I have experienced many a festive occasion in my short life.
The time my sister and I got a red and blue kiddie tent for our birthdays, excitedly put it together, flipped it upside down, clambered inside, and pretended we were blasting off in a spaceship.
The week in fifth grade that I spent at science camp away from home, away from my sister, away from my parents, and away from my Neopets account. I didn’t miss them at all.
The moment when that incorrigibly unhappy blonde park ranger employed in my virtual safari finally cracked a smile and rewarded me five stars for the best SIM safari ever created.
The day I got my first DSW $10 off certificate in the mail. The more money you spend on shoes, the more coupons they throw at you! Fancy that!
So on, so forth.
But not all occasions merit a three-layered cake. Though that safari took so much effort to perfect that I think I wouldn’t have turned down a three-layered cake to celebrate. Sadly, the moment has passed.
The occasion for this cake?
Claire is now a gainfully employed member of society!
I know, I had my doubts too. But after noting that I had put on three pounds after a single weekend of celebratory overeating, I knew this couldn’t be a dream. In my dreams, I eat and eat and eat and never gain weight.
Alas, some dreams are never meant to be.
This cake is to celebrate the dreams that do come true.
(aka Triple Layered White Cake with Meyer Lemon Curd Filling, Vanilla Flour Buttercream, and Candied Meyer Lemon Slices)
As you may have guessed from the ridiculously long alternative name for this cake, this cake is another one of my multi-step, energy-draining culinary efforts. The end result is kind of really most definitely worth it.
Meyer Lemon Curd Filling
Please see my recipe for Meyer Lemon Curd Doughnuts here.
Candied Meyer Lemon Slices
3 large Meyer lemons
3 cups of sugar
- Prepare an ice water bath and set it aside. Slice the Meyer lemons into thin slices using a mandoline or a sharp serrated knife.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil. Stir in the lemon slices and cook for about 1 minute until softened. Remove and immediately shock the lemon in the ice water, then drain.
- Bring three cups of water to boil in a large skillet (I used two pans) and dissolve the sugar in the water. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the liquid.
- Simmer for about one hour until the rinds are translucent. Remove the lemon slices from the syrup to cool before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reserve the Meyer lemon-infused syrup as well.
I used this recipe with slight modifications.
3 3/8 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups milk at room temperature
9 egg whites at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350˚F and butter and flour three 8″ round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, combine the milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract and whisk with a fork until blended.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the mixer, mixing on low.
- Add all but about 3/4 cup of the milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Your mixture should visibly expand and become white and smooth.
- Add the remaining milk mixture and beat for another minute.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or so, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan, then remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack. At this point, if you’re not ready to put your cake together, you can wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate them. I refrigerated mine for three days and they tasted fabulous.
Vanilla Flour Buttercream
This is the first time I’ve ever made a flour buttercream, and it turned out beautifully. I wanted to frost my cake with whipped cream at first, but decided against it because I needed a hardier frosting to withstand the journey to a friend’s house. I also didn’t want the richness of an American buttercream to overwhelm the delicate sweetness of the Meyer lemon curd. So after some research, I settled on a flour buttercream – a cross between a buttercream and a pudding. It’s much lighter than a buttercream but also much hardier than whipped cream. Win! Thanks to Serious Eats for the recipe, adapted ever so slightly below.
4 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour and the sugar until completely blended. Then, mix in the milk.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring continuously so that it doesn’t burn. It will take about 15 minutes for the mixture to come to a boil and to thicken.
- Remove from heat, pour into a heatproof bowl, and immediately press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding. Allow the pudding to cool down to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
- Beat the butter until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the pudding one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and salt and beat until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Put the cake together!
- With a long bread knife, remove the domed tops of the cakes.
- Brush the top of the first cake with a generous amount of Meyer lemon-infused syrup, then spread about a cup of curd over the top. Stop about a centimeter from the edge so the curd does not come out when the second layer is placed on top.
- Place the second cake on top of the curd, then repeat step two with the second layer.
- Place the last cake on top of the second layer, then brush with Meyer lemon syrup.
- Frost the cake and create a masterpiece with the candied Meyer lemon slices.
- To create the curls on my cake I used a pair of kitchen scissors and made cuts halfway through the slices, then twisted the two ends in opposite directions.
Bonus pictures for whoever bothered to scroll to the bottom! Excuse the poor iPhone pictures, but it just isn’t right to throw hotpot parties in the morning for the sake of good lighting.