How to Bake the Perfect Cake

Our guest blogger is ROSANNE ZINNIGER, a Professional Cake Artist / Baking Instructor, and owner of Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio – a School of Confectionery Arts and Retail Supply Store. 

The Citrus Pound Cake and how it came about:

 Years back I was looking for a recipe that would carve well, hold the weight of fondant and taste great. I began messing around (as usual) with my recipes (family and others that I acquired over the years), and found that if I added whipped cream to the recipe (it added more fat) and changed the all-purpose flour to cake flour that I would have a tender crumb, as opposed to the tough texture I was achieving with all-purpose. My Italian grandmother cared for me when I was young, and I used to watch her bake and garden. The combination of her baking and her amazing orange tree is reminiscence in this cake. It is extremely important to me to have not only an amazing looking cake but an amazingly tasty cake. The addition of the orange bakery emulsion (or LorAnn’s citrus blossom super strength flavor) takes this recipe to the next level.


 I love to teach this recipe to my baking students because it is a very flavorful, dense and solid cake with a fine crumb texture, so it really does melt in your mouth. My students ask me why I like this recipe so much. I love it because it is so versatile. I can use this cake to carve shapes and create curved pieces that will hold under the pressure of fondant – like creating a purse cake or even the earth! I love that this cake can be torted thinly and layered, usually for wedding cakes and special occasion cakes, and still be flavorful and tender when eaten.

Student Encounters:

Over the years, students commonly encounter issues if they use the wrong eggs. The recipe uses large eggs, not extra large eggs, not jumbo eggs, and sometimes students buy the wrong ones or have other sizes in the fridge. The results tend to toughen the cake, making it denser and drier.

Students also may not read the recipe all the way through and add more lemon juice than is called for, and there will tend to be “streaks” of lemon-like area (not the zest). Also, if they are not combining according to the instructions, skip a step, or are not thorough with the step, then the cake result is not consistent every time. Even with these issues, the cake will still come out okay. However, do not reduce the sugar, or you will end up with a flatter cake. Always add your flavor/emulsions to the fat part of the recipe, after you have thoroughly creamed the butter and sugar together, that way the flavor coats the fat well.  The other recommendation is to alternate the flour with the whipping cream, ending with the whipping cream. Once baked, you will find that the cake top is “flaky” like a sugar cookie crust. If your oven runs hot, bake at 325 degrees F for an extra ten minutes. You might find that the edges brown as well. That is the sugar. Since I use this cake to carve, the top is usually leveled and the edges are carved off.

I always recommend reading the recipe through first, organize your ingredients, and then re-read the recipes. To achieve the best results, follow the steps and ingredient quantities. Also, remember to completely cool the cake before torting, filling and frosting!

More Ideas:

 For those of you not interested in carving a cake or making a wedding cake, this recipe can be used for a lot of other types of desserts …. and breakfast. For example, my husband slices it and puts it in the toaster oven with a pat of butter….and he is skinny! I have served this cake sliced with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I have created a “trifle” by layering cake, the lemon mousse (see the Citrus Pound Cake recipe), fresh raspberries, and served the trifle with an orange or lemon gelato or sorbet. I have also changed the flavors to lemon or key-lime depending on the season. And, for those tea parties or bridal showers, this cake layered with a lemon curd and iced with a poured fondant to create petit fours is simply elegant!

I wish the recipe brings you as much happiness as it has brought to me! All my best, and happy baking, Ro.

Ro Zinger’s Ultimate Citrus Pound Cake

Print Recipe PDF

RECIPE TIP: For a flavor change, try changing 1 tsp. of Natural Citrus Blossom Super Strength flavoring in place of the orange emulsion.

This scrumptious recipe is courtesy of Rosanne (Ro) Zinniger, professional cake artist, baking instructor, and owner of Ro Z’s Sweet Art Studio – a school of confectionery arts and retail supply store. Visit her website at


For Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon LorAnn Orange (or Lemon) Bakery Emulsion
2 ½ teaspoons juice from
zest from 1 Meyer lemon
1 Meyer lemon
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups cake flour
1 cup whipping cream

For Simple Lemon Mousse (Optional):

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup cold water
1 (4 serving size) lemon instant pudding mix – (I like to add a little lemon zest)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

For Lemon Cream Cheese Icing:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Grated zest from 1/2 of a lemon
3 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon LorAnn Oils Super Strength Lemonade flavor
Whipping cream as needed (to thin icing consistency)
Orange liquid food coloring, if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. ; line two 9″ x 3″ round cake pans with parchment paper and grease or spray well with cooking spray.

  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes
  2. Add emulsion, zest, juice and mix well
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated
  4. Add flour and whipping cream – alternating each a third at a time – do not over beat.
  5. Add batter to well prepared pan (spray and parchment paper)
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, checking at 35 minutes to make sure it is not browning too quickly.
  7. Insert a toothpick at the side of the domed top to check for doneness, do not over bake.

Simple Lemon Mousse:

In a large bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, water, and pudding mix until well blended. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in the whipped cream.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing:

In a large bowl, cream together all ingredients until smooth, adding whipping cream only to achieve a thinner consistency. Add food coloring by the drop, until desired hue is achieved (if using). Use immediately. Store extra in refrigerator. Yields 2-3 cups.

To Assemble Cake:

Place one cake on stand or plate and spread evenly with Simple Lemon Mousse or prepared gourmet raspberry filling or raspberry jam. Top with second cake layer. Spread or pipe icing over sides and top.
Serves 12



Leave a Reply