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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Frosting

One of my fluffier pleasure reads lately was a novel called Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. It was kind of enjoyable, not particularly inspiring or redeeming. In fact, it made me even more nervous than I already am to enter middle age. Not really what I needed right now. Our heroine is at the center of a family fraught with changes - kids, husband, parents all going through things, needing help from her in different ways. Losing herself in serving everyone else, and only escaping when she can make a cake, which she eventually *SPOILER* tries to turn into a business. Naturally, cake recipes abound at the end of the book so at least I took those away with me before returning it to the library. Several are boozey - not my piece of cake - but a couple looked really good including this lemony tower.

The cake is very good, with a nice crumb, though I might add some lemon extract next time. But the star of the show is the cream frosting, which is simply whipped cream folded in with homemade lemon curd. I salivate just thinking of it. It's easy to make, not too different from lemon pie filling, and so awesome turned into a cake topping. Be sure to refrigerate it, though, if there's any left after serving. Whipped cream does not do so well sitting out at room temperature.Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Frosting
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms of each with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.
2. To make cake, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together milk and lemon juice (mixture will curdle and that's a good thing.)

3. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour, mixing at low speed until just combined.
4. Divide batter between pans, smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.

*(This batter can be baked in 16 muffin cups for about 15 minutes; or in a 9x13 pan about 25 minutes. Halve cake crosswise to form two 9x6.5-inch rectangles and layer in same manner as described below.)

Lemon Cream Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Lemon curd (recipe follows), chilled

1. Beat cream and confectioners' sugar with clean whisk beaters until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold one third of whipped cream into chilled lemon curd to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream.

2. To assemble cake, put 1 cake layer, rounded side up, on a cake plate and spread with one fourth of frosting. Top with second layer, rounded side up, and spread top and sides with remaining frosting.

Lemon Curd (for frosting)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 stick (6 T) unsalted butter, cut into bits

1. Whisk together juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

2. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour. Makes about 1 1/3 cups

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, January 2001 via:


Leslie said...

"fluffier pleasure reads" lol lol lol

wonderful said...

This looks delicioso! I love looking at your blog (almost every day!) It is a delight and a mouthwatering trip every time :)

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