Lemon Layer Cake

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Lemon Layer Cake
Luscious lemon flavors abound in this lovely cake. The cake is lightly flavored with lemon with the addition of fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. After baking the layers are split in half and each layer is filled with sweet and tart lemon curd. The entire cake is then frosted with an utterly delicious Mascarpone Cheese frosting which is a perfect complement to the lemon curd filling. Be sure and make the lemon curd a few hours, or even a day in advance to allow plenty of time for chilling.
Recipe type: Layer Butter Cake, Lemon
Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
Lemon Curd:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
Batter:
  • 1½ cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Mascarpone Cheese Frosting:
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1½ cups whipping (heavy) cream
Decoration (optional):
  • Fresh lemon slices
Instructions
Lemon Curd (make in advance):
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and egg yolks.Cook and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until butter is melted and mixture is thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil or the egg yolks will curdle. Remove pan from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
Tip: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
Batter:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the milk and lemon juice together. Set aside. Tip: Don’t worry if the milk appears to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, lemon zest, and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter and lemon zest in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter and lemon zest about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the milk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and milk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended. Set aside.
  5. In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold the remaining egg whites in.
  6. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Mascarpone Cheese Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, and whipping cream; use an electric mixer and beat together until mixture is smooth and stiff peaks form, about 2 to 4 minutes. Do not overbeat.
  2. Mascarpone frosting should be used immediately, or refrigerate until needed.
Assembly:
  1. Use a long serrated kitchen knife to split each cake layer into 2 horizontal layers.Lemon-Layer-Cake
  2. Place one of the split cake layers on a serving plate; spread ⅓ of the chilled lemon curd (about ½ cup) over the layer leaving about ½ inch border all around. Repeat with the second and third layers. Place the last cake layer on top.
  3. Use an offset spatula to spread Mascarpone Cheese Frosting over top and sides of cake. If desired, reserve about 1½ cups frosting to decorate top using a pastry bag and pastry tip and use a pastry comb around the side of the cake
Decoration (optional):
  1. Place fresh lemon slices, cut in half, on top of cake.
  2. Cover and refrigerate before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
  3. Immediately pour the hot mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the lemon zest pieces and any bits of egg that may have curdled. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.

Lemon Layer Cake

Lemon Layer Cake

Lemon Layer Cake recipe