Sunshine on a Plate: Lemon Drop Cake

Last weekend I was looking for a showy and summery dessert to bring to a casual outdoor dinner party, and I decided on the "Lemon Drop Cake" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.  This cake is described as being "like summer sunshine on a plate" -- a lemon layer cake filled with lemon curd and covered in lemon frosting. 

The procedure for making lemon cake batter is similar to that for many of the other cake recipes from the Baked boys -- you beat together butter and shortening, add in sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest, add an egg, and then add the sifted dry ingredients (cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) alternately with ice water.  Finally, you fold in egg whites that have been beaten with cream of tartar, divide the batter between three 8-inch pans, and bake.

The lemon curd is made from lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs and egg yolks, sugar, and butter.  One nice thing about this recipe is that you don't have to make the curd ahead of time or chill it; you can use it immediately.  You make the frosting by combining sugar, flour, milk, and cream, and cooking them on the stove until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  You put the resulting pudding-like mixture in a stand mixer and beat it until it's cool.  Then you incorporate butter, vanilla extract, and some of the freshly-made lemon curd.  My frosting was the perfect consistency to use right away, although the recipe gives you some options if your frosting is too soft (put it in the refrigerator) or too firm (place it over a pot of simmering water and beat it with a wooden spoon). 

To assemble the cake, I leveled the cake layers, spread lemon curd in between the layers, and frosted the sides and top.  The recipe says that you should spread a whole cup of curd between each of the layers.  My total yield from the recipe was only a little over 1.5 cups of lemon curd, so after putting one-half cup in the frosting, I had only about one-half cup to put between each of the layers.  However, I didn't think the amount of filling was lacking in any way.  This recipe definitely makes plenty of frosting; I had quite a bit left over.

The cake itself was nice and moist, but not otherwise remarkable.  The curd added a bright burst of lemon flavor.  But I think the star of this cake is the frosting.  It's insanely good.  It's completely smooth and light, yet lusciously decadent.  It's lemony, buttery silk.

I was very happy with the way this cake turned out.  While it is fairly similar in concept to Ann Amernick's Lemon Buttercream Torte, I like this cake so much better.  The Lemon Drop Cake is less fussy to make, and the entire recipe only requires 10 eggs (as opposed to 26 eggs for the Lemon Buttercream Torte).  And oh, the frosting!  This cake really is a burst of sunshine that would brighten any day.

Recipe: "Lemon Drop Cake," from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. 

Previous Post: "Liam Turns One: Lemon Buttercream Torte," August 8, 2010.


Anonymous said…
Beautiful cake...looks professionally done! LOVE your blog!