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Lemon Curd Cake

A single slice of lemon curd cake.

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Lemon curd cake is the ultimate summertime treat. It is made with soft Genoise sponge cake layers, generously filled with luscious lemon curd, and coated with heavenly light and airy lemon whipped cream.

Ingredients

Scale

For Genoise cake:

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup minus 2 teaspoons (92 g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (92) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

For sugar syrup:

  • 1/3 cup (70 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

For the homemade lemon curd: 

  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons, zest
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (100 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 stick (113 g) cold unsalted butter

For the lemon whipped cream:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300 g) cold heavy cream, 30% fat
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) lemon curd

For decoration (optional):

  • flowers
  • mint leaves
  • lemon slices
  • powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. To make Genoise cake, heat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Butter and dust the bottom and sides of the 7-inch (18 cm) round cake pan with flour, and remove flour excess.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave at 20-second increments and let it cool slightly. Then add lemon zest and set it aside.
  3. In the heat-resistant bowl, place eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat with a hand whisk a few times. Bring the bowl over a water bath or bain-marie and whisk until foamy. Warm it to a temperature of 104°F (40°C). If you don't have a cooking thermometer, make sure the mixture feels warm to the touch. 
  4. Beat the preparation in the bowl of an electric mixer (or the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment) for 8 minutes to achieve the ribbon stage. It is reached if the batter falls and the pattern maintains its shape for at least 3-4 seconds. Decrease the mixer speed and beat on low for 2 minutes. 
  5. Sift 1/2 flour over the bowl and mix with a rubber spatula from the bottom to the top. Add the remaining flour and gently mix. 
  6. Mix two spoonfuls of the batter with the warm melted butter, and add to the main preparation. Gently mix the batter with a spatula, ensuring it does not deflate. 
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Check the cake for doneness with a toothpick or a cake tester: it should come out clean after inserting it in the center of the cake.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Then turn the pan on a cooling rack and allow 5-10 minutes. Flip it again, and let the cake cool completely.
  9. To make sugar syrup, pour water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add vanilla extract, and let the syrup cool down.
  10. To make lemon curd, place sugar, and fresh lemon zest in a heat-proof bowl and mix with your fingertips to obtain a crumbly and moist mixture. Pass egg yolks through a fine-mesh sieve, add to sugar, and mix with a hand whisk. Add freshly-squeezed lemon juice. 
  11. Heat the egg mixture in a bowl over a bain-marie or water bath, whisking constantly with a whisk until the curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon (approximately 12-15 minutes). Test the lemon curd by drawing a line on the back of a wooden spoon with your finger. The curd sticks to the spoon. 
  12. Remove the pot from the heat, add the cold cubed butter, and whisk. Strain the curd to remove lemon zest and possible lumps. Transfer it to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap in contact, and let it cool to room temperature. Bring the curd to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to speed up the cooling process. 
  13. To make lemon whipped cream, chill the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Pour the cold heavy cream and whisk until soft-medium peaks.
  14. Give a few whisks to lemon curd and gently mix 1/2 cup (160 g) of the curd into the whipped cream using a hand whisk. Do not use an eclectic hand mixer to prevent overmixing the cream, especially at high speed.
  15. Transfer the remaining curd to a 1/4 inch (0.7 mm)) diameter cut-end pastry bag. Place 3.5 oz. (100 g) of the whipped cream into a piping bag with a 1/4 inch (0.7 mm) diameter opening. Store the remaining cream in a bowl.
  16. To assemble the cake, create three sponge layers. Use a serrated knife or cake leveler to cut the top and bottom and slice into 3 pieces. Aim for a 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thickness for each layer. 
  17. Start by placing the first layer on a turntable. Use a pastry brush to soak the cake with the cold sugar syrup. Apply a thin layer of whipped cream (use about 1.8 oz. (50 g) using a bent spatula. Form a spiral of lemon curd, starting from the center but leaving a 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) gap at the edges of the cake. Add a double cream spiral around the lemon curd. 
  18. Place the second cake layer, soak it, and spread a thin cream layer (1.8 oz. (50 g). Create two spirals: one with lemon curd and the other with cream. Finish the cake by adding the third layer and soaking it. 
  19. Coat the top of the cake and apply a thin layer of cream on the sides with an offset spatula. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Spread the remaining cream on top of the cake and decorate it with flowers, mint leaves, lemon zest, lemon slices, and icing sugar. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.

Notes

  1. For the best results, measure ingredients with a kitchen scale and use room temperature ingredients.
  2. Recalculate ingredients for cake pans of different sizes using this simple cake pan size converter.
  3. Take the cake out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Baking shortcut: Use 14 oz. (400 g) store-bought lemon curd.
  5. Make-ahead option: Prepare lemon curd and store a jar of homemade lemon curd refrigerated for 15 days. Make cake layers in the evening and keep them covered with plastic wrap at room temperature. Finish the cake the next day.

Nutrition

Keywords: lemon curd cake

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