Triple Lemon Layer Cake

Snow!  It’s everywhere around here…or now it’s more like ice, but seeing how I hate the cold and don’t like to go out in either, it’s all the same to me!  Same in the since that it’s cancelled our first two days back to class so I’ve had some fabulous time to chill in the apartment and cook.  Now this cake is an excellent summer cake, however sometimes after craving stews and pastas and all the other comfort foods that cold weather makes me crave, it’s nice to have a more refreshing dessert.  I love lemon in just about any dish whether is sweet or savory, but I have to say that I could have a bowl full of the lemon curd from the recipe and lick it clean after I was done.   Make the curd the day before so it can chill and then it will make the cake process a lot easier-it’s always easier to make layer cakes in shifts!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Triple-Lemon Layer Cake
Adapted from Fine Cooking

Cake
9 1/4 ounces (2 1/3 cups) cake flour;
more for the pans
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lightly packed finely
grated lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
completely softened
1 cup whole milk
room temperature
5 large egg whites
room temperature
1/4 teaspoon creme of tarter

Lemon Curd
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
grated zest of three lemons
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.

Frosting
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter,
completely softened
2 tablespoon lightly packed finely
grated lemon zest
3 ½ cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Make the lemon curd first so it can chill.
Whisk together the whole eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice , and lemon zest together in a medium bowl. Transfer to a small non-reactive saucepan. Gently heat the mixture, whisking until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. make sure not to boil the mixture. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the butter and cover the curd with plastic making sure the plastic touches the curd. This should prevent a skin from forming on the curd. Refrigerate until cold.

Cake:

Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 by 2 inch round cake pans. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the zest in a food processor until well combined.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1 ½ minutes). Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth (about 1 ½ minutes). Beat in a quarter of the milk just until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk in three batches, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat just until blended.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (with clean beaters or a whisk attachment) on medium speed just until foamy. Add the creme of tarter, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add a quarter of the whites to the batter and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula; continue to gently fold tin the whites, a quarter at a time , being careful not to deflate the mixture.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes. Run a table knife along the sides of the pans and carefully invert each cake out onto the rack. Flip them right side up and let them cool completely.
With the palm of one hand pressed on top of a cake layer, cut each in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Put one of the cake layers on a serving plate, cut side up. With an offset spatula or a table knife, spread a generous 1/3 a cup on top of the cake layer. Lay another cake layer on top, spread it with another generous 1/3 a cup, and repeat with third cake layer.  Top with the fourth cake layer.

Frosting:

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar in batches and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute. (You can make the frosting a couple of hours early and keep it, covered, at cool room temperature.)

Frost the Cake:

Up to a few hours ahead, spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake, filling in any gaps as you go. Chill until the frosting firms up a bit, about ½ hour. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of cake. Garnish as you like.

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