i had a request for lemon or chocolate by a very special client, and after much debate we ended up going with this cake. a yellow cake with lemon curd filling frosted with a 7 minute frosting. the cake came out perfect! the batter tasted pretty awesome. as for the lemon filling, well i had some issue with that. and i've made 7 minute frosting so many times now, you really just can't go wrong there. the recipe is actually a paula deen recipe, but i saw it on smitten kitchen. i also tried to take some step by step pictures, but naturally i forgot half way through. you do get to enjoy the first few steps though !!
so here is the recipe as follows on smitten kitchen, i will tell you what i changed and add a different lemon curd recipe i find to be much easier to work with.
Lemon Layer Cake
from smitten kitchen
Adapted from several sources: this cake is a classic
This cake gets its name from its proportion of ingredients: 1 cup butter and milk, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs, and from cupcakes to layers cakes, as a basic, white cake, it does not fail.
Yield: 3 9-inch layers (for the purpose of this cake) or 24 cupcakes (good to know, eh?)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted self-rising flour*
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (start checking at 15 minutes if you are making cupcakes).
* Self-rising flour has both salt and baking powder in it, but you can make your own at home with the following formula: 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 2 teaspoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
From the Joy of Cooking: This makes a sensation filling for sponge rolls or an Angel Food Cake. You can also marble it into a cheesecake.
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3 lemons, zest grated and juiced
Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken.
This keeps, refrigerated, for about 1 week.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
5 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs whites at room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts or shredded sweetened dried coconut (optional)
Whisk first five ingredients together in a large, stainless-steel bowl. Set the bowl in a wide, deep skillet filled with about 1 inch of simmering water. Make sure the water level is at least as high as the depth of the egg whites in the bowl. Beat the whites on low speed until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Do not stop beating while the bowl is in the skillet, or the egg whites will be overcooked. If you cannot hold the thermometer stem in the egg whites while continuing to beat, remove the bowl from the skillet just to read the thermometer, then return the bowl to the skillet, or yell “[Insert your husband/wife/sig-other's name here]!! Halp! Can you check the temperature of this for me!!!” It might or might not work.
Beat on high speed for exactly five minutes. Remove the bowl from the skillet and add vanilla, beating on high speed for two to three more minutes to cool. Stir in coconut or nuts, if you are using them.
Use this frosting the day it is made.
Lemon Layer Cake Assembly: Add 1 tablespoon of filling to the cake pedestal. Run hands along the side of the cake to remove excess crumbs. Place the cake layers on the pedestal, spreading filling between the layers and on top. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining filling. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting.
so first problem, the lemon curd was too runny. i ended up adding cornstarch to mine to thicken it up and that worked fine but i really think you'd be better off using another recipe. more specifically, look to my lemon meringue pie entry and use that lemon curd. really, it tastes AMAZING. and while a little thick, it would still be easier to spread than the runny mess this recipe provides. if you look at smitten kitchen's photos you can see how runny it really is. also the curd never really thickens like it is supposed to in the recipe, you wait and whisk and whisk and wait and finally you just say enough and cool it. i also have another awesome lemon curd recipe from a lemon blueberry tart recipe in one of michael's tart books, but i am too lazy to type that up right now. we have plans to make this tart again in the not too distant future, so check back for it! i also should add that i take issue with any recipe that calls for "3 lemons" or 3 of fruit/veggie for that matter. lemons are not all created equal! recipes should always be more specific with quantities, and it would be really great if everything just went by weight instead because everyone had their own digital scale in their kitchen.
other issues/suggestions: like smitten kitchen says, no need to buy self rising flour. i happened to have some, but you really don't need to buy it. also her 7 minute frosting recipe comes from the joy of cooking and i've always used paula deen's recipe. while i know i have just complained about paula deen, i also have made this frosting so many times now and have never experienced any problem whatsoever it seems silly not to include the recipe. a lot of times SMBC and 7 minute frosting call for a candy thermometer, which i have and do use from time to time, but i find that once you make something enough you can pretty much tell when to move on from step a to b. also when you are whisking or beating, who really has enough hands to hold the bowl, beat the meringue and test the temperature. i sure don't. i also don't have a digital candy thermometer which might make it easier. for 7 minute frosting, please just try paula's recipe. as for SMBC i find a 3 minute whisk over the double boiler, 5 minute medium high beating in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, followed by a 8 minute medium high beating with the paddle attachment always works. maybe you need 4 minutes with your double boiler, but usually when it starts to look like foam on a latte, you are ready to move it over to the stand mixer. so as promised, here is the paula deen 7 minute frosting recipe off of foodnetwork.com:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
now here are my step by step pictures up until i forgot :(
now here are my step by step pictures up until i forgot :(
these are my buttered and parchment lined cake pans. some people say you just need to grease/butter and flour them but i prefer the parchment bottom. it has yet to fail me, whereas just the grease and flour has gotten stuck on me multiple times.
here is the first step in any cake process, creaming the butter. i won't lie, sometimes i skip this step and just mix the sugar and butter immediately but you should do as i say, not as i do. but when you are making over a hundred cupcakes in one day, sometimes this step just seems tedious.
next you add the sugar and beat it until it becomes fluffy! what does fluffy mean? well it looks like a frosting. you can tell from picture 1 to picture 2 that it has gone up the edges quite a bit, so it has expanded in fluffiness? i can't really describe it any better than that. if your butter wasn't properly left out to room temperature, you will be able to tell at this step. it just won't cream together the way it's supposed to. i know from experience. my kitchen is very cold because it has a lot of windows and i always have trouble getting my butter to room temperature in the winter, so i have come up with a solution. i put it in front of the heater. it never gets warm enough to melt it, but it does a fine job of making it spreadable.
now here i have added an egg, or maybe two. i'm not really sure to be honest. the important thing to remember in this step is scraping down the edges! and adding the eggs ONE AT A TIME!! i can't stress that enough. please, for the love of your cakes and cupcakes do not add all of the eggs at once.
now here i where i forgot to take anymore pictures. whoops! i will answer your questions though if you have any, and i promise to try harder to remember to take pictures of the full process.