There's something really refreshing about lemon desserts. I'm definitely a chocolate peanut butter kind of girl but I also really LOVE the lemon stuff, when it's done right. And lemon especially at Easter and at an outdoor party? It just makes sense. This is the cake I made for Frederick's birthday. It was really easy and everyone was freaking out about it. I will definitely be making this again!
2 boxes Trader Joe's vanilla cake and baking mix (made with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup cream of coconut
1 cup milk
1 jar Trader Joe's lemon curd (you can also make it yourself - a good recipe here)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray four round cake pans with cooking spray. Pour cake mix in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, melted butter, cream of coconut and milk until well combined. Make a well in the cake mix and pour in the wet mixture. Whisk together until smooth. Divide batter evenly between the four pans and smooth the tops (this will be a four layer cake, if you didn't realize).
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.
To Assemble: Place a dollop of lemon buttercream frosting (recipe below) on the center of a cake platter. Place one of the cake layers on top. Spread on a layer of frosting and smooth out. Place the second cake layer on top. Spoon on a generous layer of lemon curd and smooth over cake. Add the third cake layer on top and spread on another layer of frosting + another layer of lemon curd and smooth over cake layer. Add the final cake layer on top and spread on a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (this is called the "crumb coat"). Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Remove cake from refrigerator and spread the remaining frosting over the crumb coated cake. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.
*I also served this with some toasted shredded coconut on the side. I had originally intended to use it to create a little nest on top of the cake but decided not to since a few people in my family don't like coconut (crazy people!)
Lemon Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons milk, as needed*
Beat butter and shortening together until smooth. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, one at a time, beating to combine. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and combine. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat to combine. *Add a little milk to get the consistency you want (start with just a tiny bit and add as necessary). If you add too much milk or if the frosting is too runny, you can add a little more powdered sugar.