I’ve had this recipe in my Bookmarks list for some time now, and it was a matter of waiting for the right occasion to pop up in order for me to make it. This is not a cake you make every-other-day – and when it came to my dessert-duties for Mother’s Day lunch, I knew immediately what to do.
I had my first taste of the Lemon Dream Cake at Flour & Stone – a little bakery by Nadine Ingram slightly away from the main hustle and bustle of the Sydney CBD, yet close enough to present a tempting detour. This cake is one of Ingram’s unique creations, as well as her legendary panna cotta lamingtons, hazelnut torte (which I dub “The Nutella Cake”), hand-iced gingerbread, and the Old-Fashioned Sponge Cake, sandwiched generously with cream and homemade jam. The Lemon Dream (or Lemon Cloud, as it’s sometimes called) is two layers of butter cake topped with crisp meringue, sandwiched together with copious amounts of whipped cream and homemade lemon curd. The tricky part of this recipe is that the meringue is cooked at the same time as the cake – but rest assured that both are well-cooked within the time provided! The meringue layer is crispy on the top but still slightly soft, providing rather a “cloudier mouth-feel” which is quite delightful.
I’ve reduced the recipe request for two tablespoons of vanilla bean paste down to two teaspoons – two tablespoons is an awful lot of vanilla – a whole little tub of it. Two teaspoons was more than aromatic enough!
Lemon Dream – a recipe by Nadine Ingram. Serves 10.
You will need:
- 250g butter, softened;
- 250g caster sugar;
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste;
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten;
- 225g self-raising flour;
- 25g cornflour;
- 1 teaspoon baking powder;
- 50ml milk;
- 300ml thickened cream, whisked to soft peaks
For the lemon curd:
- 3 eggs;
- 1 egg yolk;
- 160g caster sugar;
- 150ml lemon juice (about four juicy lemons-worth);
- Finely grated rind of two lemons;
- 160g softened butter.
- 180g eggwhites (from about four eggs);
- 300g caster sugar.
For the lemon curd, whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar in a heatproof bowl to just combine, then whisk in the juice and rind. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the water to boil), and lightly whisk the mixture to stop the curd cooking too quickly around the edges until it reaches 85 degrees Celcius on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have one, just until it thickens to the consistency of whipped cream (about half an hour).
Cool until just tepid (40 minutes) then add butter a little at a time, whisking well between additions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill and set (at least four hours or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Line two 22cm diameter cake tins with baking paper. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating between additions and scraping down the sides of the bowl until all incorporated.
Sieve the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add to the egg mixture in two batches, folding between additions. Add the milk and fold to combine, then divide evenly between the prepped tins and set aside.
For the meringue, whisk the eggwhites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture forms a soft ribbon (3-4 minutes), then gradually add the sugar, whisking until the meringue is glossy (3-4 minutes).
Dot half evenly over each cake, then swirl the meringue for decorative effect. Bake both, turning halfway, until the meringue is slightly golden for about 30 minutes.You can test for done-ness by deciding which one you want to be as the bottom layer (i.e. the uglier one) and gently checking it with a skewer.
Cool completely in tins (about three hours or overnight).
Remove the cakes from the tins carefully and peel the baking paper off. Spread lemon curd evenly over the bottom cake (serve any remaining with the cake), top with whipped cream, then place the second cake on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Remember that it’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this weekend, lovelies! I will have to start on editing my Japan photos for my holiday post soon – I uploaded all the photos last night and there are so many food photos…so very excited 🙂 Xx