When you are the cook in the family, the special task of creating family celebration meals falls to you. It is an honor and a privilege and one I take very seriously. I always pay attention to what my family members like (and don’t) and my favorite kitchen task is devising and creating meals or treats that will surprise and delight them. When the whole family is gathered around the table, sharing favorite dishes, my heart is full to bursting.
I created this cake for my mother, who loves, loves lemon. I have piled on every level of lemon flavor I can think of. Luscious lemon curd is her favorite, so I’ve filled the cake with it. The cake itself is packed with lemon flavor and the sweet glaze is like sugary lemonade. A sparkling shower of crushed lemon drops adds crunch (which Mom also loves), lip-puckering sweetness and a pretty shimmer.
Lavish Lemon Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup lemon curd, homemade or purchased
1 ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
lemon drop candies for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, or spray with Bakers’ Joy.
Grate the zest from one of the lemons and set aside. Juice all the lemons.
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light. Add 2 cups of sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and ¼ cup of the lemon juice and beat until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda alternately with the buttermilk until everything is completely combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out to an even surface. Drag the back of a spoon through the center of the batter in a circle to make a small trough. Carefully spoon the lemon curd into the trough, doing your best to keep it from the sides of the pan. Carefully cover with the remaining batter, gently spreading it to cover the lemon curd. Do not worry if some of the curd reaches the sides of the pan; just do your best.
While the cake is cooking, whisk together a further 2 Tablespoons of juice and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Stir it a couple of times while the cake is baking, but the sugar will not completely dissolve.
Bake the cake for 45- 50 minutes until a tester inserted in the center come out clean. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a platter. Cut thin strips of waxed paper and place around the edged of the cake. This will pick up any drips from glazing ; just remove them when done and your platter is clean and ready to go. Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer or a toothpick. Brush the lemon sugar glaze over the cake with a pastry brush. Go slowly and let it absorb. Leave the cake to cool.
When the cake is completely cool, mix the confectioners’ sugar with 2 Tablespoons lemon juice until you have a thick glaze. Spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.
Place a handful of lemon drops in a heavy plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.
Serves 10 – 12