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Lemon Feta Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting has a delicious combination of flavors. Bright lemon, fresh herbs and feta cheese come together in a perfectly-sweet cake.
A very delicious cake!
I’ve always been a fan of eclectic flavor pairings (especially in desserts) – and this Lemon Feta Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting sure fits the bill.
This moist, perfectly-sweet (but not overly sweet) yellow cake has bright citrusy flavors, with herbal notes thanks to fresh oregano, and slightly tangy undertones from the addition of feta cheese in the cake batter and buttercream frosting.
This cake is uniquely-delicious and perfect for any special springtime occasion such as Mother’s Day, a special brunch, or a bridal shower.
Why you’ll love Lemon Feta Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- This cake is super moist and very delicious!
- It’s sweet – but not overly sweet – and the lemony flavor is wonderfully balanced with other flavors.
- Your guests will never guess the surprise ingredients in every bite – and they will talk about this cake for months to follow! It’s so good!
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Butter – Choose a quality brand of unsalted butter for this recipe. It’s used in both the cake and the buttercream frosting.
- Feta Cheese (Block) – This is also used in both the cake and frosting; you’ll rinse and dry the feta cheese before baking with it. This step helps remove excess the saltiness from the brine used in packaging the cheese, and it allows the fresh, tangy cheese flavor to shine through. (Just be sure to save the brine to store any leftover feta cheese.) Do not buy the crumbled feta for this recipe.
- Lemon zest and extract – We put lemon zest in the cake and lemon extract in the frosting.
- Fresh Oregano – Finely chopped fresh oregano is added to the cake batter for a subtle, bright flavor among the sweet, rich cake. Oregano is a fantastic complimentary flavor to both the lemon and feta.
- Vanilla Extract – Used in both the cake and frosting, vanilla helps balance the flavors.
- Cake flour – This cake achieves a light and moist texture from cake flour, rather than an all-purpose flour.
- Leaveners – Whole eggs, as well as egg whites, baking powder and baking soda are all added to the cake batter
- Sugar – Granulated sugar is included in the cake, while confectioners (powdered) sugar is used in the frosting.
- Heavy Cream – This is used in the frosting.
- This is one of those recipes where substitutions aren’t recommended. Sorry!
Special Tools Needed
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Two 9-inch cake pans
- Parchment circles or parchment paper sheets
- Wilton Bake-Even Cake Pan Strips are very useful but optional. These strips help the batter to rise more evenly in the cake pans, yielding an even cake layer.
- Blender or Immersion Blender
- Stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl and hand mixer)
How do I make Lemon Feta Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting?
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the cake pans. Spray pan sides and bottom with cooking spray, then place a parchment circle in each bottom and spray again. (You can make your own parchment circles by tracing the cake pan bottom on parchment paper sheets, then cutting out the circle). Optional: Soak the cake pan strips in water and when ready to bake, wrap each pan tight with the wet strips.
- Place all the butter for the cake in a sauce pan and melt over medium low heat. Add 12-ounces of feta and whisk to combine. Then, puree in a blender or with an immersion blender.
- Whisk eggs and egg whites with a mixer until smooth,creamy and slightly pale, about 4-5 minutes. (A stand mixer works best for this.)
- Combine the remaining cake ingredients per the recipe instructions and pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- Make the frosting. Once the cake is cooled, frost and serve.
Tips & Tricks
This cake should be served at room temperature for the best texture and taste. You should, however, store it in the refrigerator if you won’t be serving it for several hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make ahead? Yes, this cake can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. Just remember to bring the cake back to room temperature before serving (about one hour ahead of time).
- How do I store? Store leftovers in the refrigerator. We place toothpicks in the top and cover with plastic wrap to prevent any refrigerator flavors and smells from being picked up in the cake.
- Can I freeze this cake? Yes, this cake and frosting will freeze fairly well.
- Does feta cheese melt? Yes, it will melt if it is combined with another ingredient such as butter or cream.
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1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
12 ounces (approximately 1 1/2 cups) rinsed and dried feta cheese. Buy the block feta, not crumbled.
3 whole eggs
2 egg whites
3 2/3 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon finely-minced fresh oregano
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 ounces rinsed and dried feta cheese (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter softened to room temperature (3 sticks)
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Soak two cake pan strips in water.
Spray two 9” round cake pans with kitchen pan spray. Place a parchment circle on the bottom and spray again. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add 12 ounces of feta cheese and whisk. Pour into a blender or blend with an immersion blender until creamy and smooth. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add eggs and egg whites and whisk until creamy and pale, about 4-5 minutes.
While eggs are beating, in a medium bowl mix cake flour, salt, lemon zest, oregano, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
After the eggs have whisked, add sugar and vanilla extract and beat to a smooth consistency, about one minute.
With mixer running on low, alternate adding the butter mixture and the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl a few times. Do not over mix.
Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and cover the outside edge with the wet cake pan strips and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, checking at the 20-minute mark by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out with wet batter, continue to bake for a few more minutes until done. Ours took exactly 28 minutes in our oven, but ovens vary.
Cool in the cake pans for 15 minutes over a rack then invert each cake to cool for 15 minutes more, pulling off the parchment cake circle once they are inverted.
While the cakes bake, make the frosting.
Heat the cream in a small sauce pan and add the feta. Once hot, puree with a small blender or an immersion blender. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and creamy, 4-5 minutes.
With mixer running on low, slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, scraping the bottom and sides a few times.
Add the salt and both extracts along with the cooled cream mixture and beat until smooth and creamy but stiff enough to spread. Should stand up on a spoon without drooping.
Spread a little frosting on the bottom of your cake platter to keep the cake from sliding and place on one cake. The flattest and most even side should face up with any imperfections facing down.
Smooth on a layer of frosting about a half inch thick and add the second cake.
Cover the tops and sides with the remaining frosting using an offset spatula to get an even layer.
Garnish if preferred with lemon slices, lemon crown or a lemon rose and use fresh oregano as the rose leaves. Or serve simply as is.
Refrigerate leftovers but bring to room temperature before serving to soften the buttercream.
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