Best Lemon Layer Cake

Ingredients

For Cake:
3 1/4 cups cake flour
8 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (packed) grated lemon peel
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice (can be a combination of lemon/lime or lemon/pineapple)
For Lemon curd:
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 large egg whites, whisked until blended but not foamy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
For Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (can be a combination of lemon/lime or lemon/pineapple)
For Filling and frosting:
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese (cream cheese can be substituted)

Instructions

For lemon curd:

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium nonaluminum saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and candy thermometer registers 170°F, about 8 minutes (do not boil). Pour into bowl and cool.

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Butter and flour four 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg whites in 4 additions, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake cakes until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to racks and cool 5 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. Layers will be thin. (Lemon curd and cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill curd. Wrap cake layers separately and store at room temperature.)

For syrup:

Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice.

For filling and frosting:

Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Putting it all together:

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Notes: This is a very time-intensive cake that I have made as a special dessert for Easter and birthdays. Its a hybrid of 3 different recipes, as I wasn't able to get great results from any of them until I started monkey-ing with them. Its well worth the chore of making this cake- the end result is light and tart, perfect for Spring.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Uploaded by: Kelly Fowler
Added on: 2006-11-09 14:36:33