Incredibly Light, Intensely Tangy Lemon Curd Cake
What says sunshine and warm weather more than lemon? Here’s one of those incredible cakes that makes the sugar statement every party needs. You can introduce it complete or make the final assembly part of the show…that’s what I did when I made this at Easter.
A couple notes on preparation. This is a sponge cake, so it’s quite light and has less structure than a typical white cake. Likewise, the curd and frosting are both light and glossy. The good news is, it tastes like you’re eating air, so you can be assured this won’t go to your hips (ha), however it does take some careful attention to detail to ensure the lemon curd and whipped cream are both as stable as possible so the whole thing gels together.
Want to experience the amazing flavor without the detailed cake assembly? Bake individual mini cakes in canning jars, then top them off with spoonfuls of lemom curd and frosting. You’ll be picnic-and-travel-ready in no time.
One more thing, at WineTable.com, we’ve paired this cake to several wines to make for an even more memorable, sunshiney culinary experience. Check them out!
For The Lemon Curd
2 1/3 C. sugar
2 t. cornstarch
1 C. fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For The Frosting
3/4 C. powdered sugar
2 C. chilled extra heavy whipping cream
For The Cake
1 1/2 C. cake flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 C. vegetable oil
To Make the Lemon Curd:
Make this first because it will go into both the cake and the frosting. The main thing to remember here is not to rush the process. Let medium (not high) heat work its magic on the sugar.
Combine 2 1/3 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. Whisk CONSTANTLY over medium heat until the curd thickens and boils, about 12-14 minutes. Pour into medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
To Make the Frosting:
Beat the powdered sugar and 1 1/4 cups of the lemon curd in large bowl just until blended. Beat the cream in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold cream into curd mixture in 3 additions. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
To Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add 4 yolks, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, orange juice, lemon peel and 3/4 cup curd to bowl (do not stir). Combine whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar in another large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Using the same beaters, beat yolk mixture until smooth. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.
Spoon 1 cup frosting into pastry bag fitted with plain round tip; refrigerate bag. Place 1 cake layer on cake platter. Spread top of cake layer with 1/3 cup curd, then 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer; spread with 1/3 cup curd and 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Spread remaining curd over top of cake, leaving 3/4-inch plain border around edge. Pipe chilled 1 cup frosting in bag in small mounds around edge of cake. (Cake can be prepared 1 day ahead; refrigerate.) Place lemon slices between mounds of frosting. Slice cake and serve.
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