America's Test Kitchen Lemon Cake
Lemon Layer Cake
from the Episode: Lemon Layer Cake
The filling can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, but it will become
quite stiff; fold it with a rubber spatula to loosen it before spreading
onto the cake. For neater slices, dip a knife into hot water before
the cake. Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator, with the
side of the cake covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
Serves 10 to 12
Lemon Curd Filling
1cup fresh lemon juice from about 6 lemons
1teaspoon gelatin (powdered)
1 1/2cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/8teaspoon table salt
6large egg yolks (reserve egg whites for cake)
8tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen
2 1/4cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus extra for pans
1cup whole milk , room temperature
6large egg whites , room temperature
2teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
4teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon table salt
12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened
but still cool
Fluffy White Icing
2large egg whites
1cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1tablespoon corn syrup
For The Filling: Measure 1 tablespoon lemon juice into small bowl;
sprinkle gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, sugar, and salt in
medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally,
until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and
yolks in large nonreactive bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot
lemon-sugar mixture into eggs, then return mixture to saucepan. Cook over
medium-low heat, stirring constantly with heatproof spatula, until mixture
registers 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer and is thick enough to
leave trail when spatula is scraped along pan bottom, 4 to 6 minutes.
Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until
dissolved Stir in frozen butter until incorporated. Pour filling through
fine-mesh strainer into nonreactive bowl (you should have 3 cups). Cover
surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm enough to
spread, at least 4 hours.
For The Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350
degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans
and line with parchment paper. In 2-cup liquid measure or medium bowl,
whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla. In bowl of standing mixer
fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar baking powder, and salt at
low speed. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a
time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs with no
visible butter chunks. Add all but 1/2 cup milk mixture to crumbs and beat
at medium speed until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes.
With mixer running at low speed, add remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture;
increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape
sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread
batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Bake until toothpick inserted in
center of cakes comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides
of pans with small knife, cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto greased
wire rack; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again; cool completely on
rack, about 1 1/2 hours.
To Assemble: Following illustrations below, use serrated knife to cut each
cake into 2 even layers. Place bottom layer of 1 cake on cardboard round
or cake plate. Using icing spatula, spread 1 cup lemon filling evenly on
cake, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge; using cardboard round, gently
replace top layer. Spread 1 cup filling on top. Using cardboard round,
gently slide bottom half of second cake into place. Spread remaining cup
filling on top. Using cardboard round, place top layer of second cake.
Smooth out any filling that has leaked from sides of cake; cover with
plastic wrap and refrigerate while making icing.
for the icing: Combine all ingredients in bowl of standing mixer or large
heatproof bowl and set over medium saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely
simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, stirring constantly,
until mixture registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10
minutes. Remove bowl from heat and transfer mixture to standing mixer
fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form,
about 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until
mixture has cooled to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes
longer. Using icing spatula, spread frosting on cake. Serve. (Cake can be
refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving.)
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