This is truly a heavenly cake. After two weeks of being bombarded with overly intense chocolate desserts, this was a godsend. Light, tart and refreshing, this cake was just what the doctor ordered this week. And to my surprise, no gimmicks. Just a straight forward recipe which produces a delightful finished cake. I especially liked the addition of lemon juice to the meringue which cut the usual sweetness and gave just a hint of lemon tartness. It is very refreshing and a nice surprise. The lemon layers can certainly be added to the dessert repertoire for use as a base for many other delightful desserts. Let’s get right to it shall we? To the kitchen…..
The first step is to make a lemon curd. We have done that several times here so I will just skip the method and say make your favorite recipe for that or buy your favorite store brand.
The cake layers:
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest for at least 5 minutes or until the mixture is very thick. Add vanilla and warm water and beat the mixture on high until the mixture thickens again. Dust the flour over the egg yolks and set aside.
Beat egg whites until foamy and then add cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form and then gradually beat in sugar until stiff peaks form.
Add about one third of the beaten whites to the yolk/flour mixture and fold until all the flour is incorporated. Add the rest of the whites and quickly fold them in being careful not to deflate the batter.
Divide the batter between two prepared cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
When done, cool on racks for 10 minutes, then unmold onto racks and cool completely leaving the parchment liners in place.
Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a heavy sauce pan and heat to boiling.
In the meantime beat egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Boil the syrup until it reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. Then with the mixer off, slowly add some of the syrup to the stiffly beaten whites and beat on high for 5 seconds. Continue to add the syrup in two more additions beating between each addition.
Lower the mixer speed to medium and add remaining lemon juice and beat for 2 minutes.
The Lemon Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring the syrup to a rapid boil, then remove from heat, cover and cool completely. When cool, add lemon juice and set aside until needed for assembly.
Remove the parchment liners from the cake layers and gently remove the top crust from each layer. Brush the lemon syrup on the top and bottom of each layer.
Place on layer on a cardboard round or bottom from a tart pan. Add the lemon curd and smooth to within one inch of the cake edge.
Place the second layer on top of the lemon curd and push down to firm the layers and spread the lemon curd out to the edge.
Frost the top and sides of the filled layers with the meringue. Pile the meringue high on top and dome it in the center for decorative effect. Smooth the sides and top and then add a swirled design on the top. Place the cake in a preheated 500 degree oven and then just watch it and turn it as need to ensure the cake is evenly browned all over.
When satisfied with the browning remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool. Then transfer the cake to a cake plate and serve.
Next Up: Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down Torte