I started with a lemon angel food cake. To give it that signature ‘airy-ness’ you use whipped egg whites. I think they are so pretty.
Mix up the cake batter and fold in the whites. Angel food cakes bake for a long time. Almost an hour. And then they have to cool upside down for about another hour. But this is what they should look like when done.
I removed the cake from the pan by sliding the dull end of a butter knife around the edges of the pan, even those inside edges. The bottom and side of my cake pan detaches, so I was able to slide my knife under the bottom of the cake to loosen in there as well. Once the cake is out you slice it into three layers. So you can fill each layer with the lemon curd.
Lemon curd is something I have been wanting to make for years, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So, this was the day.
It really wasn’t difficult. And with my mom’s help we came up with a recipe that doesn’t require wasting the egg whites. I hate wasting food.
You cook the curd on the stove, be careful not to boil it. But let it thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. You should be able to wipe your finger across it and the curd doesn’t run back together.
The curd should be completely cooled before you add it to the cake layers.
Once the cake and curd are cooled, you can make the frosting. It’s a lemon cream cheese frosting. Yum.
I love this decorating technique. It looks fancy, but is actually pretty easy. I frost the cake all over, which is a little tricky with a torted, and filled angel food cake. But just be careful and you can do it. Then I place the tip of my frosting spatula on the bottom of the cake on any side. Gently turn the cake and keep the spatula pressed into the frosting, so it makes those grooves as it goes. Move the spatula up as you get around the cake. Then finish the top the same way, just continuing from the sides right up over the edge and into the center.
Add some more lemon zest to make it pretty.
Then cut into it and enjoy. 🙂
- Lemon Angel Food Cake: 7 eggs, yolks separated- at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice, then filled with water to reach 3/4 cup
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 Tbs lemon zest
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Lemon Curd: 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbs lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- 4 eggs
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: 8 oz. cream cheese- at room temp
- 1 cup butter- at room temp
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tbs lemon juice, or more to reach desired frosting consistency
- 1 Tbs lemon zest, plus more for garnish on cake
- Using the angel food cake ingredients: Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Place the whites in a large, glass mixing bowl. Beat the whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, the set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, water/ lemon juice, zest, oil and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients Fold in 1/3 of the stiff egg whites, once mixed in fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Bake in an ungreased angel food cake pan for 50-55 minutes. On the center, or lower, rack in the oven. Remove from oven and let cool with the pan upside down for about an hour.
- Using the lemon curd ingredients: While the cake is baking, make the lemon curd. In a medium pot, over medium/ high heat, melt the butter then remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Then whisk in the 4 eggs until smooth. Return to the stove on medium heat, and whisk until thickened. Takes 5-10 minutes. Don’t let the curd boil.
- Press the curd through a sieve, then store in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.
- Using the frosting ingredients: Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and the lemon zest. Beat again, and add the lemon juice to thin the frosting down to your desired consistency. An easily spreadable frosting is best here, so it works well with the delicate cake.
- To assemble the cake: Remove the cooled cake from it’s pan and slice it into three layers with a long, serrated knife. Spread the lemon curd on the bottom layer, then top with the middle portion of the cake. Spread curd on that layer and top with the top of the cake. Gently spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake and use your frosting spatula to make the ridges in the frosting. Spin the cake around to get each layer of ridges. Sprinkle some extra lemon zest on the top of the cake as a garnish.
- Chill the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. You can use wooden skewers to stabilize the cake if necessary.
Store the cake in the fridge if you aren’t eating it right away. It will be a little ‘slippery.’ I stuck some wood skewers in through the top to hold it in place while storing in the fridge.
This cake does take some time, but it is fancy enough to impress a crowd, or simple enough to serve at a fun brunch. And it is FULL of lemon flavor.
Did you see what I made for the previous Monthly Ingredient Challenges?
January – Cilantro: Cilantro Lime Fries
February – Apples: Apple Cake a la mode
March – Peanut Butter: Thai Peanut Tacos
April – Bacon: Chocolate Chip and Bacon Cookies
Don’t forget to check out all the other yummy lemon dishes from the other fabulous bloggers in this challenge.