1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease two loaf pans.
2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and sprinkle 1/2-1 cup of cranberries over the top of each cake (1-2 cups total). Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
4. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1. Cream 10 tablespoons room temp butter with 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest on medium-high.
3. Add 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar plus a pinch of salt, and mix together on medium-high.
4. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon heavy cream, mix on med-low for a few seconds then turn to med-high for about 4 minutes.
5. Taste it. Add more sugar. Then more lemon. Then more cream. Then more sugar. Measurements for frosting are silly anyway.
1. Heat about 1 cup cranberries, a slosh of lemonade and a sprinkle of sugar until cranberries all pop. Let cool.
2. Mix about 1/3 of buttercream with cool cranberry sauce.
When cakes are cool, frost with the lemon buttercream and spread cranberry/buttercream mixture on the tops. OR spread the cranberry/buttercream mixture on top of one cake. Place other cake on top, still with cake inverted. Frost with the lemon buttercream.
Bring the prettier of the two cakes to the office where your coworkers had better love you. Eat the other one, then brag to the internet.