Sunday, 2 March 2008

Iced lemon curd layer cake

Today is Mothering Sunday so what better treat for the Caked Crusader’s Ma (CCM) than something lemony? The CCM has a penchant for lemon and I reckon this cake must be a lemon-lover’s dream. The sponge contains lemon, the lemon curd is practically all lemon, and the lemon icing is topped with lemon zest. I don’t see how any more lemon could be added to this cake!

The finished cake is attractive and I like the layering when a slice is cut; I love this photo as the main cake is visible in the background. It's come out rather arty, albeit unintentionally:

Nothing about this cake is difficult but there are several stages to it. I made the sponge and the curd the day before I wanted the cake. This only left assembly and icing on the day itself. It all begins with simple sandwich sponges:

I have been quite vocal in the past about my lemon-loathing but even I have to admit that this cake looks a beauty. The curd was particularly pleasing to make; so many lemon curd recipes contain yucky things like cornflour to thicken the mix. This one doesn’t and I think has a better taste and consistency for it. Here it is cooking in the pan:

I also got to use my new lemon squeezer – it’s great because it gets all the juice out without any risk of pips falling into the mix. And in this age of hi-tech gadgetry it couldn’t be a simpler piece of equipment!

For the sponge:
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the lemon curd:
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
50g unsalted butter

For the lemon icing:
50g icing sugar
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.
- Grease two 18cm sandwich tins.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage – give the mixture a good beating.
- Gradually beat in the eggs, lemon juice and zest, alternating with the flour and baking powder i.e. beat in a bit of the wet ingredients, then some of the dry ingredients, then some wet etc. This avoids the mixture curdling.
- Spoon into the tins and level.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took exactly 35 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
- Now make the lemon curd. Stir together the sugar, lemon zest and juice, eggs.
- Cut the butter into little pieces and add to the lemon mix.
- Either place the mixture into a bain marie pan or, if you don’t have one, simply put a bowl over a pan of simmering water making sure the bowl and water are not touching. Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the curd has thickened. Stir frequently – you don’t have to be obsessive, just don’t wander off and forget about it. For the first few minutes the mix will look very runny but then will suddenly thicken!
- When it has thickened remove from the heat, spoon the curd into a bowl and leave to cool.
- Up to this point, everything can be done the day before. Keep the sponge in an airtight container and keep the curd in the fridge.
- When you come to assemble the cake cut each sponge through – so you now have 4 layers of cake.
- Spread the lemon curd evenly over each layer and start to stack the cake. The curd covers the three middle layers – the top will have icing.
- The icing is made by simply beating together the icing sugar and lemon juice until the consistency is smooth and runny. Allow to rest in the bowl as it will thicken slightly.
- Spread the icing on the top layer of cake and don’t panic if it drizzles down the side.
- Whereas for the cake and curd the lemon zest was grated to ensure it was fine, for the top you want something a little more dramatic so use a zester and this will provide long curls of lemon zest!
- Scatter the lemon zest on top and voila – cake made!
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Priscilla said...

Caked Crusader my mouth is watering! You're right, that picture of the slice of cake with the cake behind looks profesional! *smile*

Rosie said...

This is a lovely M D cake!! Ooooh and lovely lemon flavours makes for a perfect cake! Lovely looking cake as always.

Rosie x

glamah16 said...

Oh your mother will be so pleased. That cake is heavenly.

OKPants said...

Gorgeous looking cake CC; i will try it out for a dinner party this Sunday night. My guest loves 'anything citrus' and last time i made a Lemon Roulade; I'd been wondering what i'd make this time and now you've given me the perfect answer. Cheers!
keep Crusading! :)

OKPants said...

forgot to include this comment - the lemon squeezer looks fantastic - I've never seen one like it. can you tell me what brand it is?
cheers. :)

The Caked Crusader said...

I purchased the lemon squeezer in Selfridges on Oxford Street, London. Can't remember the make - I'm working away from home at the moment but will look on my return and let you know!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That cake looks absolutely amazing!
Those lemon juicers are the best!!!

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Cakelaw said...

Wonderful cake, especially to a lemon lover like me. Also a very natty lemon squeezer - thnaks for the tip on where to get one.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

How precious is that CC? And the 'CCM' must have loved it...lemon flavours are one of my fave. Got here from Rosies' & am glad to be here. I'm passionate about baking, & might contest you for the number of baking tins I own(I'm embarrassed when I look at them!!)Cheers