Serves 10 to 12
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 1/2 lemons
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
Basic Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)
Candied lemon peel, for garnish (optional; recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans; line with parchment rounds, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Mix in zest and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk; beat until just combined.
3. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, smoothing tops with an offset spatula. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.
4. With a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to level. Place bottom layer on a cake stand or platter. Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler or a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off, pipe a dam of frosting around edge of cake. Fill with 3/4 cup lemon curd, spreading with an offset spatula. Repeat with second layer, frosting dam, and another 3/4 cup lemon curd; top with third layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, using an offset spatula to create large swirls. Arrange candied lemon peel on top of cake, if desired.
Makes 2 cups
Whisk together 2 large eggs and 4 large egg yolks. Combine with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons) in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 12 to 14 minutes, or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a small bowl. Add 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until smooth. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 2 lemons). Press parchment or plastic wrap directly on surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely before using; refrigerate up to 2 days.
Basic Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 4 cups
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed before using.
Candied Citrus Peel
Cover 1/4-inch strips of citrus peel (pith removed) with cold water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then drain. Repeat twice. Bring equal amounts water and sugar (enough
to cover the strips) to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves. Add strips; simmer gently on medium-low until peel is translucent, 1 hour. Let strips cool (off heat) in syrup. Wipe
excess syrup from each strip, roll in sugar, and let dry on a wire rack.
Reprinted from Martha Stewart's Cakes. Copyright (c) 2013 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC.