I suppose my first post should really contain a recipe full of pears and chocolate, but I'm saving that for later... (well, mainly for when the pears in my fruit bowl are ripe). Anyway, I'll leave my rhapsodizing about that beloved flavour combination for later and get going on the Lemon Curd Cake...
My mother recently came home with a huge bag of lemons, so I thought it was time to pull out the most lemon-heavy cake recipe I could remember. This is an adaption of a Delia Smith recipe, from her Collections book 'Baking'. I'm not usually a huge lemon fan (except when drowning smoked salmon, of course), which I'm told is sacrilege, but lemon curd is a bit of an exception. There's something about the texture and taste that just captures a sunny mood.
I made the lemon curd for the filling a few days ago, and lo and behold, when I returned to make the cake today, I found the remaining lemons had gone off. As this way midway though mixing the cake, I had to experiment. So I glugged in some of the curd and some orange peel and thankfully it came out beautifully. It's somehow more subtle and mellow than the normal juice/peel mix. Luckily I had already reduced the sugar level so the extra sugar in the curd didn't sweeten it too much.
I initially doubled the curd recipe so I would have some left over, but once I had added some to the cake, filled it and added some to the top icing (no lemon juice either!), it was all gone. So I've put the doubled recipe here, as you can never have too much.
Lemon Curd Cake
For the curd:
125g golden caster sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
Place the sugar and rind together in a bowl and mix. Whisk the juice with the eggs and pour over the sugar mix. Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the mixture. Place over a pan of barely simmering water and stir frequently until thickened (don't feel tied to it, though, I happily flitted back and forth to my laptop) . This took mine about 25 mins.
For the cake:
175g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
rind of 1/2 an orange
3 tbsp lemon curd
Preheat oven to 170C/ 325F. Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one with a tablespoon of flour, mixing well in between. Beat in curd and rind. Quickly mix in the flour. Spread into two greased tins, lined in the bases. Bake for between 25-35 mins depending on the oven, until centres are springy to touch.
Leave to cool on a rack in their tins for five minutes before turning them out and peeling off the papers. When totally cool, carefully cut each cake into two. I cut the edges off too, but that's up to you. Layer them up with the curd, spreading generously between each layer. I now realise it would look prettier if you have a top/bottom edge at each layer, so the brown clearly marks it out - the bottom layer of mine isn't that distinct, if you look. For the top icing, I used the last tablespoon or two of curd with some water, orange juice and icing sugar. It would be better with lemon though, I found it a little sweet with orange. But beggars can't be choosers, so orange it was. I topped it with orange peel, as well, but lemon would be more fitting.