Lemon Sponge Cake

Yields 24 cupcakes


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract, or the finely-grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sour cream


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar until smooth and no lumps of butter remain. Add the vanilla extract and 5 egg yolks and mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl, slowly add sifted dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating between the two, until fully combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix until batter is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer batter to a large mixing bowl. 

In a clean bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment, beat 6 egg whites, the cream of tartar, and remaining ¼ cup of sugar on high speed until tripled in volume and soft, but not dry, peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, in two additions. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cupcake cavity about 2/3 full, and bake until light golden brown and knife inserted into cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn the cupcakes out of the pans and set on a rack to cool completely before frosting

Strawberry Buttercream

Makes about 4 cups


  • 1 small bag (0.8 oz.) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 1/2 cups (1 lb. box) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons milk 
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • Red food coloring, if desired


Grind the strawberries in a food processor until powder. Sift through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and salt on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined. Slowly add the milk and vanilla. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high speed and mix until light and fluffy. Add the strawberry jam and strawberry powder and mix until fully incorporated. Add a drop or two of red food coloring, if desired.


Recipe courtesy of pastry chef Jenny McCoy of Buck Russell's Bakery & Sandwich Shop