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Ali Whitehead | Trinity Valley EC

Eleven-year-old Ali Whitehead enjoys the unique combination of flavors in this three-tiered show-stealer, including rosemary from her grandmother’s herb garden. “I like to bake this cake around the holidays and any time my parents or grandparents will let me make a mess in the kitchen,” she says.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
8 cups powdered sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1. Batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Alternating with the sour cream, add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Mix in lemon juice, zest and rosemary.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans and bake 25–30 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. (For even baking, rotate the pans after 15 minutes.) Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in pans before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Frosting: Beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 2–3 cups at a time, along with lemon juice and zest and mix until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake, and garnish with lemon and rosemary.

Serves 16.