This is a tall and beautiful layer cake. It’s both sweet and a bit tart, with lots of lemon flavor. It’s perfect for a birthday celebration or other special occasion. Although you can purchase pre-made lemon curd, I would encourage that you make your own. It’s very easy to do and the flavor is outstanding.
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon cream of tatar
Garnish: Lemon slices, halved, patted dry
Lemon Curd: Combine 2 1/3 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk eggs and yolks; add butter. Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. (Can be prepared up to one week in advance). Cover and keep refrigerated.
Frosting: Beat powdered sugar and 1 ¼ cups lemon curd in large bowl just until blended. Beat cream in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold cream into curd mixture in 3 additions. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-inch cake pans with sides that are 1 ½ inches high; line bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk 1 ½ cups cake flour, ½ cup sugar, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¾ teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add 4 egg yolks, ¼ cup vegetable oil, orange juice, lemon peel and ¾ cup curd to bowl (do not stir). Combine egg whites and ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating until stiff, but not dry. Using same beaters, beat yolk mixture until smooth. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.
Assembly: Spoon 1 cup frosting into pastry bag fitted with plain round tip; refrigerate bag. Place 1 cake layer on cake platter. Spread top of cake layer with 1/3 cup curd, then 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer; spread with 1/3 cup curd and 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Spread remaining curd over top of cake, leaving ¾ inch border around the edge. Pipe chilled 1 cup frosting in bag in small mounds around edge of cake. To garnish, place lemon slices between mounds of frosting. Slice cake and serve.