For The Cake:
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup (6 oz./170g) self-rising flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/6 oz./170g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, (cut into small pieces)
3/4 cup (6 oz./170g) superfine sugar
3 large eggs
For the Lemon Curd:
Zest (finely grated), and juice from 1 large lemon
1/3 cup (3 oz./75g) superfine sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick/2 oz./56g) unsalted butter
For The Icing:
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
4 tbsp. (2 oz./50g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
2-3 tsp. lemon juice
Strips of lemon peel from 1 lemon (long curly strips), for garnishing top of cake
Solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco), for greasing pans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Lightly grease two 7-inch/18cm x 1 1/2-inches/4cm deep round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper, then lightly grease the parchment paper also.
For the Cake:
Measure all the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Then divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans, then bake them on the center rack of preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the centers feel springy when lightly touched with your finger.
For the Lemon Curd:
While the cakes are cooking, make the lemon curd. Place the sugar and grated lemon zest in a bowl, whisk the lemon juice together with the eggs, then pour this over the sugar. Then add the butter, and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until thickened, about 20 minutes. You don't have to watch over it, just come back from time to time to give it a stir.
To Assemble Cake:
When the cakes have finished baking, remove them from the oven, and after about five minutes turn them out onto a cooling rack. When they have cooled completely (this step is very important, cool cakes until cold-at room temperature), carefully cut each one horizontally into two using a sharp serrated knife. Spread the lemon curd thickly to sandwich the layers together.
For the Icing:
Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in the lemon juice until you have a soft, runny consistency. Stir in the 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon peel. Allow the icing to stand for 5 minutes before spreading it on top of the cake with a knife, almost to the edges, and don't worry if it runs a little down the sides of the cake.
For the Garnish:
Remove the zest from the lemon (it's best to use a zester to get long, curly strips). Sprinkle the lemon curl strips over the top of cake and let the cake sit for 30 minutes for the icing to firm up before serving. Store any leftover cake, covered, at room temperature.
Makes 1 (7-inch) layer cake, 6-8 servings.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2002
Date: June 29, 2002