The absolute last thing we needed for New Years day was dessert, but I just had to make this cake. My reasoning, as silly as it may be was that it was a bit lighter because it was filled with lemon curd and had a meringue frosting. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It was like having lemon meringue pie in cake form, not too tart and not too sweet. Luckily we had company and I was able to share it.
We had such a good time with all the kids being home and those shortcuts sure came in handy. With that in mind I figured one more shortcut wouldn’t hurt. This cake is from a boxed mix, but the rest is from scratch and the rest was well worth every bit of standing and stirring. The lemon curd is silky smooth and dances across your taste buds with ease. Making the meringue took me back to the few times I watched my mom baking. She didn’t bake much but turned out some of the best soul food and Creole dishes on the planet. By far the most fun part of this cake was using my mini torch. I haven’t used it often, so each time is a refresher course. The challenge is to not end up with too many burnt edges. I had as much fun putting this little lovely together as eating it, well almost.
Use your favorite white or yellow cake recipe, boxed or from scratch to make 2 eight inch layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and pipe a ring of frosting approximately ½” from the edge of the cake creating a dam to keep the filling in. This also helps to prevent the frosting/filling from squishing out between the layers and creating an unsightly bulge. Spread a heaping ¾ cup of curd inside the frosting ring and then top with the other layer. Frost the top and sides of the filled cake with the meringue creating peaks and swirls. If desired and I highly recommend it, lightly torch the cake taking care not to burn the meringue. It’s also a good idea not to brown the entire cake. Less is more, just sayin. This cake serves 10-12 and refrigerate it until serving time. Also, refrigerate any leftovers.
Here’s the lemon curd and meringue recipes. Enjoy and I hope your new year is off to a great start!
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2/3 cups Meyer lemon juice, or fresh lemon juice
6 TBS unsalted butter, cut into bits
In a heavy saucepan, combine the eggs, yolks, sugar, and lemon juice. Cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring, until custard is thick and just begins to bubble. Strain into a bowl and stir in the butter until smooth.
Meringue Frosting – adapted from Food-network-kitchens
4 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch cream of tartar
Pinch fine sea salt
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer’s bowl above the water. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cream of tarter and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until meringue is cool and holds a soft peak, about 5 minutes.