Lemon Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting from Love & Olive Oil


Lemon Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Yield: 1 9-inch layer cake (halve for a 6-inch cake)

Total Time: 2 1/2 hours


For Cake:
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 cup whole milk, divided
5 large eggs
4 teaspoons lemon or Meyer lemon zest (from 4 medium lemons)
3 tablespoons lemon or Meyer lemon juice (from 4 medium lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Frosting:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup cocoa powder
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, more or less as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper; butter parchment.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Add butter and 3/4 cup of whole milk. Mix on low speed until flour is evenly moistened, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat remaining 1/4 cup milk with eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add to the batter mixture one-third at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (about 25 minutes for 6" pans), rotating pans halfway through baking, until lightly golden on the edges and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a knife or thin spatula around the edge of the pan, then invert the cake onto wire rack. It should come out easily and cleanly. Remove parchment from the bottom. At this point the cakes can be wrapped tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use (in fact, I recommend you freeze the cakes overnight, as the frozen cakes will be easier to level and frost later.)

To prepare frosting, in a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cocoa powder and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. As frosting thickens, add a few tablespoons of cream as needed. Depending on the temperature and consistency of your frosting, continue alternating adding cream and powdered sugar, then continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

To assemble, level each cake layer by cutting of the domed top with a long serrated knife. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread on about 1/2 cup of frosting onto cake using an offset spatula. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with another 1/2 cup of frosting, and then position final cake layer, flat side up.

Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting. This "crumb coat" will keep the stray crumbs in place and make frosting the cake easier. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow this crumb coat to set.

Remove cake from refrigerator and cover with remaining frosting, reserving some for piping decorative details if desired.

Orange Walnut Salad with Sweet-and-Sour Dressing

DSC00416 Food Wine and Design made this salad recipe at a recent Valentine's Day gathering with family in NYC and it stole the show, mostly due to the easy and delicious dressing.

From Paula's Home Cooking/Savannah Country cookbook

Servings: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Difficulty: Easy


3   small heads Bibb lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces
1 1/2 lb fresh spinach, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces
3   oranges, peeled, sectioned, and seeded
3/4   medium red onion, sliced and separated into rings
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 teaspoon butter

Sweet-and Sour Dressing:
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons grated onion


In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, spinach, oranges, and onion.

Using a saucepan, saute the walnuts in butter until lightly browned and add to the lettuce mixture.

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a jar, shake well and chill in refrigerator.  Shake before serving.  Pour on top of salad and serve.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Creamy homemade chocolate frosting


Makes 2 3/4 cups (enough to frost an 8- or 9-inch layer cake or 24 cupcakes)| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 30m


  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), at room temperature


  1. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over (but not in) a saucepan of simmering water, stirring often, until melted. Let cool to room temperature (do not let it solidify).
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. With the mixer running, slowly add the chocolate and beat until combined and smooth.

By Sara Quessenberry,  April 2010


Blue Cheese and Fig Crostini


Makes 24

Hands-on Time: 10m

Total Time: 20m


  • 24 thin slices baguette (from 1 small loaf)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup fig chutney
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, thinly sliced


1. Heat oven to 400° F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides of the bread with the oil. Bake until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

2. Dividing evenly, spread the chutney on the toasted baguette slices and top with the cheese.


The crostini can be toasted up to 3 days in advance. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container.

 By Kate Merker,  December 2010


Holiday White Russians

These sweet, creamy drinks are easy to make and we love adding a holiday twist to the White Russian with a dollop of egg nog.

Add 1 1/2 oz. of Stoli Vanil over half a glass of ice ("old-fashioned" glasses provide the perfect vessels)

add 1 oz. of Kahlua

add 1 oz. of egg nog

mix lightly with a spoon and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting


Makes 24 cupcakes| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 40m


  • 1 18.5-ounce box of yellow cake mix (plus ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 2 8-ounce bars of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 24 pieces of candy corn 


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
  2. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn. 

By Kate Merker,  October 2009, realsimple.com

Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Strawberry ice cream cookies

Serves 4

Hands-on Time: 05m

Total Time: 05m


  • 1/2 pint strawberry ice cream, slightly softened
  • 16 small crisp cookies (such as Pepperidge Farms Bordeaux, gingersnaps, or shortbread)


1. Sandwich the ice cream between the cookies. Serve immediately or freeze, covered, for up to 3 days.


To prevent ice cream from frosting over, cover the surface with plastic wrap after you scoop.


Chocolate Cake

Mile-High Chocolate Cake

Mile-High Chocolate Cake

Serves10 to 12
  • Active Time:1 hr
  • Start to Finish:3 1/2 hr
January 2008
This four-layer stunner may just render all your other chocolate-cake recipes obsolete. A generous amount of sour cream keeps the cake layers tender, and the frosting is a glossy triumph. It’s a natural fit for practically any get-together—from a simple family birthday celebration to an elaborate dinner party.

For cake

  • 5 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream

For frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 sticks (1 1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Equipment:

    2 (8- by 2-inch) round cake pans

Make cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter cake pans, then line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment. Flour pans, knocking out excess.
  • Melt chocolate with butter, then cool.
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. At low speed, mix in melted chocolate until incorporated, then add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until each addition is just incorporated. Spread batter evenly in pans and rap pans several times on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
  • Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans and a wooden pick inserted in center of each comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Cool in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edges of pans. Invert onto racks and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make frosting and assemble cake:

  • Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is smooth and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature, covering surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add cooled chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating until frosting is fluffy and spreadable.
  • Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers with a long serrated knife. Put 1 layer on a cake stand or large plate and spread top with 1 1/4 cups frosting. Repeat with 2 more layers, then add remaining layer and spread top and side of cake with remaining frosting.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Cake layers can be made 2 days ahead (but not split horizontally) and kept, wrapped tightly, at room temperature.
  • Frosting can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature (about 1 hour) and beat until fluffy before using.
  • Cake can be frosted 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.