a big lemon fan, so a whole festival dedicated to lemons? With homemade lemon desserts and limoncello and lemon lemon everything everywhere? Made from beautiful, gigantic local lemons? And it happens to be while I’m in Cinque Terre?? Um, yes. A thousand times yes.

This area is known for their lemons, and during the festival the whole village sets up tables and sells lemons and things made from lemons. Everything is decorated with lemons and everything is bright yellow. Kids are set up selling lemonade, and a prize is given to the biggest lemon and best traditional lemon cake. It’s festive and delicious. It’s also where I had the best lemon cake of my life (pictured below). The festival takes place one day in May, and if you love lemon as much as I do, I highly recommend it.

That’s definitely the most times I’ve typed the word lemon in so many words.

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Throw Back to Italy, part 3