Serious Eats: Recipes

Everyone Loves a Lemon Layer Cake

My parents' birthdays are four days apart, so usually I just make one cake for them both. Every year it poses a bit of a challenge. My mom is fond of carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, and chocolate, while my dad is more of a plain butter cake or upside-down fruit kind of guy. The one flavor they both love? Lemon.

For their joint party—and for this week's Magazine Recipe Review—I prepared Nathan's Lemon Cake, created by San Diego-based chef Nathan Coulon, from the May issue of Cooking Light. The recipe appealed to me in large part because of the frosting, a simple combination of powdered sugar, lemon juice, and melted butter. Only the tops of the cake layers are frosted (not the sides) so the icing dribbles down in a homey and comforting manner.

The cake turned out moist, tart, and dense with just enough creamy icing to hold the layers together. I omitted the lemon rind strips and studded the cake with fresh raspberries, which is a move I highly recommend. Not only do the bright red berries look stunning atop the pale yellow cake, they also add a burst of sunny sweetness.

Nathan's Lemon Cake

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

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