Lemon Dream

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"Layers of lemon butter cake, meringue, lemon curd and double cream. Topped with a dusting of icing sugar."
-- @charlotteree

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Recipe from the Flour and Stone cookbook by Nadine Ingram @nadineingram. Baking, styling and video by Charlotte Ree @charlotteree. Photography by Luisa Brimble.

When you need to impress at your next dinner party? Then a layer cake is in order! This treat is a real masterpiece, towering lemon cake, lemon curd, and meringue!

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  • Recipe Card
Cook time 40mins
Serves or Makes: 10-12

Recipe Card

Lemon Curd Ingredients

ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Sponge Cake Ingredients

ingredients

  • 2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

Meringue Ingredients

ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar

To Assemble

ingredients

  • 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon double cream
  • Pure icing sugar, for dusting

For Lemon Curd

Method

  • Step 1

    Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl just to roughly combine. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk together well. Place bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. A light whisk every 5 minutes or so is ample to stop the curd from cooking too quickly around the outside of the bowl. If you see the water in your saucepan starting to boil just turn it down to a simmer. All you need is a gentle heat to cook the curd slowly - it should take 30 minutes. If you have digital thermometer, bring the curd to 185ºF; otherwise you are ultimately looking for a consistency of thick whipped cream. Remove the curd from the heat and let it cool to 140ºF or just tepid. Start adding the butter a little at a time, whisking after each addition, until all the butter is incorporated.

  • Step 2

    The curd is now finished. Cover it in plastic film and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. The curd will keep for up to 6 days in the fridge.

For the Sponge Cake

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 340ºF. Line two 8 1/2-inch diameter springform cake tins with baking paper. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. The butter must be soft for ultimate fluffiness. Meanwhile give the eggs a light beat with a fork, then gradually add them to the fluffy butter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every now and then if you feel the egg is not incorporating with the butter. Once all the egg is added, whisk the batter again until pale and fluffy.

  • Step 2

    Sift the flours and baking powder together twice, then turn the machine off and remove the bowl. Fold half the dry ingredients through the butter mixture, then repeat with the other half. Add the milk and fold again, then add the lemon zest and juice and with a few final turns the batter is done.

  • Step 3

    Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins, then smooth the surface with a spoon, or one of those bendy palette knives.

For Meringue

  • Step 1

    Wash your mixer bowl so it is scrupulously clean for the egg whites and fit the whisk attachment. Add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and whisk on medium speed until soft ribbons form. Start adding the sugar gradually, and continue adding a little at a time over a 2-minute period, whisking until the meringue is thick and glossy.

  • Step 2

    Divide the meringue between the two tins, dotting it evenly over the cake batter, then smooth the surface of the meringue. One layer will be the decorative top of the cake so make it a bit more swirly.

  • Step 3

    Place the tins in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, turning them halfway through if your oven doesn't cook evenly. It will be impossible to test if the sponge is cooked as it has a layer of meringue on top. Just trust that it is ready and faithfully take the cakes out of the oven after 40 minutes, then set aside to cool completely in the tin.

To Assemble

  • Step 1

    Whip the cream to soft peaks and set aside.

  • Step 2

    Spread the cake you have chosen to be the bottom layer with the lemon curd and then top evenly with the whipped cream. Place the top cake layer on the cream and dust the meringue with a little icing sugar if you wish. This cake is best eaten on the day it is baked.