3 ounces (6 tablespoons) sweet butter, chilled and cut into 6 pieces
Italian Meringue Frosting
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup (about 3) large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cake: Place egg whites and cold water in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Set aside
until they are 60 degrees F, or slightly below room temperature.
Pour flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and salt into a triple sifter or sieve.
Sift onto a sheet of wax paper, set aside.
Adjust rack in lower third of oven, and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set
nearby a dry, ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Place a long neck bottle or large
metal funnel nearby for inverting the baked cake.
Whip egg whites, preferably with a whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream
of tartar and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Continue whipping
and gradually add the 1 cup granulated sugar until whites have thickened and
form soft droopy white peaks. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest in the
final moments of whipping. Sprinkle one quarter of the flour mixture over the
whites and with a rubber spatula, fold in the whites.
Repeat this process with the remaining flour mixture, folding in only one
quarter of the flour mixture at a time. Gently pour the batter into an ungreased
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the cake feels
spongy and springs back when touched, and a wooden toothpick inserted in the
middle comes out free of cake.
Invert cake onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Cool completely before
removing from pan.
To remove cake from pan, slip just the tip of a small metal spatula between
the cake and the pan. Slowly trace the perimeter to release any cake sticking
to the pan. Tilt the cake pan on its side, gently tap the bottom against the
counter to loosen the cake. Rotate the cake pan tapping as you turn it a few
more times, until it appears free. Cover the cake with a rack or a cardboard
round, and at the same time that you invert the cake onto the work surface,
tap it firmly onto the surface. Life the pan from the cake.
Lemon Curd Filling: In a 1 1/2-quart heavy bottom saucepan, whisk briefly
to combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the pieces
of butter, and place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly over
the entire bottom. Cook the mixture without boiling until it begins to develop
body and thicken. Remove from heat and pour through a stainless steel sieve
into a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, poke a few small slits in
the plastic with the tip of a paring blade, allowing steam to escape while cooling.
Refrigerate (curd will thicken).
Italian Meringue Frosting: In a 3 cup saucepan, combine the water and 2/3
cup sugar. Place over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat
to medium high and boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 235
degrees F. Wash down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan with
a brush dipped in cold water.
Near the end of the boiling time, whip the egg whites with the cream of
tartar until soft peaks form. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue to whip
until the whites are still but not dry. With the mixer running, pour the syrup
onto the whipped whites. Continue to whip on medium speed, about 3 minutes or
more. Mixture will thicken, cool and form glossy stiff peaks. Add the vanilla
Cool to room temperature, about 8 to 10 minutes, then frost cake right away.
Assembling the Dessert: Cut cake into three layers. Spread the lemon filling
equally between the two layers, top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides
of cake with Italian Meringue Frosting.