Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eight Lemon Cake

Every year I ask Tristan what kind of cake he would like for his birthday. Without fail, he always replies 'lemon'. I don't want him to tire of the flavor he so often desires, so I try to mix things up and create a different cake every birthday. This year, I came up with this a cake I call 'eight lemon cake' aptly named as it does in fact contain eight entire lemons! I hope you like it as much as we did!

Vanilla Bean Butter Cream Frosting
(Adapted from William's Sonoma)


6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (don't skip this part, your frosting will be lumpy)  
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 Tbs. whole milk, plus more, if needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean


Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. Use the flat side of a butter knife to remove the inside of the bean from the pod. Take 5 Tbs. milk and put into a small bowl. Take the inside scrapings from the vanilla bean and stir into the milk. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the bean to infuse into the milk.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners sugar, butter, the milk infusion, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Makes about 4 cups.You will only need about 2-3 cups for the cake; the remaining frosting can be frozen for up to 2 months and or kept in the fridge for 3 or 4 days for another use.

Lemon curd filling
(adapted from fine cooking magazine)


4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 lemons, zested (reserve lemons for juicing to make the lemon curd)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (it took nearly all 8 of the lemons I had to make this much juice)
Pinch salt

6 large egg yolks
(5 reserved from the cake, plus 1)


Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Whisk in the yolks until smooth. Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. To check if the curd is thick enough, dip a wooden spoon into it and draw a your finger across the the back of the spoon; your finger should leave a path. Don't let the mixture boil. Immediatly force the curd through a fine seive into a bowl, using a rubber spatula. Let cool at room temperature, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Lemon Cake
(adapted from Fine Cooking)


9-1/4 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all purpose flour; more for the pans
2-3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. table salt

1-3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 lemons, zested (reserve lemons for juicing to make the lemon curd)

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature; more for the pans

1 cup whole milk, at room temperature

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar  


Position a rack in the middle of the oven; heat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour two 8 x 2-inch round cake pans. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the zest in a food processor until well combined.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1-1/2 minutes). Add the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar and beat until smooth (about 1-1/2 minutes). Beat in a quarter of the milk just until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in three batches, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat just until blended.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (with clean beaters or the whip attachment) on medium speed just until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium high, and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add a quarter of the whites to the batter and gently fold them in with a whisk or a rubber spatula; continue to gently fold in the whites, a quarter at a time, being careful not to deflate the mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with the spatula. Bake until a pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a table knife around the inside of the pans and carefully invert each cake out onto the rack. Flip them right side up and let cool completely.
With the palm of one hand pressed on top of a cake layer, cut each in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Put one of the four cake layers on a serving plate, cut side up. With an offset spatula or a table knife, spread a generous 1/3 cup chilled lemon curd on top of the cake layer. Lay another cake layer on top, spread it with another generous 1/3 cup lemon curd, and repeat with the third cake layer, using the last 1/3 cup lemon curd. Top with the fourth cake layer.
Frost with the vanilla bean frosting, using as much or as little as desired. If you want to avoid crumbs in your cake frosting, start by frosting the cake very lightly, cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes, then frost with remaining frosting. The thin layer will catch all of the crumbs and then harden slightly, allowing for a smooth surface and beautiful cake!

No comments:

Post a Comment