Yes that’s a lot of lemons! My eldest is one of those people who can eat lemons like an apple- no flinching at any sourness, thoroughly enjoying it as if it was as sweet as a grape. I’m not one of these lucky few and take my lemons with a good side of cake.
This Lemon Lemon Lemon Cake is so named as it’s a classic lemon drizzle cake, with a a homemade lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream and meringues. A beast of a recipe for little ones which is why I would say there are 3 stages of technical difficulty;
If you’re just here for a lemon drizzle recipe then the cake itself is easy and fab to make with little ones- stick with this and you’ll have a yummy, baked-from-scratch lemon cake and a far more chilled out afternoon…
If you want something a bit more special, (grandad’s birthday perhaps) treat yourself and make the curd too. Older kids can get on with this as the method is simple and you can increase the recipe and jar extra curd for future use. You just need to keep the heat low and remember to keep stirring. Younger kids would have to sit this bit out though.
If you’re feeling extra (and brave) and fancy the most EPIC of all lemon cakes ever, then go full hog with the meringues and buttercream! There will be loads of mess, sticky hair and more dirty dishes than you thought you had…but it will be a full day’s activity and absolutely delicious too!
For the cake
- 150g Butter
- 150g Caster sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 175g Self raising flour
- Grated zest and rind of 1 small lemon
- Teaspoon lemon extract
For the drizzle
- 50ml lemon juice
- 100g icing sugar
For the lemon curd
- 75ml lemon juice
- 150g caster sugar
- 75g butter
- 2 large eggs and 1 yolk beaten together (keep the remaining egg white)
For the meringues
- 1 egg white
- 50g caster sugar
- Half tsp lemon juice
For the lemon buttercream
- 150g butter (fairly soft)
- 300g icing sugar
- Generous teaspoon lemon extract
So if your taking this in stages the first would be the curd: fine for older kids but not great for little ones due to the heat. So as above I would take the below as stage 2 of the lemon cake; one difficulty level above lemon drizzle, but one level difficulty below lemon meringue cake.
Start by making the curd (this can be done a few days in advance and popped into a clean jar).
In a saucepan over a low heat, stir the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter and stir until melted. Continue to stir on the low heat and slowly pour in the heated eggs in a slow stream.
Now just keep on stirring for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens to custard consistency. Once thick remove from the heat and pour into the jar. Allow to cool completely before using.
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 170°C /gas mark 3.
Grease and line (with baking paper) 2x 7″ sandwich tins, a deep 6″ round tin or a 1lb loaf tin.
In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the eggs, extract and lemon zest and juice.
Finally add the flour and mix until you have a slightly lumpy batter.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in the tin before removing to cool completely.
When the cake is nearly cool, make the drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar together to have a slightly runny icing.
Poke holes into the top of the cake(s) using a fork or metal skewer and drizzle the lemon icing over.
For the meringues
Preheat the oven to 140°C /gas mark 2
Line a baking tray with baking paper
My kids love make meringues, partly because I let them hold the whisk and partly because I let them pipe the shapes. It does make for some interesting little meringues. So if you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing cake, you may want to try a few swirls yourself before handing the piping bag to the little ones.
On the subject of whisks, I fully recommend an electric whisk for this- I’ve not attempted meringues with a hand whisk but imagine you’d have arms like popeye by the time your egg white whips up…
Pop the egg white in a clean bowl and whisk until white and frothy.
Gradually add the sugar while whisking. Your egg mixture will become glossy, very white and thick. Whisk in the lemon juice and continue to whisk until the mixture holds a shape when the whisk is lifted out.
Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe swirls onto the baking sheet. Alternatively if you’re not piping bag confident, spoon heaped tablespoons of mixture directly on the sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes in the centre of the oven then turn off the heat and allow to cool completely inside the oven.
For the lemon buttercream
OMG if you’ve made it this far give yourself a massive pat on the back! As I’ve said this Lemon Lemon Lemon cake is EPIC and not undertaken by the faint hearted so well done. I bet you’re thinking next time I’ll just stick to the lemon drizzle but wait! Once you have a big slice of Lemon Lemon Lemon cake and taste the fruits of your labour, it will all be worth it!
So this last bit is easy. Using the electric whisk, beat all the buttercream ingredients together until thick and creamy! Voila!
To assemble the Lemon lemon Lemon Cake
Sandwich the cakes together with a generous layer of lemon curd.
Spread a layer of lemon curd on the top of the cake and pop into the fridge to firm up a bit.
Either pipe the buttercream or spread over the top and sides of the cake, covering as much as you can (if you fancy piping lemon Roses there’s a quick video on my Instagram higlights).
Finally arrange your meringues however you like in and/or around the cake and drizzle with yet more lemon curd (the kids took care of meringue placement and lemon curd drizzling following my buttercream piping- you may want to try a similar compromise).
Enjoy the most lemony of all the lemon cakes!