Lemon infuses this layered masterpiece in three ways: zested into the batter, in a tart syrup that get drizzled over the cakes, and in a thick lemon curd frosting. Todd Coleman
SHARE

Lemon infuses this layered masterpiece in three ways: zested into the batter, in a tart syrup that gets drizzled over the cakes, and in a thick lemon curd frosting. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Ben Mims’ story Sweet Southern Dreams.

Yield: serves 10-12

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE AND SYRUP

  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 2 12 cups cake flour, plus more for pans, sifted
  • 2 12 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 34 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 4 eggs
  • 13 cup fresh lemon juice

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1 12 cups sugar
  • 14 cup cornstarch
  • 14 cup lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 12 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans, and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together milk and vanilla in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter, 1 1⁄2 cups sugar, and zest on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth, about 5 seconds. Divide batter between prepared pans, and smooth top with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel any large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks, and let cool. Using a serrated knife, halve each cake horizontally to produce four layers; set aside. Bring remaining sugar and juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, and set syrup aside.
  2. Make the frosting: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, zest, and salt in a 4-qt. saucepan. Add yolks, and whisk until smooth; stir in juice. Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and transfer to a bowl; chill the lemon curd. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and 1⁄4 of the curd on medium-high speed until fluffy and smooth, about 1 minute. Add half the remaining curd, beating until smooth, and then add remaining curd and vanilla. Increase speed to high; beat frosting until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3⁄4 cup frosting; top with another cake, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3⁄4 cup frosting. Place another cake over the frosting, drizzle with 2 tbsp. syrup, and spread with 3⁄4 cup frosting; top with remaining cake, and drizzle with remaining syrup. Cover top and sides with remaining frosting; chill cake to firm frosting. Serve at room temperature.

MORE TO READ