Check Rates Check Availability
Make a Reservation
The Meritage Resort and Spa

Join Meritage and Vista Collina Resorts as we celebrate women for International Women's Day and feature Michelle Heston's Lemon and Poppy Seed and Dark Chocolate cakes on our dessert menu at Olive & Hay. Not able to taste these cakes in person? Here are the recipes to make them at home!

Meyer Lemon and Poppy Seed Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream


  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 ounces full-fat brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line with parchment, three 8-inch cake pans.

Make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients just until combined. With the mixer still running on low, add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix just until combined. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be a little thick.

Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans and set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until completely smooth and combined. Add confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, more lemon juice if frosting is too thick, add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I always add a pinch of salt!)

Assemble and decorate: Slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable, or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with about 1 cup of frosting. Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with about 1 cup of frosting. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting.

Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze



  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 3 - 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then cool on rack until completely cool.

I usually make two batches of chocolate ganache. One that I cool and beat for the filling and another to glaze the cake.



  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove top, stirring occasionally. Just as soon as you see a simmer, remove from heat and poor over chocolate chips, swirling the bowl to make sure all chips are covered.

Place lid on chocolate chips to trap the heat and let sit undisturbed (no mixing) for 5 minutes. Remove lid and swirl the chocolate chips with a whisk starting in the center and working outward until smooth.

Once it's velvety, let it sit uncovered at room temperature (70˚F) for about 15 minutes before pouring it over your cake. It was perfect for glazing the entire surface of a cake after about 15 minutes.

How to Glaze a Cake: Place cake on a wire rack over a rimmed platter or rimmed baking sheet. Pour your ganache evenly over the top of your cake until desired coverage is reached. You can lift up the wire rack and re-use the chocolate ganache that drips onto the platter.

For filling: Cool with a piece of plastic wrap set on top of the ganache until completely cool. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy.

Never Miss A Thing with
Meritage Resort®

Sign up for our newsletter and receive:

  • Email exclusive offers
  • Collection news and events