Lemon Curd Cake

Torta al Limone

Mary Ann Esposito

Serves 8 to 10

Lemon Curd Cake is not for the faint of heart. This beautiful and light summertime cake takes its inspiration from limoncello, a lemon liqueur from the Amalfi Coast that is made by steeping lemons in pure alcohol and sugar. It is served all over Italy in frosty glasses. I like to use limoncello as a flavoring for this layered sponge cake filled with a dense lemon curd, which I have lightened in taste by combining with whipped cream to create a mousse consistency. The lemon curd should be made a day ahead and will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

LEMON CURD
(makes 1 3/4 cups)
l/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 jumbo eggs, lightly beaten

l/2 cup whipping cream

Directions

CAKE
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons limoncello liqueur

FROSTING
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lemon, cut into wedges

To make the lemon curd, in the top of a double boiler combine the lemon juice, zest, sugar, butter, and salt. Cook together over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar no longer feels gritty in the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour in the eggs, continually mixing them, and cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Transfer the curd to a small bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until ready to use. When ready to fill the cake, whip the cream until stiff, then fold it into the lemon curd.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

To make the cake, sift the flour three times and set aside

In a large bowl of an electric mixer beat the sugar with the egg yolks until they are thick and pale yellow in color. Gradually beat in the water, then the vanilla. With a spatula fold in the sifted flour 2 tablespoons at a time. Set aside.

In another bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft and shiny, but not dry, peaks form. Fold the whites into the egg yolk mixture and pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Invert the cake pan over the neck of a wine or soft drink bottle and let the cake cool completely. The inversion will prevent the cake from sinking as it cools.

To fill the cake, cut it into three layers using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake dish. Spritz the layer with some of the limoncello liqueur. Spread half of the lemon curd filling evenly over the cake layer. Place the second layer over the filling and spritz the second layer with the liqueur. Spread the remaining lemon curd evenly over the cake. Top with the last layer of cake.

Whip the remaining cream in a bowl with the sugar until stiff. Frost the cake with the whipped cream. Place the lemon wedges in a decorative pattern on top of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving. To serve, use a serrated knife to cut the cake into wedges.

This recipe is featured on show 2008 - The Cooking of Campania.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2008 of Season 20.

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