Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Cake w/Mascarpone Buttercream – Anthony Salemme

By Anthony Salemme, contributing chef

Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Cake w/Brown Butter Mascarpone Buttercream

Serves 8

Pressed for time one day in the past with a well-stocked pantry, I came up with this very last minute. It’s a doctored-up mix recipe, but no one would ever know.


1 box Duncan Hines lemon cake mix

1 box lemon pudding mix (or vanilla)

¼ cup poppy seeds

½ cup coconut oil, melted

3 eggs

1 1/3 cup buttermilk

1-pint fresh strawberries, (hulled and sliced)

Pre-heat oven to 325F and grease two 8” cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer add all the ingredients except the strawberries. and mix on low until they are all incorporated, about 1 minute, then beat 3 minutes on medium. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then divide equally between the two cake pans.

Arrange the strawberry slices on top of the batter. Bake 35 minutes until the cake springs back when touched with your finger.

Let cool for 90 minutes.

Slice each cake layer in half vertically so you have 4 layers. On a serving platter place one layer down; brush with Monin strawberry syrup then spread some buttercream to the edge, and repeat with remaining layers, making sure you have about 1/2 cup of buttercream for the outside and top.

Decorate with fresh strawberries and poppyseeds.

Chill for about an hour before serving.


Mascarpone Brown Buttercream

1 pound mascarpone cheese, softened

2 sticks of butter, browned and solidified back to room temperature.

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups confectionary sugar

1 lemon, zested and 2 Tablespoons of juice

1-pint strawberries, for garnish

Monin strawberry syrup (you can also use Eclipse strawberry syrup or rum) for brushing the layers.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer beat the softened cream cheese and butter for 2 to 3 minutes on medium to high speed. You can also do this in a large bowl with a handheld mixer. The mixture should be light and fluffy.

While the cream cheese is beating, sift the powdered sugar into another clean bowl. This helps prevent a lumpy frosting.

When the butter and cream cheese mixture is fluffy, add the salt, and half of the powdered sugar. Mix low at first to prevent a powdered sugar storm in your face(!), then increase the speed to medium high and beat for 3 minutes.

Turn mixer off and add remaining powdered sugar, so you are adding up to 3 cups. Add lemon juice and zest, beat for an additional 3-4 minutes.


Anthony Salemme loves to cook and share recipes. You can follow him on Instagram at – @mealpvd and online at