This cake was inspired by the fact I didn’t have any good chocolate on hand. Frankly, I wanted to make brownies, but duty called in the form of a bunch of lemons and an open jar of curd.
This recipe was adapted from one in Fine Cooking and required two 8×2 inch deep cake pans. It turned out all my 8 inch cake pans were only 1 1/2 inches deep, so I had to adjust the recipe and make it in three pans. I also streamlined it a bit to cut down on appliances and bowls, and at the end of the day, I think I liked my way better than Fine Cooking’s because I had a better ratio of cake to lemon curd. Speaking of which, when it came time to fill the cake with lemon curd, I decided that this cake deserved its own fresh batch and not just what was left of the jarred type in the refrigerator. Plus the recipe left me with 5 egg yolks to use up, so why not? Fine Cooking’s lemon curd recipe was perfect as is and I’d use it again.
Anyway, if you are looking for an easy lemon cake with lots of fresh lemon flavor, here it is. It is kind of a lot for just 3 people to eat, so I think we’re going to eat a few slices the squash it up and make cake pops.
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour ( 9.25 oz)
- 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, lightly packed and finely grated
- 6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 -1 1/2 cup lemon curd from Fine Cooking
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons of milk or as needed
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray three 8 by 1 1/2 inch round cake pans with flour-added baking spray.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whipping attachment, whip egg whites on medium speed until foamy, add cream of tartar, increase speed to high, beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Scrape them into a second bowl to wait.
- In the stand mixing bowl, the same bowl you used to whip the whites, mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the lemon zest, stirring it around to make an aromatic lemon sugar. Add the softened butter and beat with the paddle attachment until creamy, then add the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add a little of the milk and beat just until blended.
- With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture alternating with remaining milk in 3 batches, scraping sides of the bowl.
- Add about 1/4 of the whites to batter and fold in with a heavy duty scraper, then fold in remaining whites gradually. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth tops. Bake for about 28 minutes or until tops are brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on rack.
- Spread the top of two cakes with lemon curd and stack so that you have three layers and two levels of lemon curd filling. Let cake stand for about 30 minutes while you make the icing.
- Frosting: In an electric mixer, beat butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar in gradually and beat well. Add lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add milk as needed until you get a creamy, spreadable consistency.