Over the long winter months I turn to seasonal citrus to brighten cold weather eats. From salads to dessert, citrus brings unexpected flavor, vivid color, and a refreshing tang to all sorts of recipes. So, when I decided to make a cake this weekend, it seemed like the perfect way to showcase the lightly sweet, delicate flavor of Meyer lemons.
And the cake was really heavenly. Whole wheat pastry flour and a touch of cornmeal make for a satisfying crumb, while lightly sweet Meyer lemon suffuses the whole cake with incredible flavor. Topped off with a pale butter cream frosting and Meyer lemon slices, this cake is as beautiful as it is delicious — a bright treat for a chilly January night.
Meyer Lemon Layer Cake
for the cake (adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters)
4 room temperature eggs, separated
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons fine-ground corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of room temperature butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two large cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and continue beating until well incorporated. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl of needed. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and zest.
With mixer on low, add one third of the flour, half of the milk, another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour. Mix just until incorporated. Gently fold in the prepared egg whites, stirring just until incorporated.
Split the batter between the two cake pans. Place in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the cakes are a light golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
Cool cakes for 20 minutes, and then flip the cakes out onto a rack. Allow cakes to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting.
for the butter cream frosting
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
heavy cream to taste
zest of 1 Meyer lemon, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Beat the butter until light and fluffy, and then add the sugar. Once the mixture is creamy and spreadable, add the vanilla, zest, and juice.
Spread frosting on the bottom layer of cake, add the top, and frost cake completely. For garnish, add several thin slices of Meyer lemon.
Check out 12 more ways to cook with Meyer lemons!