sketch of Bob above the Lemon Meringue Cake recipe.


LEMON MERINGUE CAKE

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for pans
3 c. sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 T. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
lemon curd filling (recipe follows)
Swiss meringue (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350°. Butter two round (8x2 inch) cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour, making sure to coat pans evenly. Tap to remove any excess. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (3 to 4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick (about 5 minutes); scrape down sides. Reduce mixer speed to low. Slowly add sifted flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk; starting and ending with flour. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (about 55 minutes). Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and return to wire rack to cool completely (about 1 hour). To assemble, turn cakes upside-down onto cardboard cake rounds and remove parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally. You will have four layers. Spread 1/3 of the lemon curd filling over the bottom layer. Top with second cake layer and spread with 1/3 more of the filling. Remove the cake round from second cake. Top with third cake layer. Spread with the remaining filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Chill assembled cake until set (at least 1 hour or overnight). Heat oven to 400°. Using an offset spatula, spread the Swiss Meringue all over the cake, making decorative swirls. Place cake, still on cake round, on a Silpat (French nonstick baking mat) lined baking sheet. Transfer to oven. Bake, watching carefully, until meringue has browned around edges and begins to brown elsewhere (3 to 5 minutes). Transfer cake, on round, to a serving plate. When slicing cake, run a knife under hot water, then wipe dry, and cut. Repeat with hot water between slices.
(makes one 8-inch round layer cake)

LEMON CURD FILLING:

4 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
zest of 2 lemons

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs. Add sugar and lemon juice. Set over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (8 to 10 minutes). Remove pan from heat and stir to cool slightly. Strain curd through a sieve set over a small bowl. Add the butter, a piece at time, stirring until smooth after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest and let cool completely.
(makes 1 1/2 cups)

SWISS MERINGUE:

6 large egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Combine the egg whites, sugar and vanilla in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch (5 to 7 minutes). Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form (about 10 minutes). Use immediately.
(makes enough for one 8 inch cake)

Lemon Meringue Cake recipe is published in our April, 2001 Menu Minder.