Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

This ain’t your typical layer cake recipe. And no, there’s no Photoshop foolery going on. We turned rolls of lemon sponge cake filled with raspberry buttercream frosting on its head, and the result is… so incredibly fun!

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

Meet our vertical layer cake, a whimsical dessert that has four lean and long cake layers in every impressive slice. Topped with just a simple meringue frosting and festive sprinkles, this clever cake will leave you looking like a culinary mastermind once you get a peek at the party going on inside. Trust us — and not the mondo instructions list: It is much simpler to make than you might think. We won’t tell if you don’t ;)


Lemon Sponge Cake (recipe for 1 batch — cake design required 2 batches)

– 1 cup all purpose flour

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 4 eggs

– 3/4 cup sugar

– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

– 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

– 1 tablespoon lemon juice

– 1 tablespoon lemon zest

– 3-4 small drop yellow food color

Raspberry Buttercream Filling

– 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

– 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 2-4 tablespoons raspberry preserves, or to taste

– 1 teaspoon milk

Beat butter with an electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Carefully add in the remaining ingredients. Adjust the sugar and milk until desired consistency. Continue to mix on high until fluffy.

Vanilla Meringue Buttercream

– 3 egg whites

– 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– sprinkles for topping (optional)

1. Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine.

2. Place a couple of inches of water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium. Place the bowl of the electric mixer on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler.

3. Heat until the egg mixture is hot to the touch (about 165 degrees on a candy thermometer).

4. Once hot, transfer bowl back to the mixer. Beat on high with the whisk attachment until the bowl of the electric mixer cools to room temperature.

5. Stop mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.

6. With the mixer on medium-low, add in the butter and vanilla.

7. Turn mixer to medium-high and mix until smooth.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan with non stick spray. Trim and line the inside with parchment.

3. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

4. Place eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high until eggs are light and pale yellow in color (about five minutes).

5. With the mixer running on medium-speed, gradually add in the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.

6. Carefully add in the dry ingredients and yellow food coloring.

7. Pour batter into the parchment-lined pan. Tip the pan to evenly distribute or use a spatula.

8. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the cake just starts to pull from the edges of the pan or cake springs back when touched.

9. Meanwhile, place a clean kitchen towel on your work bench. Dust with powdered sugar.

10. When cake is done baking, carefully invert the pan onto the kitchen towel while the cake is still hot. Use oven mitts to handle the hot pan and cake. If cake seems “stuck,” gently tug on the parchment to release.

11. Peel back the parchment from the cake.

12. Dust with powdered sugar.

13. Fold one of the ends of the short side of the kitchen towel up over the cake. With the short side of the cake facing you, gently roll the warm cake in the towel. Set aside to cool.

14. Once cool, gently unroll the cake and removed the kitchen towel.

15. Repeat with second cake.

16. Use a serrated knife to slice both cakes length wise to create four long strips of cake.

17. Evenly distribute the raspberry buttercream onto the cakes and spread with an off-set spatula.

18. With the short side facing you, start to roll up one of the cakes with the filling. Take the first roll and match end-to-end with the next cake and continue to roll and wrap the cakes around.

19. Flip the cake roll on its side (so the flat part in on your work bench) and continue to wrap the remaining strips of cake around the large cake. Trim ends to fit.

20. Transfer to cake board or cake stand and ice cake as normal when cool. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

First, gather the ingredients for the lemon sponge cake.

While your oven is preheating to 350 degrees F, beat eggs until they turn a pale yellow, then gradually add in the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Add in the sifted dry ingredients along with the yellow food coloring to give the cake a pop of color. Then spread the batter onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan — oooh, so pretty already! You’ll pop this — and a second identical batter-filled pan — into the oven for about 12-14 minutes. When it’s done baking, place the warm cake on a powder sugar-dusted kitchen towel and get ready to roll!

So the cake has made it to the the kitchen towel — awesome! Roll it up to let it cool. Once it has cooled, cut your cakes into a total of four long strips with a serrated knife. Now lather on that raspberry buttercream! Once that’s been evenly distributed, roll up the cakes: Take the first roll and match it with the next cake, short end to short end, and continue to roll and wrap the cakes around themselves. You’re getting hungry… VERY hungry… Then flip the cake roll on its side to wrap the remaining strips and trim the ends to fit so it looks just like this (see the pic above!) from above. But don’t send a cake selfie just yet — we’ve got some frostin’ to do.

The progression is sooo satisfying — but it’s not complete until we add the sprinkles!

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

There it is, looking completely stellar with the sprinkles dusting the edges of the cake. But now, for the REAL reveal. Cake cutter, please!

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

The anticipation is KILLING us!

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

Floored? So are we! That’s one seriously stunning layer cake!

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

We can’t wait to dig into that raspberry buttercream filling — those bits of fresh berry are calling us. Maybe just one more photo for Instagram before we take a BIG first bite ;)

Vertical Layer Cake Recipe

Have you made any crazy layer cakes lately? Or are you putting together other special sweet treats for spring? Tell us in the comments below.