Written by Cherise Gombatz (Features Writer)
The lemon cake that I am going to walk you through is perfect for spring! It will take you a couple hours, so it is a great activity while we are stuck at home! I personally made this cake, and it turned out fantastic! Looking back though, I would make a few adjustments. The lemon curd turned out very sparse when putting the cake together, so if you want a significant layer of curd I would double what this recipe says. I also halved the ingredients for the buttercream frosting and still got a good layer all the way around the cake.
First you make the lemon curd to leave time for it to properly cool. You will need 1/4 cup lemon juice (about one–two lemons), tw0 tsp lemon zest, 1/3 cup sugar, four egg yolks, two tbsp salted butter. Combine all the ingredients in a double boiler. Heat on medium while whisking constantly until mixture reaches 170 degrees. After heated pour the lemon curd into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, make sure to press onto the top of the curd so it wont dry, refrigerate until ready to put on the cake.
For the lemon cake you will need, three cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2 3/4 tsp baking powder, one tsp salt, 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (room temperature), two cups sugar, four egg whites, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/4 cups milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice, two tbsp lemon zest. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three cake pans with parchment paper. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Then cream the butter and sugar in a separate mixing bowl. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, mix until well combined. Add lemon juice and zest to milk. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture until combined. There should be three total additions of dry ingredients and two total additions of milk. End with the dry ingredients. Pour batter into cake pans, bake for thirty minutes. Remove the cakes and let them cool completely before putting the cake together.
Last before assembling the cake, make the buttercream frosting well while the cake is baking. You need 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter (room temperature), 9 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, one tsp vanilla extract, two tsp lemon zest, two tbsp lemon juice, yellow food coloring (optional). Add the butter to a mixing bowl and beat until smooth, once smooth slowly add the powdered sugar. After the butter and sugar is smooth, add the salt, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
Once the cake is cooled you can start to put it together. If the cakes are dome shaped you can cut the tops off. Get the lemon curd, if there are clumps stir until smooth. Pipe a small dam of frosting around the outer edge of the cake and fill the dam with lemon curd. Repeat for the other layers. Add the final layer of cake on top, then frost the outside of the cake with a crumb coat and refrigerate until the frosting is firm. Frost the outside of the cake, this is the time to decorate if you want. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve, the cake is best if served within four days.