Most birthday cakes are sweet and decadent, just the way I like it. But sometimes I like to switch it up a bit…I wanted a refreshing cake for my sister-in-law’s birthday since we were going to be at a Brazilian restaurant, which basically serves various meats sliced off a huge skewer. This Meyer Lemon and Olive Oil Chiffon Cake with Lemon Poppyseed Curd from
Love and Olive Oil was the perfect combination of soft, not too sweet cake and a burst of lemon flavor. Topped off with Lemonheads candy, the cake looked as good as it tasted.
Just a few notes:
I couldn’t find Meyer lemons, so I used whatever large lemons my supermarket carried. Meyer lemons are actually sweeter than other lemons, because they are a cross between lemons and oranges, as I learned from Wikipedia . So if you want your cake a bit sweeter, try to find Meyer lemons.
I found that a large lemon yielded about 1 tablespoon of zest and about 3-4 tablespoons of juice.
- For the cake:
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 TBSP Meyer lemon juice
- 1 TBSP Meyer lemon zest
- 2 TBSP water
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- For the lemon curd:
- 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin (I used lemon flavored)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 TBSP Meyer lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest
- 4 TBSP butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp poppyseeds
- For the frosting:
- 4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 3/4 cup confectioner sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch pans with Wilton Cake Release (I used two 8-inch pans).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water.
- In an electric mixer, mix together the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until it is frothy. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar (leaving 1 1/4 cups aside) and mix until soft peaks form. This may take up to 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, remaining sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of these dry ingredients and add the egg yolk and olive oil mixture. Mix until it is smooth. It should be the consistency of a paste.
- Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites to lighten the batter. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until they are well incorporated. The batter should be nice and fluffy.
- Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If using only 2 pans, it may take longer–about 25 minutes.
- Place 1 TBSP lemon juice in a bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit 5 minutes until the gelatin dissolves.
- Whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, 1/3 cup lemon juice and lemon zest in a metal saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, whisking continuously until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it reach a boil. This should take 5-7 minutes. Then whisk in the gelatin mixture and cook for 1 more minute.
- Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- Beat the butter in an electric mixer until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar until well incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of the lemon curd and mix until the frosting is smooth. Add the heavy cream and beat until the frosting is a fluffy consistency.
- Add the poppyseeds to the remaining curd, which will be layered with the cakes.
- Torte each cake so you have either 4 or 6 layers, depending on whether you baked 2 or 3 cakes. Place one cake down on a cake board and spread 1/4 cup of curd on the top. Place the next cake on top and repeat. Since curd can be slippery, you can pipe a wall of frosting around the top edge of each cake (surrounding the curd) so that they layers stay in place. Once assembled, frost with the buttercream frosting and enjoy!