By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
When I was on spring break last month, our copy desk chief, Linda DeRosa, made a lemon cake to share with co-workers. Several people told me later it was one of the best cakes they’d ever eaten.
Naturally, I had to get the recipe from Linda and try it myself. I did just that this past weekend. Linda’s Lemon Cake topped off our Easter brunch at my mother-in-law’s house.
I’ll tell you right now that I did not make the Lemon Curd Filling from scratch. Instead, I bought a jar of lemon curd from Jody Lehman at A Cook’s Place in Tupelo and it was delicious.
The icing is what really makes this cake. It’s so rich and delicate. My granddaughter, Zoie, who was visiting, didn’t eat a bite of the cake but she scraped every bit of the icing off and ate it with her fingers.
This recipe makes a very large, impressive cake. If I’d had more time or energy, I would have decorated the top with candied lemon peel or lemon zest strips or maybe mint sprigs. But it was still pretty with the pale, creamy frosting with little flecks of lemon zest.
Linda’s Lemon Cake
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lemon Curd Filling
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 stick butter
3 lemons, zest grated and juiced
Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pint chilled whipping cream
6 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among three (9-inch) greased and floured pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For the lemon curd, place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken ever-so-slightly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate it to thicken.
For the frosting, beat whipping cream in chilled bowl until stiff. Mix rest of ingredients and fold in whipped cream.
To assemble, spread the lemon curd between the layers and on top of the cake. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.