Iced Lemon Cake
I think that we both agree that this is one of our favourite cakes that I make. Danielle first had this cake for someone at work's birthday and she said it was one of the best cakes she’d tasted. So I managed to track down the recipe online from the bakery that made it, made a couple of tweaks, and then made it for her 30th birthday.
200g self-raising flour
200g salted butter
200g caster sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
50g caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
100g full-fat cream cheese, room temp
100g mascarpone, room temp
200g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees/Gas Mark 3. Butter and flour-dust 2 17cm sandwich tins.
Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. Beat the softened butter with the caster sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, using an electric whisk if you have one. Once it starts turning a pale colour then it’s ready. This should take about 5 minutes,
Beat about a fifth of the egg mixture into the butter/sugar. Then add 2 tablespoons of the flour. Repeat this process until all the egg is mixed in, then gently fold in the remaining flour. This way prevents the mixture from splitting.
Pour the mixture into the cake tins and bake for about 25 mins. If a skewer in the centre comes out clean it’s ready. Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the lemon syrup, put the caster sugar in a small saucepan with 50ml water and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes, then add the lemon juice.
If you need to, trim the top off of the sponge (preferably with a serrated knife) which will sit as the bottom layer of the cake, so that the sponge which will be the top can sit flat. Then, with a skewer, poke several holes into 1 side of each sponge, then apply the lemon syrup with a pastry brush.
For the frosting, put the cream cheese, mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon zest into a bowl and beat until smooth. Put the butter into a small pan and soften over a low heat just until it has just melted. Alternatively put in the microwave for a couple of seconds. However, you don’t want the butter to be too hot. Gradually pour the butter into the cream cheese and mix until fully combined. If you add the butter too fast, or the butter is too hot, then the icing may split.
For a simple look, you can layer the sponges with the frosting, leaving the sides exposed. Or for a more elegant finish, you can cover the sides of the cake with frosting too. You could also decorate this cake with some candied lemon peel, a recipe for which is below.
Candied Lemon Peel
200g caster sugar
Peel the lemons with a peeler. Alternatively, run your knife around the curve of the lemon, take off all of the peel. Trim as much of the white piff off as possible. Slice the peel as thickly or thinly as you desire.
Bring a medium saucepot of water to the boil and drop the peel in. Reduced to a simmer and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, until the peel is tender to the bite. If you cut your peel quite thick then it may take a little longer.
Drain and allow to dry for about 10 minutes minutes. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the sugar and the water to a boil and drop the peel in. Reduce the temperature down to a simmer and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
It is ready when the peel turns slightly translucent, and the syrup has become thick and coats the peel. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on a rack. You can then roll in some extra caster sugar if you desire.