A dear friend just returned to work from maternity leave. What better welcome than a sweet little treat? This cake is perfect to make the day before or even two days before you want to serve it since it needs some fridge time. The key to icing a filled cake with ease? The freezer! Read on…
For this cake I used a 6 inch cake pan. Varying the size of the pan will require more filling and icing, so if you make an 8 or 9 inch standard layer cake, double the recipe. If you like, use your favorite yellow cake recipe or use a box mix.
To make the cake:
- 4 oz. flour, a scant 3/4 cup
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 1/2 T. butter, room temperature
- 1/2 C. sugar
- 5 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/3 C. buttermilk
- 1/2 t. vanilla
Butter and flour a 6 inch cake pan. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Alternate adding some of the flour mixture and some buttermilk. Continue alternating with the flour and buttermilk until it’s all incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes before you invert it onto a cooking rack. When the cake is completely cooled, carefully split it into three layers with a serrated knife.
For the filling:
- 1/4 C. store bought lemon curd- I bought mine at Safeway. Find it with the jam and jelly
- 1 C. whipping cream
Pour the whipping cream into the food processor and whip until soft peaks form. Add the lemon curd and process until stiff peaks form, about two minutes.
For the lemon simple syrup:
- Zest of one lemon, peeled off in thin strips with a veggie peeler
- 1 C. sugar
- 1 C. water
To make the syrup, simply place the lemon peel, sugar, and water in a small pot and bring it to a boil. Remove it from the heat and let it steep for about one hour. Strain into a jar and chill.
For the icing:
- 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
- 2 T. softened butter
- 1/4 C. store bought lemon curd
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
In the food processor, process all the ingredients until smooth and spreadable. If the icing is too thick, add a few drops of milk. Too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. Let the icing sit for an hour or so to harden up a bit.
To assemble the cake:
I realize this seems like a lot of steps and a lot of work. You can simplify this recipe by using a box cake mix and jarred lemon curd. You could even use store bought whipped cream if you like. Make the lemon syrup up to one week ahead- you only need about 1/4 C. of it for the cake so use it for cocktails like this one. You can bake the cake the day before assembling it as well.
Split the cake into three layers with a serrated knife. Place one layer on your serving plate. Brush lemon syrup over the cut layer. Use a piping bag to pipe a third of the whipped cream mixture onto the cut layer and smooth it out with an offset spatula. The reason for piping instead of spreading is because it helps to keep the crumbs from getting caught up in the filling. If that doesn’t bother you, then by all means, just plop it on and spread it out!
Top with a layer of cake and brush the cut layer with syrup. Pipe on a third of the filling and smooth out as before. Place the last layer on top, brush with syrup, top with the last of the whipped cream. Put the whole cake in the freezer for about an hour. This will harden it up and allow you to ice it easily without any crumbs sticking to the spatula. It will also harden the cake so that you can use the icing to even out any lopsided spots, indentations, or other flaws. It’s my best cake tip-try it! Spread the icing on the sides first and smooth it all the way around. Turn the cake plate in a circle while you keep the spatula in one spot- there’s another tip for you:) Ice the top last. Decorate as you like, I used a few white non-pariels. Keep the cake in the fridge until about an hour before serving. Icing tastes better at room temperature.