Cake made with two whole lemons, with a lemon cheesecake filling.
I love adding lemon to my bakes, especially in the Summer months, but this is the most intensely lemony recipe I’ve ever tried – thanks to the fact that it uses two whole lemons, skin and all! It makes for a lovely moist sponge and heady, well-rounded flavour, balanced by the creamy mascarpone filling. It’s adapted from a Mary Berry recipe (from her latest series), but I left out the lemon fondant icing and crystallised lemon covering Mary’s creation, topping the cake with the rest of the mascarpone buttercream and fresh lemon zest instead for a slightly lighter finish. If you want to follow Mary, just mix 175g fondant icing with 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and drizzle over the top, and I showed you how to make candied zest in my lemon pavlova post here. To make the whole lemon cake, you will need:
Two small (or one large) thin-skinned lemons
275g softened butter
275g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
4 free-range eggs
1) First, place the two small (or one large) lemons in a small saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until very soft.
Drain, cut in half and remove any pips. They should be lovely and tender.
2) Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan)/ 350F/ Gas 4.
3) Place the lemons in a food processor (skin included) and purée until smooth-ish but with some chunky bits.
Put the mixture in a small bowl and set aside. It should look something like this:
4) To make the sponge, add all the remaining ingredients to a food processor or mixer and blend together until you get a smooth batter.
It looks like a lot in the bowl and as though it will never mix, but trust Mary! (If you don’t have a processor you could do this bit by hand, creaming butter and sugar first, then adding egg then the dry ingredients and beating lots of air in!).
5) Stir in just over half the lemon pulp, leaving the remainder for the icing.
6) Divide the mixture equally between two lined tins and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and just shrinking from the edge of the tins.
7) Once baked, leave to cool for five minutes then turn out from the tins, remove the parchment and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
8) Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake icing. You will need:
50g soft butter
175g icing sugar
250g full-fat Italian mascarpone
The remaining lemon pulp
Mix the butter and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.
It will be quite a stiff mixture but don’t panic, the soft cheese will loosen it considerably. Add the mascarpone and lemon pulp and mix until smooth.
9) Now all you have to do is assemble the cake! (You could even cut each half in half again if you want more layers).
10) Finish with a sprinkling of lemon zest and serve straight away. Remember to store it in the fridge because of the mascarpone – if it lasts that long!
Bursting with lemon flavour and perfect for a Summer tea party or picnic.
What are you baking this Sunday?