Tuesday, April 2, 2013

1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake

1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake
Cupcake Ranking: 3 Cupcakes
This cake was yummy and a perfect summer cake.  The curd was tart, the cream was sweet and the strawberries were fruity.  The tastes were a perfect combination.
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 C sifted all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 Tbs Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 C granulated Sugar
4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 C Buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
Grated zest of 2 Lemons
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour; tap out any excess.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes; scrape down sides once or twice. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, about 5 minutes; stop once or twice to scrape down sides.
On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes; set on racks, tops up, until completely cool.
Lemon Curd
6 large Egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 C Lemon juice
12 Tbs Sugar
8 Tbs unsalted Butter, cold, cut into pieces
Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
2/3 C Heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
2 Tbs confectioners' Sugar
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; continue whipping on medium speed until the soft peaks return, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Cake Assembly
Remove the parchment from bottom of each cake. Using a serrated knife, slice each layer in half horizontally. Set aside the prettiest domed layer for the top of cake. Place another domed layer, dome-side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup lemon curd over surface to within 1/2 inch from edges. Place second cake layer over the first, and spread another 1 cup curd over top. Repeat with third cake layer and remaining cup curd. Transfer partially assembled cake to the refrigerator.
Just before serving, place reserved dome on top of cake. Spoon sweetened whipped cream over the top. Sprinkle with mixed berries, and dust with confectioners' sugar through a fine sieve.

Rach's Tips: This cake was pretty good.  The cake was tart and moist.  I really like lemon curd so I think next time I will one and a half the curd recipe.  This isn't my favorite curd recipe.  So if you have a fav, use that one and go for it.  I will also use mixed berries, next time, to give a more balanced taste.  This is a definite for a Fourth of July Picnic cake.