Lemon Layer Loveliness

My roommates and I hosted a dinner party the other weekend. Driven of course by my own insanity, we served a 4 course meal to 13 people. I made things. I made lots of things. I woke up at 5:00am to pull pork. I stayed up until 1am making pickles. I lack the ability to not go batshit crazy about a dinner party. My roommate at one point asked me if it would be ok if we just got some appetizers from Trader Joe’s to serve.

I practically died of insufferability. My poor roommates. I was all, NO THAT WOULD NOT BE OK. NO THAT EXTREMELY SANE AND STILL DELICIOUS AND EASY PLAN WOULD NOT BE OK. What WOULD be ok, apparently, involved me buying 7 lbs of pork shoulder, much to the amusement of the meat guys at Whole Foods. What WOULD be ok, apparently, was stuffing 35 dates with goat cheese and almonds before wrapping them each individually in slices of bacon. What would be ok, apparently, amounted to 3 full days of work, and me practically falling into a depression over the fact that I didn’t have time to make homemade slider buns.

I don’t know, readers. Sometimes I wonder about myself. I have almost zero ambition in life. I’m one of those floaters. I’m just kinda happy with how things are going, and grateful to be a part of it all. But plant the seed of anything food related, wherein I’ll be serving people I know and/or love? I become my polar opposite. I become Stressy McPerfectionist. I become Uptight and Ambitious.

I also whip up a fairly decent cake in this state. To wit: this lemon curd layer cake. I rarely wet my pants over lemon-flavored desserts. But. And there’s a big but here. A J-Lo sized But. This cake knocked my effing socks off. It was the best thing I think I made all night, and I got proposed to after appetizers (hi, my own horn, i’m tooting it. just go with it).

Make this cake. End of story. Love, KaTriesTooHard.

Lemon Curd Layer Cake
from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates!

Lemon Curd:
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon peel
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cake:
2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon peel
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsps confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated lemon peel

Whisk together the egg yolks, lemon peel, lemon juice, and sugar in a saucepan. Cook the mixture on medium heat, whisking constantly, until the lemon curd thickens and becomes foamy, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a tablespoon at a time, until the curd is smooth and uniform. Cover and refrigerate the until you’re ready to fill the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans and dust them with flour; tap out the excess. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat the reserved egg whites in a separate bowl until they begin to form stiff peaks; set aside. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer or whisk until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the buttermilk, lemon peel, and vanilla into the whipped cream; then fold in the egg whites. Add the flour mixture in thirds and stir just until the batter is uniform. Pour half of the batter into each of the prepared pans.
Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the edges of the pans and a knife tests clean in the center, about 30 mins. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes; then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely.
With a long serrated knife, use a sawing motion to carefully slice each cake in half horizontally to form four layers in all. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread it with one-third of the lemon curd. Stack the second layeron top and spread with another one-third of the curd. Repeat for the third layer, and then top the cake with the fourth layer. Set aside.
Whip the heavy creamy for the frosting with an electric mixer or whisk until soft peaks form. Fold in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and lemon peel and continue to whip just until stiff peaks begin to form. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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2 thoughts on “Lemon Layer Loveliness

  1. Made this cake for Feaster. Cannot WAIT to cut it in a few hours. Every ingredient tasted amazing, so I can only imagine how good it will all be together. Mine’s not nearly as pretty as yours, though I did feed some extra frosting to people directly off of the spatula during a spontaneous dance party. So unsanitary, but so much fun. We’ll miss you at Feaster!

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