Lemon Layer Cake 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Apr 13, 2011

A lemon-curd cream subtly flavors the frosting and keeps the cake layers moist.

Pareve margarine has no meat or dairy ingredients.

Make Ahead: The frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. The cake can be baked, cooled and frozen up to 1 day in advance. For best results, assemble this cake the same day it is to be served.

Servings: 12
  • For the cake
  • Neutrally flavored oil or pareve margarine, for greasing the cake pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup matzoh cake meal
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • Finely grated zest from 1 large lemon (1 1/4 teaspoons)
  • Dash salt
  • For the lemon cream
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and freshly squeezed juice from 2 or 3 lemons (2 or 3 teaspoons zest and 5 tablespoons juice)
  • 5 tablespoons pareve margarine (see headnote)
  • For assembly
  • 1 1/4 cups pareve whipping cream (non-dairy)
  • Fresh raspberries, strawberry halves or lemon slices, for garnish (optional)


For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Trace the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan onto a piece of parchment and cut out the circle. Use a flavorless oil or pareve margarine to grease the 9-inch round baking pan; position the parchment circle in the pan, and then grease the paper.

Separate the eggs into whites and yolks.

Combine the egg yolks, water, lemon juice and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or an electric hand-held mixer, or by hand with a whisk. Beat on low speed to combine, then add the cake meal, potato starch and lemon zest; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate, clean bowl (use a mixer or whisk by hand) on high speed to form stiff peaks. Gently fold into the egg yolk mixture, then pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool thoroughly in the pan, then remove it and wrap in plastic wrap, keeping the parchment paper on the bottom for easier handling. Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

For the lemon cream: Combine the eggs, yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over a medium saucepan containing barely bubbling water, over medium heat. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Cook for about 25 minutes, whisking occasionally, so the mixture becomes quite thick. Be patient, and do not stir too much.

Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in a tablespoon of the margarine at a time. Cool for 10 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

(Alternatively, if you want to use the mixture sooner, nestle the bowl of lemon cream in a larger bowl filled with ice and a little water (below the level of the cream bowl) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cream is chilled; stir occasionally.)

To assemble: Unwrap the cake and discard the parchment. Work with the cake while it is cold. If necessary, trim the top and/or sides to make surfaces level and straight. Use a long serrated or santoku-style knife to cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers, turning the cake as you make a shallow cut a few inches in, all the way around the cake; then farther in, until the layers are discrete.

Place a dollop of the lemon cream on a round of cake cardboard that is slightly larger than the cake itself, or on a cake plate. Place the top layer of cake, cut side up, on the cardboard or plate, pressing lightly to anchor the cake).

Beat the non-dairy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on high speed to form stiff peaks.

Spread one-third of the remaining lemon cream evenly on the first layer, all the way to the edges.

Position the second (center) cake layer on top of the first; spread with one-third of the lemon cream.

Fold the remainder of the lemon cream into the whipped cream to form a pale yellow frosting. Spread this on the top and sides of the cake, reserving about one-quarter of it. Freeze uncovered for 15 minutes.

Spread on more of the frosting to even out the sides and top; freeze for 5 minutes.

Dip a flat or offset spatula into very hot water, then dry it. Use it to smooth the frosting by sliding the spatula all around the cake, reheating and drying the spatula as needed. Use any remaining frosting to apply decorative piping, transferring it to a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a bottom corner snipped off.

If desired, decorate with the fruit. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes From Traditional to Trendy" (Brandeis, 2010), by Paula Shoyer, who blogs at KosherBaker.blogspot.com.

Tested by Aimee Sanders.

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