Saturday, October 25, 2008
Moe's Lemon Cake
A few years ago, I decided to form a little online cooking club with some of my friends and family. Each week we'd trade recipes and stories and it was then that I first heard of this cake. One of my favorite people on the planet is my friend, Maureen Corson, known to all of her closest friends simply as "Moe". She emailed me asking me if I knew where to buy lemon curd for a cake recipe she wanted to try. I asked her to let me know how it turned out. After she made it, she told me that this was now her 'go to' cake for every family occasion.
As I was choosing cake recipes for cake week, it occurred to me that I never tried "that cake that Moe was talking about" (not to mention the fact that I've been getting a million requests for anything LEMON), so I decided to give it a try. Let me just tell you....you will not believe how delicious this cake is! I kept thinking that this was like a dessert from an expensive restaurant. It's THAT good!
Anyway, I have no idea where Moe got this recipe, but since she's the one who brought it to my attention, she's the one who gets all the credit for it. It's not a difficult cake to make, but it does have a few extra steps and some ingredients that you might not have readily at hand. (like, LEMON CURD, right Moe?) So, double check your pantry! Oh, and by the way, you can find lemon curd in the jams and jellies section of your grocery store. Great then!
3 cups unsifted cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each baking soda and ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups buttermilk*
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup lemon curd
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 straight-sided 9x2 inch round cake pans; flour, tapping out excess. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and salt. Sift into another large bowl.
In large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths) alternating with buttermilk (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until just blended.
In small bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, not dry, peaks form. With rubber spatula, gently fold egg white mixture, in thirds, into the batter.
Spread batter in prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes. Invert onto racks. Cool.
Using a serrated knife, level tops of layers, if necessary. Place 1 layer on serving plate; spread with lemon curd. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set curd. Top with remaining layer. Frost cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting; Refrigerate. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with fresh lemon slices, raspberries, or blackberries, if desired.
*To make buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to equal 1 cup. Microwave for 15 seconds. The milk will curdle which is exactly what you want. If you don't have a microwave, you can just let it stand until the milk curdles. You'll get the same result. The microwave just speeds the process.
If you're planning on bringing this cake to another location (party, neighbor's house, friend's house) be sure it's well chilled. The lemon curd becomes quite slippery when it's at room temerature, and you don't want the top layer to slide off. Yeah, that would be bad.