Friday, September 12, 2008

Lemon Curd Cake

I really love anything with lemon. I always seem to be searching for recipes that will be more lemony than the last. I’m often tempted to try and find ways to punch up the lemon flavor in just about any lemon pastry. The lemonier, the better. Well, I think I may have found the real deal. This Lemon Curd Cake from Emily Luchetti is the mother lode of lemony lemon at its lemoniest.

Emily Luchetti is a famous pastry chef in this region, with good reason. Her recipes are terrific, fairly simple to execute and never fail to please. If you’ve tried her Goat Cheese Cake, you know what I mean.

This cake has ingredients in unusual ratios and a very different method for mixing. It starts with a lemon curd, so that’s where the egg yolks go and where you get the richness. There’s very little butter, plenty of lemon juice and zest. The result is a very tart cake with a dense crumb that stays moist and delicious for days. It’s great all on its own, but especially wonderful with fresh raspberries and a dollop of soft whipped cream. Be prepared for a very tart zing.

Bench notes:

- Use only fresh lemon juice! The Lemon Curd can be made a day ahead, chilled overnight and brought to room temperature before mixing the cake.
- You do need a cake pan with 3” sides to hold all the batter.
- Sift the cake flour before measuring.
- Egg whites will whip to greater volume at room temperature.
- This cake will keep up to 3 days in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
- I actually prefer the cake on the second day after it’s had a chance to mellow a bit.

Lemon Curd Cake

adapted from Four-Star Desserts by Emily Luchetti
Serves 8

4 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C fresh lemon juice

2 C sifted cake flour
3/4 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 t lemon zest
6 egg whites @ room temperature
1 1/2 C sugar

In a heatproof bowl whisk together 4 egg yolks and 2 eggs with a 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk in 1/2 cup lemon juice. Place over a double boiler or bain marie of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Cook until the curd thickens, stirring constantly.

Pour the curd into a clean bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a 9” x 3” cake pan with butter, flour and parchment.

Sift cake flour and measure out 2 cups. Then sift cake flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt together.

Beat together butter, lemon juice and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. Mix in lemon curd. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Increase speed and when the egg whites begin to look opaque, slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Whip until the egg whites are shiny and form soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into cake batter.

Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth evenly. Bake until a toothpick comes out fairly clean, about 50-60 minutes. Cool completely and turn out onto a cake platter.


Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i am also a lemon freak. anything lemon i love. this cake looks so moist... i will definitely bookmark the recipe. thanks gayle!

Anonymous said...

I love lemon curd cakes and your cake looks so fresh and yummy!

Helene said...

Add me to the ranks of lemon fanatics!! This is a cake I know I would have more than a reasonable serving from :)

Victoria said...

This looks perfect. I cannot wait to try it. I absolutely love lemon curd. It is a divine gift from the gods. Your site is wonderful - and beautiful. I am a subscriber and read every post.

Deborah said...

I am a lemon lover and this looks like heaven!

Brilynn said...

That does have an unusual method for a cake, but it sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

OMG, please pass me a fork I need to try that lemon cake. Delicious looking!

Anita said...

I am a huge fan of Emily Luchetti and this surely is a must-have for me! I just discovered your blog and it's beautiful! I'm honored to be included in your list of fellow travelers!

Heather said...

ohh i love lemon! this sounds delicious, and that picture with the raspberries is gorgeous. they have the most lovely color!

pastry studio said...

Lemon Lovers Unite! We must look after one another!

Lady Plate said...

Yum. This cake looks so moist! If only flavor could be transmitted through pixels...

Shari said...

I love lemon desserts too! Your bench notes are very informative!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos and very helpful notes. Your site is lovely. I love anything lemon and can't wait to try this one!

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Lisa @ Serah's said...

I love lemon! This cake looks so delish!

Eileen said...

I love anything lemon and I have loved everything I have every tried by Emily Luchetti. Sounds like a winner.

liz song mandell said...

ho hum. no surprise that it's another delectable delight posted on your blog....

my mouth continues to water.

priya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
My Sweet & Saucy said...

I am loving this one! I love this book too! Great post!

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Kasey said...

This looks simply delectable!

jmlv20 said...

I made this cake this morning. I had a couple a problems with it though. The lemon curd has to be made in a glass bowl. If not it gets this metallic flavor to it and I did it twice. I think I overwhipped the egg whites. And I baked in a 325 oven for 60 min. and it was in liquid state so I guess it's better off in 350 oven. It has a good taste. I will make it again. I want it to come out perfect. Thanks for the recipe.

Lilli said...

This sounds fantastic, I can already taste it, as we say in Finland: nami nami (=yam yam :)

tour guide said...

This would make my grandma smile :)

Jennifer in BreadLand said...

I have made this cake TWICE and it is unbelievable - refreshingly zingy, an eye-opener after years of blah lemon cakes. It's a classic - thank you!!!

pastry studio said...

Jennifer in BreadLand, thanks so much for your feedback. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's a pretty great cake if you're a lemon freak!

Beth @ duffiebyday said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I made the cake and loved it, but I am here to gush about your lemon curd recipe. Up until I found it, I really struggled to make this creamy lemony love in my kitchen. The water bath really helped and skipping the "straining step" makes it approachable.

pastry studio said...

Beth, thanks very much for the feedback. I love it when people master pastry techniques! Emily Luchetti is a fabulous pastry chef. Every recipe I've tried comes out great.

Yvonne Miller said...

Making this for dinner party tomorrow. Made curd yesterday, brought to room temp this morning. My egg whites with sugar didn't get to what I consider soft peaks after 10 minutes of whipping (no greasy beaters, no egg yolk in the whites, whites at room temp). Noted that someone said they raised the temp to 350 so I baked at 325 for 30 minutes and 350 for 25 minutes. Took out to test and there is a crust on top and a sunken batter underneath that is very wet. Taking it out and hoping for carry over heat to continue to "cook" the batter.

pastry studio said...

Yvonne, it does sound strange that you didn't have soft peak eggs after 10 minutes. Sometimes it's impossible to see even a trace of fat that might get in the way. And every oven has its own mind so it can be trying to get it just right but with 55 minutes, it should be fairly baked through.

The cake does sink a bit in the middle, likely due to the sugar content that counterbalances all the lemon.

In any case, I really hope this turns out for you. Emily Luchetti's recipes are usually very reliable. Please let me know if I can answer any further questions for you.

Anonymous said...

I have continuously failed to make a moist zesty sweet lemon cake. I will try this one and post a review within a week. T!

Anonymous said...

T! here.
Cake turned out average. Not being a world renowned baker,I'm not sure if the problem was the baker or the recipe. I won't be trying this one again. My search for a moist sweet lemon cake continues.