Recipe of the week: Lemon Curd Layer Cake

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Lemon curd layer cake from "The Ginger & White Cookbook" by Tonia Georg, Emma and Nicholas Scott. Photo by Jenny Zarins.
Lemon curd layer cake from "The Ginger & White Cookbook" by Tonia Georg, Emma and Nicholas Scott. Photo by Jenny Zarins.

Lemon curd layer cake from “The Ginger & White Cookbook” by Tonia Georg, Emma and Nicholas Scott. Photo by Jenny Zarins.

You might still be finishing the last of the Thanksgiving pies, but this lemon curd cake from the owners of a popular cafe in London caught my eye as a perfect winter dessert that would brighten any holiday dinner or brunch.

Friends Tonia George and Emma and Nicholas Scott opened their successful cafe, Ginger & White, in 2009, and now have their first book, “The Ginger & White Cookbook” (Mitchell Beazley, $24.99), featuring sweet and savory dishes, ranging from sandwiches and even some entrees to an array of baked goods and desserts.

Lemon curd goes with a lot of things, from toast in the morning to ice cream right before bed, but I love this layer cake idea. The authors remind us that you can make the curd in an ordinary saucepan, no need to put it over a bain-marie or double boiler.

Lemon Curd Layer Cake

For the curd filling:
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter
For the cake:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 1/8 cups superfine sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 free-range eggs at room temperature, beaten
1 3/4 cups self-rising flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Strawberries or blueberries, for garnish

Start by making the curd filling. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a small, heavy-based saucepan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in the lemon zest, juice and butter, then place over a low heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring constantly until thick. Allow to cool, then cover and chill until needed.

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees. Grease three 9-inch diameter springform cake pans and line the bases with nonstick parchment paper.

Place the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl and beat until really light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time. If the mixture looks curdled, add 1 tablespoon of the flour. Finally, fold in the remaining flour. You will be left with a really thick mixture, but don’t be tempted to add any liquid.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the cakes are shrinking away from the sides of the pans and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack, peel off the paper and allow to cool. When cool, spread 1 sponge with half the lemon curd, place another sponge upside down on top, and spread the remaining curd on that. Top with the final sponge cake, dust with powdered sugar, and decorate with fresh strawberries or blueberries. Serves 8.

— From “The Ginger & White Cookbook” by Tonia George, Emma and Nicholas Scott (Mitchell Beazley, $24.99)


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