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Citrus Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and Orange Lemon Icing (a.k.a. Stella Cake)

apollina baker

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Those spring Stella McCartney prints we have all been seeing look delicious enough to eat.  So, now you can - in the form of cake...!

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I pieced together a couple different recipes so that you get a ton of fresh orange and lemon flavors in every bite.  The two recipes I mainly used as guidance are this Real Simple one and this one from the San Jose Easy Meals Examiner.  I made this cake in two days, baking and preparing everything the first day and then assembling the cake the next.  I also used a 10 inch pan to get more surface area.

What a fashionable little cake, I call her Stella:)

Here are the directions:

Citrus Cake with Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon & Orange Icing


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pans
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • grated zest of two lemons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Blood oranges*, regular oranges, lemons, limes sliced to arrange on top of the cake
  • fresh mint, also to arrange on top of the cake


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8", 9" or 10" round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in the grated zest of the oranges and lemons.  Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (don't over mix).
  4. Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans, leveling the top of each with a large spoon or rubber spatula.  Bake until a toothpick from the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans, 22 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans and 20 to 22 minutes for a 10 inch pan.  Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.  (After they cooled, I wrapped and froze my cakes until the next day).

Transfer one of the cooled cakes to a plate and spread with the lemon curd. Top with the remaining cake and refrigerate to set, 30 minutes. Then frost the rest of the cake!

Lemon Curd Filling (adapted from RealSimple)


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces


  1. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Add the butter. Set the bowl over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened (like the consistency of mayonnaise), 12 to 15 minutes. UPDATE: the lemon curd could take longer than 15 minutes to thicken up, just keep on whisking, I promise, it will happen.
  2. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.  Place a piece of parchment or wax paper directly on the surface of the lemon curd and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Fresh Orange Lemon Frosting


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 3/4 cups), sifted
  • pinch salt


  1. Beat the butter and lemon zest on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the orange juice.  Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, then the salt, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Ice the cake!  UPDATE:  I covered and refrigerated the icing overnight and then frosted the cake the next day after it thawed on the counter.

*I went to three different stores in order to find blood oranges... since the cakes were already made and I needed to decorate it... I just bought regular oranges and improvised with red food coloring. I'm sorry! I had to do it... I had no idea how unobtainable blood oranges could be!

UPDATE: You can also use grapefruits to sub for the blood oranges.  And, what I will do when I make this cake again, is instead of cutting the fruit in halves, I will drape the whole oranges and limes over the edge of the cake.  It's easier and will probably look even better.  Also, I had no problem with my fruit running but, just in case, after you slice the fruit, lay the slices on paper towels until you top the cake with them.