This is, by far, the most complicated post I’ve ever done for this blog. I mean, look at that title–just reading it makes me tired (& hungry!) Good grief! Between baking the cake, cooking the curd, making the icing, putting it all together, documenting the recipes, styling, taking and editing the photos, and writing this post, it’s taken days to get to this point. I’m exhausted! I feel like I just gave birth and I guess in a way I have! It’s been painful, yet rewarding – and oh so delicious!! It all started when my husband and I finally opened a bottle of Limoncello we had squirreled away in the liquor cabinet. It came with one of those little tags around the neck with a couple of recipes on it and one of them was for a bundt cake. Well I looked everywhere and couldn’t find my bundt pan, I probably sold it during a tag sale since I never used it. So I decided to use a regular cake pan and it just got more complicated from there! I had scored a few bags of Meyer lemons that were still in my fridge to make preserved lemons with and I decided instead to make a lemon curd filling with them that also contained Limoncello. I used all the butter I had for the cake and didn’t feel like going out so instead of frosting I went with an icing. I desperately wanted to add goat cheese and thyme to it but was a little scairt so I made the icing with just the Limoncello, lemon juice and confectioners sugar. It tasted like my lemon kitchen soap smells–not pleasant. I figured I had nothing to lose so I added the goat cheese and thyme and it was transformed into something amazing! Paired with the dense, sweet cake and rich lemony curd this tangy icing was so delicious that I just kept adding more!
And MORE! I couldn’t stop myself! And if this was wrong, I didn’t want to be right!
It was THAT good! And yes, I DID eat this after I finished photographing it! Every sweet, lemony bite! And then I got the jitters and had to eat some protein. ha ha! Seriously, calling this cake a little sweet is like saying the Kardashians like a little attention, or Kirstie Alley used to be a little voluptuous, or Anthony Bourdain is a little sarcastic….or Paula Deen likes a little butter….I could do this all day! ha ha! Get it? A gross understatement. Ok, moving on….
First, the cake itself. It calls for 2 sticks of butter and I only had one and a half so I made up the difference with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. It was awesome! You could taste it but it was very subtle. I’m sure this would be very delicious still using all butter if it’s what you have. We’re all about flexibility here people so use what you’ve got and hope for the best. Also called winging it. Flying by the seat of your pants. Going with your gut. Taking a leap of faith. Running with scissors…..gahhh somebody make me stop!!!!!!! Phew, just breathed into a paper bag for a couple of minutes and I think I’m good. I think writing this post is making me relive the sugar rush from eating this cake. Alright I’m focused. Really. Not hyper at all…
For the cake:
2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar (told you this was sweet!)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Limoncello
1 tsp lemon extract
1 Tbl lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Mix together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to batter, alternating with Limoncello. Mix in lemon extract and zest. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
For the Limoncello Lemon Curd:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used Meyer)
1/4 cup Limoncello
3 Tbl freshly grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, Limoncello, lemon zest, and salt. Whisk in the yolks until smooth. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and leaves a path on a wooden spoon when a finger is drawn across it-do not allow the mixture to boil. Immediately pour the lemon curd through a strainer into a bowl. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Finally, the icing:
2 Tbl goat cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl Limoncello
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
pinch of salt
Put the goat cheese in a small bowl and pop in the microwave for 10 seconds until softened. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before using.
To put it all together – get the cooled cakes out of the pans and place one upside down on a cake plate. Spoon on the lemon curd leaving a one inch border empty around the edge. Place the other cake gently on top (right side up) and push down lightly until the filling reaches the edges. Pour over the icing, starting in the center and working your way out. You can use a knife or spatula to fill in empty spots if you want to. Garnish with more fresh thyme.
may be IS the best cake I have ever made. Better than my favorite Sachertorte even. I hope you try it and let me know what you think! I can’t wait to make this in a cupcake or petit fours next time. The flavors are unique and complex but in perfect harmony. Even if you don’t like goat cheese (I’m talking to you Judy!) – give this cake a chance! Unless you hate lemons. Or by extension Limoncello. Or sugar….lots and lots (and LOTS) of sugar! sigh… I need a nap.