Lemon Cream, Meringue & White Chocolate Christmas Cake
If you’ve been reading my stories of cake and chocolate fingers lately – you might have been waiting to hear about the cake recipe that I ‘ve needed to keep quiet about (Clandestine Cake Club) – till now that is!
I told a little story (well not so little, but it was a bit funny) about the build up to making this cake. What I should also have told you, is how popular this cake is with the kids – they much prefer it to the fruit cake – so in the interests of ‘good parenting’ – I’ll just ‘have’ to make another *sigh*
But if you’ve already read this, you will want me to cut to the chase and give you the recipe.
Just remember – it’s two recipes brought together to make this collosal cake, that really is not for the faint hearted or anyone on a diet! I’ll do the cake first and split the ingredients and method up as I go – then you know what you need and what for!
Lemon Cake with Lemon Syrup & Lemon Cream Filling
For the Cake – you will need:
- 250 g (8 oz) Butter (room temperature)
- 250 g (8 oz) Caster Sugar
- 250 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour (sifted)
- 3 large eggs (crack these in a seperate dish before adding)
- Zest of 2 lemons (unwaxed)
- a 20cm deep cake tin (loose bottomed or spring formed tin is easier)
- greaseproof paper to line the tin
For the **Lemon Syrup – you will need:
- The juice of 2 lemons
- 4 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
For the ***Crumb Base of the Sandwiched Cake – you will need:
2-4 tablespoons of lemon curd (room temperature)
For the Lemon Cream Filling – you will need:
- 1 tablespoon of lemon curd (room temperature)
- 1/2 of a 500 ml pot of double cream
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar (approx)
- A splash of Limoncello liqueur (optional)
First of all set the oven to 160 C and make sure the shelf in the oven is in the centre and allows for the height of the tin.
**Prepare the Lemon Syrup during baking time, but heat it up just before pouring onto the finished cake – then it will be runny and not crystalised.
Put 4 tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of caster sugar into a heatproof bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on full power to dissolve the sugar. If it needs longer return for another minute. Add the lemon juice and stir.
Line a 20 cm deep cake tin with greaseproof paper. I cut a rectangle just over the width of the tin and then cut the rectangle to a square the size of the tin base. Grease the base of the tin and the sides with a little of the butter. Lay the square over the removable base and cut around the base into a circle (this should be easier now the base has butter as it won’t slip away). Cut the remaning part of the rectangle in half and place around the inside of the tin. If it does not fit then you should ony need to cut a small strip to complete the gap.
Cream the sugar and the butter together with an electric whisk until the mix is pale and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time (crack in a seperate dish to the mixing bowl – if you’ve ever cracked open a bad egg, you’ll know why). Mix a little as you add each egg and then beat with the electric whisk until mixed in.
Sift the flour (if not already done) into the bowl. Whisk slowly then on full with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will be much more dense now that you have added flour, if you find it is too doughy to whisk then add a tablespoon of milk to allow smoother mixing.
Grate the zest of the two lemons into the mix and stir with a spoon (the zest tends to stick to the mixer blades and it’s easier to scrape off the spoon)
Transfer the cake mix to the cake tin using a spatula and smooth off. If you make a small well in the centre of the mix it stops that funny little peak forming on the finished cake, so it is more level.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour until firm on top and golden brown in colour. Test with a scewer – if it comes out clean the cake is done – if not, continue cooking, checking every 10 minutes.
When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, leave in the tin and spoon the lemon syrup over the cake immediately.
Leave in the tin for another 15 minutes, until cool enough to transfer to a wire rack.
Slice the cake in half with a sharp knife when cool.
Whisk the double cream until thick and almost fluffy
Fold in the lemon curd gently with a knife.
Sift the icing sugar onto mix and fold in avoiding knocking out the air in the cream
***Spoon 2 -3 tablespoons of lemon curd onto the lower cake and using a knife spread it away from the centre to the edges – this will act as a crumb base and stop the cake crumbs from coming up with the cream filling.
Spoon 1/3 of the lemon cream on top of the lemon curd and in the same way, push out to the edges with a knife.
Place the top layer of the cake on top of the base layer (if top layer is not flat as desired, then turn it up-side-down).
Spread 1/3 of the lemon cream mixture along the sides of the cake using a palette knife and being careful not to drag the crumb from the cake.
Spoon the remaining lemon cream mixture on top of the cake and gently spread to edge (this is the crumb base for the lemon cream/meringue topping).
At this stage you have a perfectly lovely cake to serve and could decorate with crushed meringue for a snow effect.
Lemon Cream/Meringue Topping
For the cake edges and to hold the topping in you will need:
- 3 boxes of white chocolate fingers (you will have surplus – but 2 boxes is not enough)
For the Lemon Cream/Meringue Topping you will need:
- 2 -3 tablespoons lemon curd (room temperature)
- 1/2 of 500 ml pot of double cream
- 3 – 4 crushed meringue nests
- A splash of Limoncello liqueur (optional)
Stand the chocolate fingers on end and lightly press onto the cream toping on the sides of the cake. Place them right up to each other and avoid gaps. As you complete the cake gently press against the side to ensure they are firmly in place.
Whisk the double cream with an electric whish until thick but not at the fluffy stage.
Fold in the lemon curd gntly with a knife – no need to be thorough.
Crush the meringue nests one at a time and fold in for desired thickness.
Spoon the lemon cream/meringue mixture onto the top of the cake in the centre and gently press the mix downwards against the sides of the chocolate fingers using the spoon. Do not apply pressure to the chocolate fingers and if necessary hold the opposite side of the fingers while doing this.
Continue to add the mixture until it is finished and make as rough or as smooth as you wish.
The topping will be mostly yellow in colour, so for a snowy effect, crush as many of the remaining meringue nests as you wish and gently press into the cream topping.
Decorate the cake with toppers if you wish (edible or otherwise) – I used a snowman!
I estimated that without the lemon curd or the Limoncello that this cake costs around £9.00 for the ingredients (given that the chocolate fingers are currently on offer in Morrisons) – The method does seem time consuming, but the cake itself can be baked and frozen till needed and is much easier to cover with cream topping. Also the cake up to part 2 can be done in advance – as long as you make sure you leave the sides of the cake until applying the chocolate fingers. I made the whole cake in one day (with 2 children around, preparing a slow cooker meal, lunch and trips into town factored in) so it’s not as difficult or time consuming as it sounds.
Was is worth it ………. I think so! Lemon is already a favourite in the HonieHouse and frequently used in HoniesKitchen. This cake recipe is a bit lush and carries the lemon flavours so very well.
Here are some of the stunning & tasty cakes that were brought to our 3rd Cake Club event at The Railway, Euxton