There's nothing quite like this luscious lemony cake to chase away the doldrums of late winter. Serve with your favorite Earl Grey blend, Leopard Blend, or Wellington Afternoon Tea. And don't worry about being a master cake decorator — simply spread the icing neatly between the layers and on top of the cake. Easy!
FOR THE CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice AND zest of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
BRUSH ON LAYERS:
2 tablespoons Limoncello
FOR THE ICING:
4 ounces mascarpone, softened (or substitute cream cheese)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lemon curd, homemade or purchased
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Spritz the paper with spray.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.
Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the lemon juice.
While mixing on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix just until combined.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans. Using a spatula, spread batter evenly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
In large mixing bowl, whip heavy cream until it is thick. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, and lemon curd until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add whipped cream and whip again briefly until the cheese mixture is thoroughly incorporated in whipped cream. Icing will be soft.
Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Brush top with 1 tablespoon of Limoncello. Spread about half of the icing over the top of the cake. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted layer. Brush with the remaining Limoncello. Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake.
Chill the cake for at least an hour before serving to allow the frosting to set. Refrigerate any leftovers.
YIELD: 12 servings