I love lemons. There is very little that I cook that doesn’t get a dash of lemon thrown in. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this cake is one of my firm favourites – it’s lemony through and through. Most people that have come by our house have had it dished out to them at one point or another – some even go as far as to request it. The recipe is from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection. Despite the name of the recipe book, this cake always makes me think of spring and summer. I made it again recently (when the spring flowers were still in bloom, as you’ll notice in the photos ;) and it was as yummy as ever.
For the lemon curd
75g caster sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
2 large eggs
50g unsalted butter
For the icing
50g sifted icing sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
Grease and line the bases of two (18cm) sandwich tins, greasing the paper too. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3/170° C/325° F.
Measure all the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake them on the centre shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the centre feels spongy.
While the cakes are baking, make the lemon curd. Place the sugar and grated lemon rind in a heat-proof bowl, whisk the lemon juice together with the eggs, then pour this over the sugar. Add the butter, cut into little pieces, and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until thickened – about 20 minutes.
When the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and after about 30 seconds turn them out onto a wire rack. When they are absolutely cold carefully cut each one horizontally into two, using a sharp serrated knife. Then spread the curd thickly to sandwich the layers together.
To make the icing, begin by removing the zest from the lemon – it’s best to use a zester to get long, curly strips. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in the lemon juice until you have a soft, runny consistency. Allow the icing to stand for 5 minutes before spreading it on top of the cake with a knife. Then scatter the lemon zest over the top and leave it for half an hour for the icing to firm before serving.