Cakes / Frostings / Fruits

Lemon Layer Cake

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When life hands you lemons, I guess you can make lemonade… or if you’re feeling indulgent, a lemon layer cake! I was getting a little tired of all the chocolate cakes I’ve been baking the past month and wanted something light and refreshing, so lemons it was. I love lemons…even when they fresh and sour…it’s such a shock-inducing high to bite into a juicy slice. And predictably, my favorite bar drink is the tequila shot, just for that zinging suck of lemon at the end…of course, the briny lick of salt that follows is fab as well.

But since alcohol is generally a no-go in my house- “my roof, my rules” says my dad – I decided on this lemon layer cake instead. It’s a combination of several recipes that I got off various sites and an old home economics recipe book. A lemon curd recipe  from epicurious.com, Swiss meringue buttercream by Martha Stewart, a sponge cake from terror-inducing home economics teacher and caramelized candied lemon slices. The only other thing I wished I made is hazelnut or almond praline, to press onto the sides of the cake…that would have made it perfect I think… but I was just too tired after slogging away at this for almost half a day. Nonetheless, I am very happy with how it turned out, sweet, creamy and with a little lemony tanginess…a great indulgent teatime treat. I say indulgent becuase 7 lemons and 10 eggs went into this puny looking 9″ cake. TEN eggs!! 4 for the sponge and 6 for the lemon curd and buttercream. yikes. I am quite disgusted with myself.

Lemon Curd (modified from epicurious.com)

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 tsp cornflour

3/4 cup lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

3 egg yolks

3 eggs

1/2 cup butter, chopped 

1. Stir together sugar and cornflour in a small saucepan. Gradually whisk in lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks. Add butter 

2. Whisk the mixture over med-high heat until it thickens and comes to a boil, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Chill in fridge for at least 5 hours

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

(from Martha Stewart’s site)

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3 egg whites

3/4 cup caster sugar (reduce if you want it less sweet)

1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla 

1. Whisk egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes 

2. Beat with electric beaters until stiff. Add butter in tablespoonfuls, beating in between every addition. Add vanilla and continue beating on low speed until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes. The mixture will look soupy after the butter is added but will thicken up after all that beating

Candied lemon slices

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2 lemons, sliced as thin as possible 

1 cup sugar 

1 cup water

1. Boil sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add in the lemon slices and boil for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the slices to cool in the syrup 

2. Remove slices carefully and place them in a single layer on a tray lined with aluminium foil. (Reserve syrup for brushing onto sponge slices 

3. If desired, caramelize the candied lemon slices under a hot gril for a few minutes. Personally, I think the caramelized slices look great but the non-caramalized ones taste better cos they are soft 

Assembly: 

1. Bake sponge cake (recipe given in the link above) and slice into three layers. Brush each layer generously with the reserved lemon syrup used to make the candied lemon slices 

2. In a large bowl, combine buttercream and lemon curd and beat with electric beaters until smooth and fluffy. Add the lemon curd into a buttercream 1/2 a cup at a time, tasting to see if the frosting has reached the level of lemony flavor you desire 

3. Sandwich the syrup-soaked layers with lemon buttercream and frost the entire cake with two thin layers of cream

4. Arrange slices of candied lemon slices atop the cake and refridgerate for about half and hour before serving.  

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A refreshing treat for a hot afternoon…

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15 thoughts on “Lemon Layer Cake

  1. gosh, this looks lovely!!!!!!! the cross section looks fantastic too! i’m gonna try it soon. thx for sharing the recipe =) by the way, does the buttercream melt at room temperature, esp in our weather? i almost always need to use abit of shortening to hold the shape…tho’ i don’t like the taste of it.

    well done once again!

  2. The cakes looks super delicious. I can feel the juicyness through the pick itself..a surely rejuvenating cake for a hot summer..or any other day I would say 🙂

  3. your cakes are always so immaculate. i really love the way you frost them and all. it’s reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy pretty. 🙂 i wanna try out that yolk buttercream, sounds interesting. 🙂

  4. hi! i m Cheryl.. i stumbled onto your blog and i realised u bake really beautiful cakes! u seem to be able to find those rare ingredients so i’ll like to ask u if u know where to get ricotta cheese that is in a liquid state and in a tub. can i replace it with other kind of cheese? thanks for your invaluable advice! i m making lemon and ricotta cheesecakes btw…

  5. Hi everyone, sorry for the long break in posts but my PCs been fritzing on me the entire week…but all’s good now, thankfully…

    Evan, thanks for the comments…I was inspired by ur lemon bar post to make this cake actually! Those slices looked amazing and I wanted to bite into something tart and lemony so badly after reading it…haha. And I hate the taste of shortening too so I dun use it in my frostings…I refridgerate the cake and take it out bout thirty mins before serving to let the buttercream soften a little. But honestly, I’ve left my cake sitting out at room temperature before and while the cream does go soft…it doesn’t actually MeLt, so it’s okay I guess.

    Maya, you must try the buttercream! It’s Extremely delicious..way way better than the icing-sugar and butter kind. And of course, you can completely omit the alcohol with no problem.

    Hi Cheryl, glad you like the cakes! And I normally am able to get ricotta in Cold Storage, Carrefour or Jasons…any of the bigger supermarkets actually. It’s in the dairy section, and comes in tubs…although its not liQUiD per say…more like a very soft, creamy texture. I think that’s what you’re supposed to use for ricotta cheesecakes…

    Priya, thanks so much for the comments…I’m blushing already..haha. And I must agree with you on this cake..absolutely scrumptious on a hot tropical day!

    Geet, I’d love to bake brownies for ya…actuali, you can request for anything and I’ll try my best to deliver so no worries. Do email me at chitz_13@hotmail.com and maybe we can work something out? =)

  6. hey Coral, i’ve never had that problem with lemon curd.. smells okay to me. Maybe you overheated it a tad, and the eggs started to cook? That may be the smell you are talking about…

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