Debby’s Lemon Cake with Chocolate Icing

I have had the same kind of cake every year on my birthday for as long as I can remember. That’s a lot of slices of lemon cake with chocolate icing. Whenever I mention the combination to anyone, they look skeptical. But as soon as they taste it, they love it. I am happy to think of myself as creating this flavor combination and introducing it to many others.

The best cakes are always made from scratch. There are lots of great recipes out there, but I recently made this one and think it’s my new favorite.



  • 1 1/2 sticks (12T) (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups (342g) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • 1 cup (242 g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (57g) lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (53g) vegetable oil
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon (10g) lemon extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour two 8 inch pans. (I have 9 inch pans, but I think 8 inch would be better.)
  3. In a medium sized bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest of 2 lemons. Whisk to blend and set aside.
  4. In another bowl , add the milk, vegetable oil and lemon juice, and lemon extract. Whisk to blend and set aside. If you use a large measuring cup, it will be easier to pour into the bowl later.
  5. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the softened butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and mix on medium speed 3 to 5 minutes until it is lightened in color and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
  7. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately. Begin and end with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Mix until combined and smooth, do not over mix.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees. If baking three 8 inch pans, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. For two 8 inch pans, bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes then turn out.

(This recipe makes 7 cups of batter)

Then there’s the icing. The darker the chocolate, the better. I started with a glass bowl so you could see what I was doing in the pictures. But it quickly proved to be too small. So I recommend using the largest bowl you have. It may seem like overkill, but you are going to be adding a lot of powdered sugar and chocolate, and a large bowl will prevent it from blowing all over your counter.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften butter in the microwave)
  • 6 c. confectioners sugar (690) grams) or more if needed.
  • 1 c. cocoa (the darker, the better), sifted (86 grams) measure then sift
  • 1/3 c. milk (75 grams) more if needed to reach the spreading consistency you like
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (8 grams)


Add butter and beat for approximately 1 min. on medium speed. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

´╗┐Add most of the milk. Begin beating at low speed so you won’t have a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat an additional two to three minutes, adding remaining milk as needed.

This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of frosting.

But I am not the only creative person in my house. My husband really wanted in on the decorating. We were having a few people over for a Friendsgiving, so he went all out on the decoration.

Birthday cake?
top detail

1 thought on “Debby’s Lemon Cake with Chocolate Icing

  1. Mom

    This is to let the world know that when your Mother made that cake for you, she did not put a skull on it!


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