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yuzu citrus cake!

yuzu citrus cake by tessa huff

yuzu citrus cake by tessa huff

yuzu citrus cake by tessa huff

In another life, I would love to be a pastry chef. I love, love, love sweets so much and completely admire the talent and patience that goes into making these beauties. So today, we’re sharing a recipe for this ridiculously beautiful cake from the book Layered by Tessa Huff of Sweet Style CA. This is a longer recipe than we normally post on Oh Joy, but it feels like a real treat to me…something worth making for a birthday or special occasion.

Here’s the recipe to make this gorgeous Yuzu Citrus Cake! I fell in love with yuzu after trying it in Japan 6 years ago so this cake just calls my name…

You’ll need…

Yuzu Curd

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh yuzu juice (see notes)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks

Yuzu Cake

3 1/4 cup cake flour, plus more for the pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated yuzu or grapefruit zest
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 egg whites
3 tablespoons fresh yuzu juice (see notes)
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice (from about 1 grapefruit)
1 cup whole milk

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 cup (8 ounces) egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Here’s how…

Make the Yuzu Curd

1. Place the butter in a heat-safe bowl and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, yuzu and lemon juices, egg, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, or registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve over the bowl containing the butter. Stir to combine. Cover the curd with plastic wrap, pressing it directly against the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make the Yuzu Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

3. Place the sugar and yuzu zest in a small bowl. Rub them together with your fingertips until fragrant.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar mixture and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

5. Turn the mixer to medium-low and gradually add the egg whites until incorporated. Add the yuzu and grapefruit juices and mix until combined. Sop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

6. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined.

7. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Make the Buttercream

1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

2. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Once hot, carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.

3. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for about 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature and no residual heat should be escaping the meringue out of the top of the bowl. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, then the vanilla. Once incorporated, turn up the mixer speed to medium-high an beat until buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes

Assemble the Cake

1. Tint the buttercream with the food coloring of your choice, if using.

2. When the cakes have completely cooled, level them and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place in on a cake plate or serving dish. Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip with some of the buttercream. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edges of the bottom layer of cake to create a dam. Fill in the middle with half of the curd. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat. Frost the top and sides of the cake the remaining buttercream.

Decorate It!

1. To create the tricolour petal finish as shown, you will need three pastry bags – one for each color.

2. After stacking, crumb coat the cake then divide the remaining buttercream into separate mixing bowl and tint each one separately.

3. Transfer the buttercream colors to individual pastry bags fitted with round tips (1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter).

4. Pipe large dots of “bulbs” of frosting following a straight, vertical column down the side of the cake, alternating colors as you go. The bulbs should be touching by not overlapping, so adjust their size accordingly.

5. Place the tip of a small spatula or spoon on the center of the first, top-most frosting bulb. Gently pull the frosting straight across to the right to create a petal shape. Working down the row, continue to pull and create petals with the frosting.

6. Once one column is complete, pipe a new set of bulbs, slightly overlapping the tails of the petals from the previous row. Continue around the cake until completely covered.


Use bottled yuzu juice if the whole fruit is unavailable or out of season. Some yuzu juice can be a bit salty, so be sure to taste it prior to baking. Look for yuzu juice at Asian supermarket or online. The same recipe would work with other citrus juices (lemon or grapefruit) if you decided to omit the yuzu all together.

The yuzu curd may be made in advanced and will keep for up to 1 month stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The completed cake will keep in fridge for up to about 3 days.

Thanks so much, Tessa, for sharing this recipe with us!

{Photos by Tessa Huff



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