In homage to one of my favorite summer drinks, I made an Arnold Palmer cake! It’s made with tea flavored cake layers, and a fresh lemon buttercream. I used my go-to vanilla layer cake recipe, and incorporated some iced tea powder into the cake base. For the frosting, I added some fresh lemon zest and juice to my favorite american buttercream. The full recipe can be found below:
Iced Tea Cake:
- 3 1/4 cup flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
- 2 Tbsp Lipton lemon iced tea powder
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
Fresh Lemon Buttercream:
- 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- zest of 1 large lemon
- juice of 1 large lemon
Sugar Ice Cubes:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- dash of cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans.
Begin by making the cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix iced tea powder into the buttermilk, and add in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.
Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.
While the cake layers bake and cool, make the sugar ice cubes! Mix water, corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), being sure to stir constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour into silicone ice cube trays. Cool until completely hardened.
Next, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
NOTE: When are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!
Divide the frosting evenly between three bowls coloring once bright yellow, one pale yellow, and leaving one uncolored. Place frosting into piping bags.
Once layers are fully cooled, begin to assemble the cake. Pipe rings of frosting in a repeating color pattern. Stack layers and continue to pipe until all 4 layers are stacked. Place cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the layers and buttercream are firm.
Using a serrated knife, trim the layers in a tapered shape, to resemble a cup.
Once trimmed, color remaining white buttercream with some brown food coloring. Cover the bottom third of the cake with this brown buttercream. Pipe pale yellow buttercream into the middle third of the cake, and bright yellow buttercream onto the top third of the cake. Blend together the different color gradients using an offset spatula in a zigzag motion.
Once partially combined, smooth using a bench scraper. Place an additional cake round onto the top of the cake, and gently flip the cake over, so that the smaller side of the cake is the base of the cake. Gently removed the original cake round, and smooth additional buttercream onto the top of the cake.
Add the hardened sugar ice cubes to the top of the cake, and add a straw if desired. I added some blue fondant around a dowel, and gently inserted it into the cake.