Friday, September 13, 2013

Ultimate Lemon Cake - Really Really Good Lemon Cake

Perhaps you can tell by the title. 

I REALLY liked this cake. 

The site that I got this recipe from called it Ultimate Lemon Cake. 

I think it should be called OMG THIS CAKE IS REALLY LEMONY AND JUICY AND CREAMY AND TART AND SWEET ETC. CAKE. Or maybe, The Best Cake Ever That Isn't Chocolate Cake.



But take my advise.

Don't eat practically the whole cake.

I may or may not have gained 5 pounds done that.




Just make it!

It has 4 steps but don't let that intimidate you please. They are easy steps.

Not easy steps like making a cake mix and using canned frosting.

But easy like not really complicated or easy to mess up.


ULTIMATE LEMON CAKE

Lemon Cake 

2 3/4 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one large lemon finely minced
1 1/4 cups undiluted evaporated milk

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition
Beat in vanilla
Fold in lemon zest
Gently fold in dry ingredients in three equal portions, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Pour batter evenly into 2 well greased and floured 8 inch cake pans bake in a 325 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Watch it carefully this cake should not be over baked! If you use a 9 inch cake pan like I did you need to watch it even more because it will cook more quickly.  An 8 inch pan would be prettier for the layers as well.
As soon as the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the pans for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Candied Lemon Peel

Using a very sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife remove the outside zest of 2 large lemons in large strips. Avoid peeling any of the white part of the peel. If you do get white you can remove it by laying the peel white side up and gently shaving off the white with a sharp paring knife. Add to a very small pot along with:

juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

Simmer together gently for about 15-20 minutes. Remove zest and let it drain on a wire rack. Reserve the syrup to brush on the cake layers. You will use about 1/2 of the syrup for this. The remaining syrup - just a simple syrup flavored lemon (and very delicious) - can be used for lemonade, or perhaps a Lemontini...that you might be able to adapt from this recipe.

Lemon Curd

In a small saucepan combine:

6 lightly beaten  egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon, finely minced

Cook slowly over medium low heat for about 10 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

1/2 cup butter cut into small pieces

Remove from heat and stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until completely smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill completely in the fridge.

A note about Lemon Curd. Make some! There is no excuse for buying a jar of lemon curd. Jarred lemon curd - while not entirely gross - is not nearly as delicious as fresh. And fresh is easy. You can use the egg whites in another recipe. I think you can freeze them???

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

8 cups powdered sugar
2 cups butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon, finely minced
Approximately 4-6 tbsp milk

Using an electric mixer on low, mix the butter and sugar together until the butter breaks up and gets evenly dispersed throughout the sugar in small pieces (I used very soft butter so it was just creamy for me) The mixture will still appear dry at this point. This stage ensures even distribution and prevents butter lumps in your frosting.
Add liquids and zest. Liquids can be adjusted to your taste - I used 4 tbsp milk but a little extra lemon juice.
When the icing reaches the desired consistency continue to beat it on high speed for 5 minutes to incorporate more air into the frosting to make it lighter and fluffier. This was a new step for me. I had never seen this suggestion before. It worked amazingly well. And I might add - this frosting is AMAZINGLY GOOD!

To construct  the cake:

Split the two layers of cake horizontally to create 4 layers. Brush the reserved syrup into the cut sides of the cake layers.
Place the first layer of cake on the cake plate and top with some of the lemon buttercream frosting. (There is a LOT of frosting. Don't be stingy with this first layer. You will have enough.)
Add the next layer and using a piping bag, or a heavy plastic bag with a half inch opening snipped off the corner, pipe a ring of frosting around the perimeter of the cake. Fill the ring with half of the lemon curd. 
Add the next layer of cake and top with more of the frosting. Add the final layer of cake.
At this point frost the sides of the cake.
Pipe a border on the top and bottom of the cake.
Add the second half of the lemon curd to the top of the cake and garnish with pieces of the candied lemon zest. You can use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut the lemon zest into small pieces. The layer of lemon curd looks better with a skim coat of frosting under it - if you care about that sort of thing.
Chill for several hours or overnight before serving. The cake is great cool or room temperature. I thought it tasted much better at room temperature so let it sit out a while before you serve it.

You may be struggling to figure out how many total lemons are in this cake. I believe it was six.

If you want to see what this cake looks like when made by a professional go here.

I was amazed how quickly I was able to put this cake together. 


Make it!

Eat it!


Love it!

And then tell me what you think it should be called.

One more look...


I am lonely for this cake.

Make something wonderful today!

Karen

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14 comments:

Danni Baird said...

Your cake is absolutely beautiful Karen! Since lemon is my MIL's favorite, I'm pinning this one to make for her birthday next year. Of course, I'll have to make a few practice ones first!!

NanaDiana said...

LOL- There must be lemon in the air. I am copying over this recipe. Yesterday I posted a lemon PIE recipe that is mouth-wateringly good, too. Care to join me in LLA (Lemon Lovers Anonymous) to get rid of the extra 5 pounds (I may have 6 extra ones-just sayin') xo Diana

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

Beautiful cake, Karen!
I'm not a fan of frosting so I'm going to need to change it up a bit...lemon curd on a big fat slice of cake. Then repeat as necessary. I feel 5 pounds coming soon. Pinning to my cake board.

Art and Sand said...

Blogging can be bad for the waistline. This week I saw a fabulous lemon pie, your cake and some oatmeal cookies. I am trying not to bake.

Jennifer Schmidt said...

This cake was SO GOOD! I normally don't like frosting and it was SO GOOD! I think I even ate my whole piece - and it was huge. Derick was shocked. Yes, I felt sick later but it was WORTH IT. You hear that Weight Watchers? Worth every point. (Note, I did not have the nerve to put it into the point calculator but I'm going to assume it was like 15 or 20 points - of 26 a day.)

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

This sounds -- and looks --- AMAZING!!!!! I love all things lemony!

:) Linda

Bliss said...

Pinned.

Unknown said...

Karen, I did something similar to this for a co-worker's birthday (the re-created it for my son's birthday.) However, I added a layer of fresh raspberries I coated in some good quality raspberry spread,

Also, if the thought of all that butter in the buttercream makes you go Eek, whip some heavy cream to soft peaks then fold in some lemon curd. Voila! No butter! :-)

Unknown said...

(Harumph. That Unknown comment was me, The Reader's friend Melissa in Urbana.)

HEATHER GRAHAM said...

Oh, wow! This looks so yummy! I've had lemon on the brain lately.. bought a mix for lemon bars, but may have to pass on that, and make this cake! YUM!!!

Marcela Gmd said...

Wow delicious!! thank you so much for your comment!
Would you like to follow each other?
Besos, desde EspaƱa, Marcela♥

Corn Dena said...

looks so yummy!! I would like a bite!!! thanks for the recipe!!


kunst kopen

Suzan Sweatman said...

Mouth watering Karen - absolutely mouth watering !!!
Off to pin this gorgeous cake!
XOXO

fiona anderson said...

Oh boy I lurve lemon curd, my Grandmother used to make it. Your cake looks simply scrumptious !

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