Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
(180 degrees C) with the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non-stick
vegetable spray, two 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans
with parchment paper.
In a bowl, sift or whisk the
flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl rub the lemon zest into the sugar.
In the bowl of
mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the sugar
(mixed with the lemon zest), eggs, and vanilla extract until
smooth and creamy (about 1 minute).
the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in three additions)
with the milk and oil (in two additions), beginning and ending with the
Evenly divide the
batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops with the back of a
spoon or an offset
spatula. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake
springs back when pressed lightly in the center.
cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert
the cakes onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and re-invert cakes so
that tops are right side up. Cool completely before frosting.
In a small saucepan bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve
the sugar. Let boil for about one minute. Remove from heat and let cool before
adding the alcohol. The soaking syrup can be made ahead and stored in the
refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the
cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and
confectioners sugar and beat until light and airy (a couple of minutes). In a
separate bowl whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks. Gradually fold the
whipped cream into the cream cheese frosting until smooth.
the two cake layers in half horizontally (so you will have four layers of cake). Place one cake layer
(top of the cake facing down) on your serving plate and lightly brush with the
soaking syrup. Spread with a thin layer of frosting. Next, lightly brush the cut
side of the next layer with the soaking syrup. Place the cake layer (cut
side facing down) on top of the frosting and spread with a thin layer of
frosting. Repeat the process with the next two
cake layers. Then cover the entire cake with the
remaining frosting. The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for
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