Friday, September 30, 2011

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone

Let me warn you, this cake is not difficult to make, but there are LOTS of steps. But pretty please, don't let that scare you from making this one. If you love lemon, this one is for you. It's light and lemony and perfect for hot summer nights. Shoot, this one is good any night. Also, if you are planning to make this cake, make it at least one day ahead to the flavors can merry and get more lemony. I made it the same day and it was good, but it got better as it sat. Or so I was told. The only complaint I had about this cake is that the lemon curd was a little eggy tasting to me and the cake was a tad dry. No one else mentioned this, so maybe it was just me. Next time I will be trying this with another one of my lemon curd recipes and cooking the cake a few minutes shy of the 15 minutes. On another note, if you have another lemon curd recipe you love, use it here or try this one!

First step in this cake is making the lemon curd - you need to do this at least the night before because it will need to cool and firm up in the fridge. Lemon curd is easy to make right at home in your own kitchen, so there is no need to go buy some from the store. All you need for this one is sugar, eggs, lemon juice and a little butter. Put everything in a bowl using a double boiler and cook and whisk (don't stop whisking!) for about 10 minutes or a thermometer reads about 160 degrees. You will know when it gets close because it gets super thick and creamy. Once it's thick, stir in the butter until melted and then chill. Make sure you put plastic wrap right on top of the curd so it does not get a film. It's like when you get film on homemade pudding. No one likes that film. It's just nasty. Oh, and if you think you got some eggy lumps in there (it's happened to me before), just pass it through a fine mesh strainer before you chill it and you are good to go. You can even make this a few days ahead too! Here's how I did it (full recipe at the end of this post).

so many lemons

picked up this little juicer in the cooking clearance section at target for a dollar. Always search that section for good kitchen items!

whisking that curd

adding butter to the thick curd

straining to remove lumpies

Okay, curd is done and chilling. Now on to the cake. Are you tired yet? Buck up and wake up. It's time for cake! This cake is a spounge cake and take lots of egg whites and whipping. After seperating the whites and yolks, whip the yolks and sugar until fluffy. Then, in another bowl (you will need lots of bowls), beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks. Fold in the whites to the yolk, keeping it light and fluffy. Then add in the dry goods and fold in until just mixed. Before you bake these, make sure you line your pans with parchment. If you don't, you will not get these out of the pan. There is no non-stick spray used here. Pour evenly into pans and bake. They will be lightly brown and smelling yum.


line with parchment!

this is what stiff peaks looks like

folding the yolks and whites

baked and cooling

We are almost there. Now on to putting this bad boy together. Once the cakes are cooled, cut each one in half, so that there are four layers total.  Place one layer on a plate, but make sure to lay down parchment strips like this so that you can have a clean plate after frosting. Once the first layer is down, brush the cake with 1/4th of the lemon simple syrup, then 1/4 cup lemon curd, then the 1 cup frosting (recipe below). Continue with all of the layers until you get to the top and all the lemon curd and syrup is gone. Then cover the cake with the remaining icing and decorate as you wish. I put fresh lemon slices, raspberries and clear sprinkles for crunch, but you don't have to put anything if you don't want. I always feel that decorations make cakes prettier and if the cake is prettier, you will want to eat it. That's just my theory.

you should have seen me cutting these. cut perfectly!

masacarpone cheese, whipping cream and lemon curd make the frosting. YUM.

mixing the mascarpone and lemon curd together

lemon simple syrup

brushing the first layer with syrup

spreading the curd

spreading the frosting

all layered and frosted

all decorated and ready to eat!

Woo, are you tired yet? I am. 

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone (from

Lemon curd
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


6 large eggs, separated
14 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese

For lemon curd:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. 

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper (do not grease pans or parchment). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter. 

Divide batter between pans and smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Remove parchment paper. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin). 

For syrup:
Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice. 

For filling and frosting:
Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl and whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture. 

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer and brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over.  Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Cover cake with cake dome or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day. 

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