Tomorrow I'm getting married. It feels thrilling and exciting in a million tiny and huge ways. I'm looking forward to so many pieces of the day, from the far-flung friends and family who will gather together, to wearing a wedding dress, to seeing the stars through the top of the clear reception tent.
We're getting married on the farm where I grew up. My parents still live there, so it feels still as much like home as any place ever could. Two of my three sisters have already had their weddings on the farm. It's hard to describe how important the land is to me, how much a part of my bones every inch of it is, and—as I write this—how much waterproof mascara I'm going to need.
One of the fun parts of planning a wedding is, of course, the food. Our caterer is making our cake, and he also made wedding cakes for both of my married sisters. I loved the simplicity of theirs, so we opted to follow suit. It'll be a simple tiered cake made of delicate vanilla sponge layered with a vanilla mousse and swathed in vanilla buttercream. No fancy decorations, just a few flowers tucked here and there. My fiancé and I wanted something a little brighter, since our wedding is ushering in springtime, so we asked for a thin ribbon of Meyer lemon curd between each layer.
Now, I could have attempted to replicate that cake for you here, but that seemed like less of a useful contribution to home bakers. Instead, I asked my fiancé what sort of cake he'd want if we had done a groom's cake (a tradition some couples opt for wherein a second, usually smaller cake is served based on the groom's taste). He pondered the question, and said he'd like the same bright lemon-y flavors, but with a less heavy frosting (he finds buttercream a bit sweet and rich). After a beat, he added that he does love lemon poppyseed loaves.
In honor of everything he loves, and of love in general, and to celebrate our wedding, I've created a cross between his preferences and our actual wedding cake. The result is my dream cake: celebratory and very flavorful with a delicate crumb, zesty lemon curd, and a frosting that has all the best parts of buttercream (luscious and sweet) with a lighter, tangier taste. I fold in Greek yogurt to a classic buttercream to achieve a more whipped texture, and I add vanilla bean paste and lemon zest to the frosting to cut the sweetness.
The lemon curd does make this cake a bit messy to assemble. I recommend frosting the outsides and letting it sit for a few hours to help the curd soak into the layers, which stabilizes it all and makes it easier to slice.
Bake this cake for any celebration, not just a wedding! Bake it to welcome spring and warmer days ahead. Bake it because you like cake. Or someone you love likes cake. And I'll think of you all eating layers of lemon curd and forkfuls of yogurt buttercream while I sunbathe on my honeymoon.
For the cake
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
For the filling and frosting
- 1 cup lemon curd (homemade is best!)
- 1 1/4 cups butter
- 3 cups (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste