Difficulty: Hard-ish (make the cake one day, make the frosting the next)
My neighbor Emilie called me and asked me come up to her house to have a slice of this. We are walking buddies. I thought I was in shape, but it's a long, VERY steep driveway and I arrived panting at her doorstep. She was there, at the door, with a couple of slices of this cake. "It's the last of it," she said " and I wanted to make sure you tasted it". She handed the plate to me as if it were pure gold. It was! It is now one of my very favorite cakes and I am going to make it for my next birthday. The recipe originally came from the March 1999 issue of Bon Apetit magazine. Yield: Serves at least 8
For Lemon Curd:
2 1/3 C sugar
2 t cornstarch
1 C fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
For Whipped Cream Frosting:
3/4 C powdered sugar
2 C chilled whipping cream
1 1/2 C cake flour
1 1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C orange juice1 1/2 t grated lemon peel
8 large egg whites
1/4 t cream of tartar
Thin lemon slices, halved and patted dry
Combine 2 1/3 C sugar and 2 t cornstarch in heavey medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, aboutt 12 minutes. Pour intto medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. Note: Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
Sifted powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add 1 1/4 C lemond curd until just blended. In medium bowl, beat cream until firm peaks form. Fold cream into curd mixture in 3 parts. Chill until firm--at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and put parchment on the bottoms of 3 9-inch pans. Whick 1 1/2 C cake flour, 1/2 C sugar, 2 1/2 t baking powder, and 3/4 t salt in large bow. Add 4 yolks, 1/4 C vegetable oil, orange juice, lemon peel and 3/4 C Lemon Curd to bowl (do not stir). Combine whites, and 1/4 t cream of tartar in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 C sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Using same beaters, beat yolk mixture until smooth. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter among the 3 pans. Bake until testers inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off parch ment. Cook cakes completely.
Spoon 1 C frosting into pastry bag fitted with plain round tip; refrigerate bag. Place 1 cake layer on cake platter. Spread top of cake layer with 1/3 C curd then 1 C whipped cream frosting. Top with second cake layer, spread with 1/3 C curd and I C frosting. Top with third cake layer. Frost the top and sides of cake--reserving 1 C of whipped cream frosting. Spread a "puddle" of lemon curd in the middle of the top of the cake--leaving at least a 3/4-inch border around the top of the cake. Pipe reserved frosting around the top edge of the cake. Place lemon slices at intervals in the piped edge.