There is nothing so sweet as celebrating the birthday of a dear friend. I’ve only known Kara for a little over a year now, but she has quickly become an old friend. She’s a friend of my heart and I don’t have beautiful or adequate enough words to explain how special her friendship and community has been to me. Finding a friend like Kara is a special gift that doesn’t come along everyday. So, here’s to friends, old and new, who bring color and joy to our lives and help us to see our Creator a little bit clearer. Happy Birthday, Kara!
Cake: adapted from www.finecooking.com
2 1/3 c cake flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 c sugar
2 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
3/4 c butter, softened
1 c whole milk, at room temperature
5 large egg whites at room temperature (save the yolks for the filling!!)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center position. Butter and flour 2 9×1 1/2 inch cake pans.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Gently mash the lemon zest into 1/4 cup of the sugar (you can use a food processor for this, but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble).
Beat the butter and lemon sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer witht he paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in 1/ 4 cup of the milk, until just blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the remaining milk alternately in three batches. Remove bowl from stand mixer and set aside.
Place a second bowl onto the stand mixer base with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and whip well until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Spread evenly in the two prepared cake pans and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cook in the pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes until removing from the pan and allowing to cool completely directly on the racks.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon curd.
Lemon Curd: also adapted from www.finecooking.com
1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
6 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Whisk in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth. Return to the heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Do not let it boil! Immediately force the mixture through a fine seive into a bowl. Whisk in sugar and let cool to room temperature, whisking from time to time. Chill in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to use.
Note: In the original recipe, the sugar goes in with the lemon juice and zest, but I totally missed it (oops!) and added mine at the end. I thought it was yummy just the same.
>>I completed up through these steps the night before I needed my cake. I wrapped the cooled cakes tightly to keep them fresh and moved on with the frosting after work the next day.>>
1 1/2 c butter, softened
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp whole milk
Slowly mix butter and sugar until incorporated, turn mixer to medium high speed and whip until smooth. Beat in vanilla and milk. Adjust milk so that you get the consistency as thick or thin as your prefer.
Once the cakes have cooled, slice each cake in half with a sharp bread knife being careful to divide them as evenly and smoothly as possible. On a cake platter, start with a layer of cake and alternate with 1/3 of the lemon curd mixture.
Once all layers are stacked, spread a very thin layer of icing over the cake, filling any holes or uneven spaces as you go.
Chill the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. Then, smooth the remaining icing over the cake and decorate as you like. Enjoy!!