Grandma Newell’s White Cake with Lemon Filling

Left, Bruce Frank and Linda Emmerton pose on their wedding day in 1970 with the lovely wedding cake that was custom-made by her maternal grandmother, Minda Newell.  Right, the cake has a lemon filling and white frosting.

“This recipe is from a book my maternal grandmother used to make my wedding cake in 1970,” Linda Emmerton Frank said. “My grandma Newell took classes to make it for me. I remember Grandma working on it in her apartment behind our house. I would go upstairs and watch her as she decorated it. It is a sweet memory. She set up the cake in the reception area too. She was a special lady. It was beautiful.”

I met Linda when I was doing research on the history of a ranch that my family owns. The property used to be owned by her great-uncle Orville Colburn, whose family moved from Maine to California in the 1860s, and his wife, Lillian Emmerton Colburn.

This white cake recipe was very easy to make from scratch and tastes absolutely delicious.  

Grandma Newell’s White Cake with Lemon Filling

Servings: 12


2 ½ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon lemon extract

5 egg whites

½ cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

Combine, cake flour, salt, shortening, baking powder and sugar; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Combine milk and lemon extract; add to flour mixture and beat 1 more minute. In a separate bowl, combine the egg whites and ½ cup sugar; then add to flour mixture and beat 1 minute. Pour batter into two 8-inch round layer pans and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, make lemon filling as follows:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 eggs

1 cup water

Juice of 2 large lemons

Grated rind of 1 lemon

¼ stick butter

Mix the sugar and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with a rotary beater and add water, lemon juice and lemon rind. Combine with sugar mixture. Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler. Add the sugar mixture and stir. Place the pan over boiling water and stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

Spread the filling on top of the first cake layer. Gently set the second cake layer on top.

Frost the layer cake with white frosting. Here’s an easy recipe:

2 egg whites

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons light corn syrup

Dash of salt

1/3 cup cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in the top of a double boiler. Beat for 1 minute with a rotary or electric beater. Place the pan over boiling water and beat constantly until the frosting forms peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the boiling water. Add vanilla and beat until the frosting is of a spreading consistency, about 2 minutes. Chill frosting in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Frost the tops and sides of the layer cake.

Garnish the cake with fresh flowers and serve.

Game Day Loaded Potatoes

Here’s a delicious Game Day appetizer! For this year’s Super Bowl, I can’t say who I’m rooting for because I have family members in both Kansas City and Tampa Bay. As the home chief (oops! I mean, chef) I’ll just keep my mouth shut and cook; except, of course, when I’m eating tailgate-party food during the big game!

Game Day Loaded Potatoes


Vegetable oil

6 medium potatoes, washed and dried

6 slices of bacon, cut into pieces (one slice bacon per potato)

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup diced onion

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon red pepper sauce

Dash of dried parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rub vegetable oil on potatoes. Pierce potatoes with a fork and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45-55 minutes until soft.

While potatoes are baking, cook bacon in a skillet; remove from pan and place on paper-towel-lined plate.

Mix together in a medium bowl: cheese, sour cream, bacon, onion, Dijon mustard and red pepper sauce.

When the potatoes are baked, remove from oven and slice lengthwise on top. Scoop out potato flesh, leaving about a quarter-inch in the skins, and add to cheese mixture. Stir together and then stuff the mixture into the potato skins, creating mounds.

Bake in oven until cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley, and serve. This recipe serves 6, and can easily be doubled, tripled, etc., depending on the size of your crowd.

Tip: Serve this along with party sliders and breaded mozzarella cheese sticks–feel free to check out my recipes.