I started looking for inspiration, searching for lemon cream cake recipes similar to those at some of our favorite restaurants. A few days into my search, I came across this recipe which is based on several other recipes... we all get inspiration from somewhere, right? It was the closest thing to what I wanted, and with a few minor additions/changes, it was perfect for my Michael. The only real changes I made were using limoncello in both the lemon curd, and in place of the lemon simple syrup, as well as adding a layer of limoncello soaked lady fingers to the center of the cake. The result was lovely, luscious, lemony layers (go ahead, say that 5 times fast!). The hardest part of this cake (aside from trying to make it while Peanut 1. destroyed the house, 2. constantly asked to be picked up, 3. threw a fit because she couldn't have the microplane zester), was that it was time consuming. Not only do the steps take awhile, but there are several times throughout the process that the curd, cake, filling, etc. just has to be chilled. Needless to say, this will be a special ocassion cake. As I said before, the majority of the recipe and directions are from Sara Schewe's recipe from honestcooking.com, but here's how Mama makes it:
adapted from Sherry Yard’s Secrets of Baking
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 c. limoncello (alternatively, use 1 c. lemon juice and omit limoncello)
- 3 whole eggs (large), at room temp
- 4 egg yolks (large), at room temp (reserve whites for cake)
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
2. Zest the lemons and combine the zest and sugar in the food processor and blitz for about a minute to make lemon sugar.
3. Juice the lemons and limes, add limoncello, set aside.
4. In a large heatproof glass bowl, combine the lemon sugar, eggs, and egg yolks, and whisk for about 30 seconds.
Whisk until curd is the consistency of sour cream and reaches 160 F. Remove from heat and start whisking in the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Pour the curd through a sieve to remove any zest or lumps. Place bowl in ice bath and place sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to cool quickly and prevent a skin from forming on the curd.
5. The curd can be refrigerated up to a week ahead of time.
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
- 2 cups + 1 ½ teaspoons all purpose flour
- ¼ cup + 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 4 large egg whites (reserve yolks for lemon curd)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3. With a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix sugar and lemon zest on low to release the zest’s oils. Add butter and cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
- 1 batch lemon curd (see above)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- lady fingers
- 1/4 c. limoncello
2. Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold cream into lemon mixture by hand. Refrigerate.
Vanilla Crumb Topping
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (65 grams) cold butter, cut into 20 pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 Vanilla Wafer crumbs (my addition, adds a little texture)
1. I found it was easier to assemble this cake using a spring form pan. Place first layer, bottom-side up, in the bottom of a spring form pan. Brush with limoncello.
2. Remove 1 cup of the lemon filling, set aside. Spoon half of the remaining filling over the cake, then top with limoncello soaked lady fingers.
3. Spoon other half of the remaining filling, then top with second cake layer, dome side up. Brush with limoncello or simple syrup. Refrigerate for about an hour or longer to allow the cake to set.