Lemon Cake

· 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
· 2 cups sugar
· 4 eggs
· 3 cups sifted self-rising flour
· 1 cup milk
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· Lemon wedge, for garnish
· Mint sprig, for garnish
***If you don’t have time to make the cake from scratch, you can use Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake with 1 ¼ water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 3 eggs. Bake for 23-25 minutes
· 1 1/2 cups sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
· 1/8 teaspoon salt
· 1/3 cup water
· 2 egg whites
· 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
· 8 egg yolks
· 1 1/2 cups sugar
· 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
· 3 lemons, zest grated and juiced
Directions To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans.
Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely. I stick mine in the refrigerator overnight.
To make the frosting:
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
***I used my favorite cream cheese frosting for this:
½ cup (1 stick) of butter
8 ounce cream cheese
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Takes about 5 minutes. Put about 2 cups in a piping bag and let it chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This makes it easier to design your cake.
Use the remaining icing to smooth it around the sides of the cake with a frosting paddle.
To make the filling:
Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
To assemble, add 1 tablespoon of filling to the cake pedestal. Run hands along the side of the cake to remove excess crumbs.
***If you don’t have time to make this filling, you can purchase Jan’s Lemon Curd:
Assembling the Cake:
Place the cake layers on the pedestal, spreading filling between the layers and on top.
Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining filling.
Frost top and sides of cake with frosting. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint.
I did this for a friend’s birthday party and used lemon drops and lemon cream almonds to decorate the top and sweetened coconut flakes along the sides of the cake.
Lemon Cream Almonds:
Courtesy of Paula Deen: