This is the cake I made for the afternoon tea for our friend's birthday back in March. It's on the front cover of Delia Smith's book "Baking" and I remember very clearly the first time I tasted it, many years ago. It's a favourite of Nick's family and his youngest sister had made it for his mum's birthday tea.
The recipe calls for home made lemon curd. I have made lemon curd successfully in the past but on this occasion I used a jar of Bon Maman. The curious thing is, Bon Maman is a French product but I have never found the lemon curd for sale anywhere in France, even though I do look for it in the confiture section of every supermarket. Other lemon curds are available but are not quite as good so this time I brought some to France from the UK with me, which did seem a bizarre thing to do.
I wan't quite sure whether this was strictly legal. Does the butter content of lemon curd, even shop bought, mean that it should, strictly speaking, be classed as dairy? In which case it's no longer legal to bring it to France. If however it's classed as jam, we're ok. The joy of Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving and nobody has got what they voted for, whatever that was, and very few actually understand the new rules anyway.
The cake is made in two sandwich tins and each layer is then sliced into two. This is not my favourite thing to do and gives me the collywobbles every time I even think about it. What if I didn't make the cut evenly and the cake ended up all wonky? Luckily on this occasion I had a sufficiently steady hand and it turned out straight, but I did need a bit of a lie down afterwards. For that reason alone I have given it two stars in the faff factor.
It was easy to make, looked great on the tea table and tasted divine. You can't really go wrong with a Delia Smith recipe and a cake with such a pedigree, Bon Maman product not withstanding, was bound to be a big hit. It was lovely.
For the cake
zest of 1 lemon
1 tblsp of lemon juice
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
For the filling
a jar of good quality lemon curd, shop bought or home made
For the icing
zest of 1 lemon, removed with a zester, not a grater, so as to get long, curly strips of peel
50g icing sugar
2-3 tsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 170°C / 150° fan / gas mk3. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add all the other cake ingredients and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and creamy.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and level the tops. Bake for around 35 minutes until done. Remove to cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing, first remove the peel from the lemon for the decoration.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough lemon juice to make a runny consistency.
When the cakes are completely cold, carefully slice each one in half using a sharp serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake plate or stand and spread liberally with the lemon curd.
Repeat with another two layers then place the fourth layer on top. Spread the icing on the top layer and decorate with the curly strips of lemon peel.
Cuts into 10-12 slices.