My big sister turns 35 today! She's also probably the first girl who would celebrate such a milestone early :0)! She and our mom came up to visit me in Ottawa on Canada Day and we were able to celebrate her birthday then. Since it's such a special birthday, and she's such a special person, I wanted to make a cake that had that W-O-W factor. That meant my lemoncello lemon curd. A summer birthday cake with the right taste.
I found the basis of this recipe on the Use Real Butter blog - I followed the cake recipe itself, but decided to stick with my traditional curd recipe and switched up the cream cheese frosting for something lighter - buttercream meringue. This cake delivered - big time! Really simple, 4 easy steps and a bit of time...
Anne's 3 Layered Lemon Meringue Birthday Cake
1 c. butter, softened
4 eggs, room temperature
2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla salt
2 c. brown sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemoncello
1 c. buttermilk (milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice - allow to sit 5 minutes)
Take your eggs out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature (you can also place the eggs in a bowl of warm water to quickly warm them up).
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and line with parchment paper 3 round cake tins. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, b. powder and salt.
Beat your butter in a large bowl with your hand mixer for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemoncello and beat well until everything is combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the flour mixture and the butter milk alternately to beaten mixture - you'll want to barely beat the flour into the batter (low speed) so that you don't over work it.
Once just combined, pour the batter equally among the 3 pans. Bake for 25 minutes (your wooden toothpick will come out clean). Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes, then remove them from their pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
*Note: I let my cool completely and then covered each cake individually in plastic wrap and kept them in the fridge overnight.
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (the zest of an entire lemon)
1 tbsp lemoncello
2 tsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
In a medium saucepan (over medium heat), whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, lemoncello and lemon zest. You want it to thicken, so make sure that you stir it well until it gets to that boiling point.
Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks - it'll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well - once they're smooth, return to the pan and whisk constantly - you'll know it's done when the top starts bubbling. Remove from heat and chill completely. The curd will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
*Note: I used the remainder of this curd in my Chocolate stuffed lemon curd filled, lemon meringue buttercream frosted cupcakes (July 2, 2009)
Lemon Meringue buttercream frosting
4 egg whites
1 c. white sugar
pinch of vanilla salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon juice
In a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (about 1 inch of water) place the egg whites, sugar and salt. Take your hand mixer and start beating! This is about a 5 minute process of contineous mixing - you want to make sure that the eggs don't cook - so make sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl.
Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the meringue doubles in volume.
Add the lemon juice. Now start adding the butter, 1 tbsp at a time and continue to beat with your mixer. You want each spoonful of butter to be incorporated before you add the next one. Once everything is well combined, cover and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Now for the fun stuff... assembly!
Take your cakes out of the fridge and place the first one on your serving plate. Cover with 1/3 of the lemon curd - spread the curd evenly over the surface. Repeat with the second cake - as mentioned, you'll have some left over curd. Top with the final lemon cake. Frost the top and the sides of this cake - believe me, you'll have plenty of frosting to do this (and then some).
I recommend putting it back in the fridge until you're ready to serve (it will keep in the fridge covered for 3 days).
The result is a fluffy white cake that is light and tangy.
Happy Birthday Anne! mouah xxx