Our Lemon Drop Cake is like Summer Sunshine on a Plate. The cake itself is light and fluffy, and the fresh lemon curd filling adds a delicate tartness. To finish the cake, we frost it with a lemon-scented vanilla buttercream and decorate it with its candy namesake. Make this cake for a springtime tea party or for anyone who loves a tart yet sweet dessert.
In a large bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the egg, and beat just until combined. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three separate additions, begining and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
In a small bowl, pour the lemon juice over the lemon zest and let stand for 10 minutes to soften the zest.
In a nonreactive bowl whisk the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until combined. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the egg mixture and whisk until just combined.
Place your bowl containing the egg mixture over a double boiler. Continuously stir the mixture with a heatproof spatula until the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like texture, about 6 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter until emulsified. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Take a sheet of plastic wrap and press it into the mixture and around the bowl so that the curd does not form a skin.
Set the lemon curd aside while you make the frosting. Do not refrigerate the curd unless you are saving it for future use.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract and
Refrigerate the frosting for a few minutes (but no more) until it can hold its shape. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about
This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver at room temperature (cool and humidity free) for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
© 2008 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.