There are three steps to making this magnificent cake. You need to make (or buy) lemon curd (recipe follows), bake the cake and make an icing (recipe follows). Each step can be done up to three days ahead of time and the cake can be assembled a day ahead. The un-iced cake may be frozen up to one month ahead of time and defrosted in the refrigerator overnight.
- 1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
- 5 eggs
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan.
In mixing bowl, with an electric beater or by hand, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in lemon zest, reserving juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold dry ingredients into egg mixture. Spoon batter into cake pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Loosen cake and turn it out of pan, then return to pan immediately. This is to prevent the cake from sticking when you brush on the glaze.
In a small bowl mix together the icing sugar and reserved lemon juice. While the cake is still hot, make some holes in the surface of the cake. Brush the glaze over the cake. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Makes 1 cake
A thick glossy curd that keeps well for at least two weeks. Useful to have around, it can be used for topping cookies for a quick dessert or mixed with whipped cream for a soft mousse-like dessert.
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) lemon juice
- 3 eggs, well beaten
Mix all ingredients in a heavy pot. Stir gently over low heat until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until needed.
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)
A typical butter cream icing that lasts up to three days. Just re-beat when needed. Flavour with 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla or 2 tbsp (25 mL) lemon juice, if desired. Liqueurs also work as flavouring in this icing.
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) water
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter
Add egg whites to a bowl and beat until frothy. Continue to beat, adding 2 tbsp (25 mL) of sugar, a teaspoon (5 mL) at a time, until mixture is thick and glossy.
Add water to a small pot on high heat. Sprinkle in sugar and boil until a sugar thermometer reaches 250°F (120°C) or until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water. Remove from heat. Turn mixer on and add a thin stream of the boiling mixture into egg whites. Continue to beat until mixture cools down, about 3 minutes.
Beat butter into mixture 2 tbsp (25 mL) at a time, beating continuously. After all butter has been incorporated, flavour as desired.
Makes enough icing to ice one 9-inch (23-cm) cake
Assembly of Cake
Cut cake in half horizontally and fill with lemon curd. Place cake on a cake stand and working with a knife dipped in hot water spread icing smoothly over cake. Any remaining icing can be coloured as desired and piped onto make decorations. Alternatively, use spring flowers to decorate.