When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in this case, lemon cake.
I havent baked anything in what feels like forever. I’ve been on a bit of a downer and baking just seemed like too much of an effort. I suppose life gets like that sometimes. The things you enjoy doing the most, seem like chores and life just comes to a standstill. And that’s okay, it is alright not to feel okay all of the time. We all have bad days and sometimes weeks, but it is a bad time not a bad life. Focus on the positives, chill out and soon you will be back doing what you love. Once I got baking again, I remembered why I loved it so much. There is something so therapeutic about watching something come to life from a few simple ingredients. At the end of it all you can stand back and say “I made that” and to me, there is no better feeling.
Last month was my nanna and grandads 50th wedding anniversary! Fifty years married to the same person seems insane to me, I don’t think I could ever spend that long with a guy or gal without killing them. But they did it, and 3 children & 9 grandchildren later they seem as happy as larry. For the big day I made them a two tiered cake, the first tier was carrot cake [recipe here] and the second was this lemon cake. My family loves my carrot cake, especially my nanna and grandad, so I had to go with that. My nanna and grandad also both love lemon curd. They spread it on toast and all sorts! So a lemon cake seemed like the perfect second tier. It was so nice to see them celebrating such a big milestone in their life and we had a feast in The Martello to celebrate. We were all fit to burst so the cake was saved for the next day with a big cup of tea.
There is something so refreshing about lemon cake. It’s light and citrussy and not overly sweet. This cake is bursting with lemony goodness. Is lemony a word? It is now! Lemon sponge, filled with lemon curd and lemon buttercream. Lemon. Did I say that enough? This is the perfect cake with a big mug of tea or coffee, sat down with friends or family, or plonked in front of the telly watching your fave show. Mine is Neighbours, who knew people actually watched that??
Don’t be daunted by the thoughts of making your own lemon curd. It is actually super easy as long as you follow the 2 golden rules;
* Don’t give up
* KEEP STIRRING
It can seem like the curd will never take shape, but if you just keep going it will eventually thicken. It will take a good 15 minutes or so of constant stirring, so make sure you have the time to give it all of your attention. It’s like a needy lover, it doesn’t want you to leave its side!
Lemon Curd Sponge Cake
Recipes below for:
– Lemon Sponge
– Lemon Curd
– Lemon Buttercream
Makes: 3 layer 9inch cake
To assemble the cake:
– Place one layer of cake on a cake board or cake plate. Spread an even layer of buttercream across the top of the cake.
– Pipe a spiral of curd on top of the buttercream.
– Place the second layer on top and repeat the above process.
– Place the third layer on top. Cover with a thin layer of buttercream. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides of the cake and place in the fridge for about 30 mins.
– Remove the cake from the fridge and spread the rest of the buttercream evenly around the top and sides of the cake. Smooth out with your palette knife.
– Decorate the cake however you like, I used candied lemon slices!
350g caster sugar
350g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
– Preheat oven to 180c (160c fan oven). Line three 9 inch cake tins with parchment paper and butter & flour the sides!
– Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. If like me, you have no upper arm strength, use an electric mixer.
– Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each one.
– Sieve the flour and baking powder together and add to the bowl. Fold together gently with a spoon or spatula.
– Add in the milk and lemon zest and fold until combined.
– Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
– Allow cakes to cool in the tins for around 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack!
150g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
75ml lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
dash of salt
zest of 1 lemon
– Mix together water, sugar and cornflour in a medium-sized sauce pan until there is no lumps. Add in the salt, lemon juice and egg yolks.
– Cook the mixture over a medium – high heat stirring continuously! Seriously, don’t stop stirring!
– Continue stirring for around 15 minutes until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble. It might seem like this will never happen, but stick at it and it will! The lower your heat, the longer it will take.
– When the mixture starts to bubble, add in the butter and lemon zest, keep stirring over the heat until the butter is melted.
– Put the curd in a bowl to cool!
– When you are not using, keep the curd in the fridge. Whatever you don’t use in the cake will last about 2 weeks covered in the fridge! But to be honest, it tastes so damn good I doubt it will last that long!
250g butter or margarine softened
4 cups of icing sugar (sifted!)
3tbsp lemon juice
– Beat the butter in a bowl with an electric mixer.
– Add icing sugar 1 cup at a time, beating after each one.
– Add the lemon juice with the last cup of icing sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.