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Doberge Cake

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

New Orleans may be best known around these parts for beignets and King Cake, but when it comes time to celebrate your birthday in the Big Easy, it's the Doberge Cake—that's pronounced DOUGH-bash for the folks at home—that steals the show.

With a springy cake and homemade chocolate pudding and/or lemon curd filling, not to mention rich frosting, it's easy to see what this cake is much loved in its home city. As far as cakes go, it's not the hardest cake to prepare, but it does take a lot of time. Especially if you're going to go the extra step of making a half and half, which essentially requires the work of two cakes (you're making two fillings and two different frostings from scracth). You will dirty every bowl possible making this cake. I'm an unabashed lover of chocolate and lemon and I'll advocate their pairing until my last breath, but if you're short on time or patience then do as I say and not as I do and make your cake a single flavor (just double the amount of filling and frosting you make the in recipe below) and try the other version the next time go round. If you're a glutton for punishment (and cake), roll up your sleeves and hit the kitchen with plenty of time to spare.

If you want to save time, you can use a favorite boxed mix for the cake (shhhhh...with all the yummy frosting and filling, no one is going to complain) and store bought lemon curd and make just the chocolate pudding and frostings from scratch. Unless your guests were born and raised in NOLA, they aren't going to know the difference, and you'll have saved yourself some serious time in the kitchen.

The cake is adapted from Lauren Weisenthal's Yellow Birthday Cake recipe. The lemon filling is adapted from the Lemon Chocolate Pie filling recipe. The chocolate pudding recipe is adapted from John Scharffenberger via Smitten Kitchen.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of the forthcoming book New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.

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