Light layers of sponge cake sandwich bright, citrusy lemon curd in this cake from The Ginger & White Cookbook. The cakes bake up quickly and cleanly in springform pans, while the curd comes together on the stove. It's simple, but doesn't look that way, which is sure to impress a teatime guest.
Tips: Self-rising flour is called for here, which is flour with baking soda and salt added to it. If you don't already have self-rising flour in your pantry, you can concoct it yourself with these proportions:
1 cup AP flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
Even with the self-rising flour, the sponge layers aren't supposed to be all that tall, so don't overcook them while waiting for them to rise.
Tweaks: Usually, layer cakes like these are baked in one pan, then sliced in half, with the filling spread between. Having three separate springform pans is a bit of a hassle, but the recipe has been scaled to use all three, and to try and divide it would be problematic. Of course, there's no reason to purchase extra pans just to make this cake. Use the one or two you have, reusing them as needed. It will add a negligible amount of time, about 12 to 15 minutes of baking.
Why this recipe works:
- The lemon curd is prepared in a pot, sans bain-marie, so the cake comes together quickly and easily.
- The dessert is meant to echo a childhood snack of lemon curd spread on bread, and it does that well, with a grown-up sponge cake in place of soft slices.
Excerpted from The Ginger & White Cookbook by Tonia George, Emma Scott & Nicholas Scott (Mitchell Beazley). Copyright (c)2014 . Photographs by Jenny Zarins.
- Yield:Serves 8
- Active time: 35 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 1 1/8 cups superfine sugar
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 4 free-range eggs at room temperature, beaten
- 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Strawberries or blueberries, for decoration
- For the curd filling:
- 3 large free-range egg yolks
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons and 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
Start by making the curd filling. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in the lemon zest, juice, and butter, then place over a low heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring constantly until thick. Allow to cool, then cover and chill until needed.
Preheat the oven to 360ºF. Grease 3 9-inch diameter springform cake pans and line the bases with nonstick parchment paper.
Place the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and beat until really light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time. If the mixture looks curdled, add 1 tablespoon of the flour. Finally, fold in the remaining flour. You will be left with a really thick mixture, but don’t be tempted to add any liquid.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the cakes are shrinking away from the sides of the pans and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and allow to cool. When cool, spread 1 sponge with half the lemon curd, place another sponge upside down on top, and spread the remaining curd on that. Top with the final sponge cake, dust with powdered sugar, and decorate with fresh strawberries or blueberries.