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Lemon Mascarpone Italian Meringue Cake

Lemon Mascarpone Italian Meringue Cake

When you need a cake with wow factor, this is it. Light airy sponge, layered with lemon spiked creamy mascarpone frosting and lemon curd, covered in a thick marshmallow-like mass of Italian meringue. It is as heavenly to eat as it is spectacular to look at.

Lemon Mascarpone Italian Meringue Cake

Serves 12

Cakes

• 6 eggs, room temperature

• 220 g (7 ½ oz) caster sugar

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 75 g (2 ½ oz) plain flour

• 75 g(2 ½ oz) custard powder

• 75 g (7 ½ oz) cornflour

• 2 ½ tsp baking powder

Lemon Mascarpone Filling

• 250 g (8 ½ oz) mascarpone

• rind of 1 lemon, finely grated

• juice of ½ a lemon

• 250 g (8 ½ oz) icing sugar

Lemon Curd

(use 125 ml (4 ½ fl oz) store bought, or)

• 2 eggs

• 2 egg yolks

• 165 g (5 ½ oz) caster sugar

• 75 g (2 ½ oz) butter, room temperature, diced

• rind and juice of 2 large lemons, finely grated

Italian Meringue

• 4 egg whites, room temperature

• 330 g (11 ½ oz) caster sugar

• 125 ml (4 ½ fl oz) water

Method

Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line the bottom of three 20 cm (7 ¾ in) round cake tins. Grease the inside walls of the tins and add a few spoonfuls of flour and tap and shake the tin so that the flour makes a coating on the inside. This flour on the inside gives the batter something to cling to and encourages it to rise.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment until stiff and pale (around 8 minutes).

Sift the flour, custard powder, cornflour and baking powder into a large bowl, then sift the  mixture again, this time directly into the whipped egg mixture. Fold through gently.

Evenly distribute the batter into the three cake tins and give them a few gentle taps on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and immediately turn over onto a clean tea-towel with the tins still attached. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then remove the tins and peel off the baking paper. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, these cakes can be wrapped in cling film and frozen for up to 3 months. Once cakes are cool, trim the tops to remove the golden crust. Trim the base of one cake only (so it’s yellow on each end, but the other two still have their golden bases). Just slide a serrated knife across to take a straight, thin layer off. I do this so that you don’t see any brown lines through the layers once the cake is cut open, but it isn’t entirely necessary.

Place one cake down onto a serving plate, cut side up. Spread with half the lemon mascarpone cream, then spoon over around 4 – 5 tablespoons of lemon curd. Now place the cake that you removed top and bottom layer off on top, Repeat with the remaining lemon mascarpone and lemon curd. Now place the last cake on top, with the cut side down. Give it all a gentle pat and straighten it up so all the layers line up.

Use a spatula or palette knife to dollop generous amounts of Italian meringue all over the sides and top of the cake, creating a free-form effect with peaks. Use a kitchen blow-torch to lightly toast the meringue. Serve.

Lemon Mascarpone Filling:

Place the mascarpone, rind and lemon juice into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half the icing sugar and beat in until incorporated. Then add the remaining icing sugar and beat until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Lemon Curd:

Place the whole eggs, yolks and sugar into a saucepan and whisk to combine. Turn heat onto low and add the butter, rind and lemon juice. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and thick. Strain through a fine sieve and pour into a jar. Refrigerate to cool. Store for up to 2 weeks.

Italian Meringue:

Place the egg whites into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan and turn the heat on to low. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring, increase the heat and bring to the boil.

Turn on the mixer and beat the egg whites until foamy and almost at soft peak stage.

Make sure you keep an eye on the sugar syrup and as soon as it reaches 116°C (240°F) on a candy thermometer, remove from the heat and immediately pour the hot syrup in a slow steady stream into the foamy egg whites, while mixer is on medium speed. Keep beating until the bowl feels cool to touch, around 8–10 minutes. The mixture should be thick, smooth and glossy. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

This recipe comes from The Sweet Life: Home-Baking and Sweet Treats Italian Style by Liliana Battle

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