Cake Club has come around once a month for the past year or so, which means 1 afternoon’s work devoted to creating something delicious for the lovely clubbers. I know, I know, we live a hard life at BDB. This month I decided a lemon cake was in order. But no ordinary lemon cake. The Ultimate Lemon and Poppy Seed Meringue Pie Cake. But we’ll call it the Ultimate Lemon Cake for now.
This will involve 3 layers of crumbly lemon and poppy seed sponge, zingy lemon syrup, lip-smacking homemade lemon curd and heavenly Swiss meringue buttercream. The lemon lover’s dream…
For the base I used our favourite sponge recipe, using the quantities for a 7” cake, split between 3 x 7” tins. You can find this recipe in our Blue Door Baking Bible online guide. Along with quantities for any shape or sized cake and tips and tricks to getting the perfect bake. I replaced the vanilla extract with the zest of 2 lemons and 2 tbsp poppy seeds.
Once the cakes are cooled, trim any domes so that they’re even and drench in sugar syrup…
Zesty Lemon Sugar Syrup
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp caster sugar
Mix the mixture together and heat gently so that the sugar is dissolved. For a slightly sweeter, less sharp syrup simply add more sugar and water.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream (enough for a 7/8” layer cake)
2 egg whites
130g caster sugar
165g unsalted butter (softened)
Before starting, make really sure that your bowl and all of your equipment is super clean – any specks can stop your meringue forming the peaks we need.
Whisk egg whites and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (if you’re using a stand mixer, save a little washing up by doing this bit in your mixing bowl). Make sure your bowl isn’t touching the water.
Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. You’ll notice the texture change and become a little more opaque in colour. The best way to test it’s ready is to rub a little of the mixture between your fingers (dip in a clean spoon and take from there rather than dipping a finger in the hot mixture). It’s ready when it feels smooth – if you can feel any grains of sugar, keep mixing!
Once ready, transfer your bowl to a stand mixer and whizz (or mix with handheld electric whisk). Beat the mixture until it becomes beautifully shiny and forms stiff peaks. By this time it should have cooled down, ready to add your butter.
Cut your softened butter into chunks and add to the mixture gradually, beating all the time. Once it’s all incorporated, continue to beat for a few minutes, until it becomes silky smooth.
Keep your mixture covered with cling film while you’re not using it and in the fridge if you don’t intend to use it within a couple of hours.
Lemon Curd (250g/enough for our cake)
2 unwaxed lemons (zest & juice)
100g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (lightly whisked)
Add your lemon zest and juice, sugar and butter to a heatproof bowl.
Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture combined.
Add your eggs to the mixture and whisk until they’re incorporated. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, stirring occasionally. As with the Swiss Meringue, you’ll notice the consistency change and the colour become more opaque, leaving you with a vibrant yellowy bowl of goodness, with a jam-like consistency.
Leave to one side to cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to make your cake taste even more brilliant.
Now we’re ready to layer up buttercup…
Secure your cake onto a board or cake stand with a little curd. Then add 1 third of the curd to the top of the bottom layer, being sure to get to the edges so you’ll have those mouth-watering oodles creeping down the side of your cake.
Top with your buttercream. Repeat with the next 2 layers. I indented a circular pattern with an Angled Palette Knife and topped with poppy seeds to finish off but a great big pile of lemon zest in the centre would look awesome too.
Display in a proud fashion. Give in and take the first slice. Enjoy…