Saturday, August 6, 2011

FRESH LEMON CAKE

Note: This is a cake that takes some time and effort. But believe me, the results are worth it!

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.

Onto a sheet of waxed paper, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the milk and vanilla in a cup.

In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Turn mixer to low speed and the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

GLAZE:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
In a small saucepan heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool then using a pastry brush, brush glaze over the tops of the cake layers.

FILLING:
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
In a medium saucepan combine the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Stir in the water until mixture is smooth. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in the butter until melted.

In a small bowl, using a wire whisk, whisk together the eggs with a third cup of the cornstarch mixture. Add egg mixture to the pan and add the lemon peel and lemon juice. Boil gently for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate.

BUTTERCREAM:
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, combine the 1 cup of the sugar with the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (240 to 245 degrees on a candy thermometer.)

While syrup cooks, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (soft peaks curl when beaters are removed). Gradually add the 2 tablespoons of sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks (peaks stand up when beaters are removed) form. Add the hot syrup in a thin steady line while beating constantly. Beat at high speed for 8 to 10 minutes more until the meringue is completely cool and soft peaks form.

In a large ixer bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. With mixer at medium speed, add the meringue 1/4 cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon peel.

To assemble the cake, Place 1 layer on the cake plate and spread half the filling mixture over the cake top. Add another layer and spread the remaining filling over the top. Top with the third layer and refrigerate for a half hour.

Reserve 1 cup of the buttercream. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Fill a pastry bag that has been fitted with a star tip with the 1 cup of reserved buttercream. Pipe rosettes around cake as decoration.

Yield: 12 servings

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