Layers upon layers of lemon.

Crumbly and crusty vanilla lemon cake.
Limoncello soak. – yes ~ soak the sweetly spongey goodness in even more saccharin from heaven.
Freshly coddled lemon curd whipped and whirred among pillows of buttercream and fresh lemon zest.
Candied lemon “knots” and lemon rays of sunshine beaming through the kitchen windows of a perfectly lit springtime afternoon.

Lemon Curd Limoncello Layer Cake-040

~ and don’t forget the utter bliss of two girlfriends giggling, gasping, and gabbing like crazy.

Perfection in every sense of the word.

Only inspired slightly by the laborious layers of our German Chocolate Jimbo Cake from weeks ago, sweet tart visions of lemon filled our hearts and dreams this time.

In a big way.

We mixed and matched ideas, threw caution to the wind, and concocted layers as we went.

No plans turned into success beyond belief.

I’ll take one of those days any day.

Lemon Curd Limoncello Layer Cake
Special equipment:

1 (6-inch) spring form pan
2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long

Vanilla Lemon Layer Cake:
3 cups cake flour

2 cups cane sugar
4½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 vanilla bean
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup + 2 Tbs. room temperature butter
1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with a Silpat mat or greased parchment paper.

Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk for 30 seconds or so. Use a paring knife to cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the pod. Add the vanilla seeds, butter, lemon juice, and milk to the dry ingredients. Hand mix until combined, then beat on high with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl down as needed.

Spread the batter with a spatula over the prepared baking dish, ensuring evenness throughout. Bake for about 45 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

Easy Lemon Curd:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
juice and zest of 1 fresh lemon
4 Tbs. butter

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
4 oz. chilled cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (+)

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add cream cheese and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Gradually increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula.
Gradually add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed, until well combined. Add additional confectioners’ sugar until super thick and creamy.
Fold in the Easy Lemon Curd with a spatula.

Limoncello Soak:
1/4 cup fine Limoncello

2 Tbs. lemon cocktail knots or 2 Tbs. Preserved Lemons, rinsed, sliced and drizzled with honey

Assemble the cake.
Using the cake ring – springform pan –  as a guide, cut out three round layers of the Lemon Vanilla Cake. Save the scraps. Clean the cake ring, and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
Put the cake scraps together inside the ring, and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
Pour 1 Tbs. of Limoncello over the layer to create a good healthy bath or soak of flavor.
Spread 1/4 of the Easy Lemon Curd and fresh Buttercream Frosting combination atop the soaking layer.
Using a new cake cut-out layer, place on top of the frosting, drizzle another 1 Tbs. Limoncello soak on top, and frost.
Repeat until all layers are combined, adding the additional layer of acetate when the cake layers reach the appropriate height.
Finish with a final layer of frosting.

Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer, and freeze for several hours to set the cake and fillings. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

At least 3 hours before serving, remove from the freezer and release the springform, allowing the cake to escape and breathe. Remove acetate strips. Finally, garnish with lemon knots or honeyed preserved lemons. 

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