Gluten-Free Baking at Its Best
The moment I saw this cake, it drew me in – and for several reasons. First of all, it is just so enticing with its combination of cake and lemon curd, cream and fruit. And I could see it being equally at home as a birthday cake as a casual brunch offering. Then, to know that it is gluten-free and developed by my friend Kristine Kidd made it a must-have. Kristine has a truly fine palate and if this was coming out of her kitchen, then I wanted it coming out of my oven, too. This ethereal cake is from her new book, Gluten-Free Baking, as is the recipe for Seeded Irish Soda Bread. Don’t miss my interview with Kristine who has a fascinating story about her own evolution towards GF eating and baking. By the way, Kristine suggests that presenting the cake with naked sides, as shown in the image, is the casual approach, as opposed to frosting the entire cake. We think it is most elegant and even prefer it this way.
Excerpted and adapted with permission. Gluten-Free Baking by Kristine Kidd. Published by Weldon Owen. Photos by Annabelle Breakey.
TANGY LEMON CURD and whipped cream make a luxurious filling and topping for this delicate cake. Fresh berries or thin lemon slices are pretty garnishes.
- Butter for the pans
- 21/4 cups (7 oz/200 g) almond meal
- 3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2⁄3 cup (5 oz/155 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3⁄4 cup (6 oz/185 g) granulated sugar
- 3⁄4 cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 4 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) cold heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup (2 oz/60 g) confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter two 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment rounds and butter the parchment. In a bowl, combine the almond meal, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1⁄3 cup (21⁄2 oz/80 g) of the sugar, the lemon zest, and lemon juice until smooth.
- In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add remaining ⅓ cup (2 ½ oz/80 g) sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
- Add the almond mixture to the egg yolk mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. Fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Then, in 2 additions, gently fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated. Spoon The batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly.
- Bake the cakes until brown, springy to the touch, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks. Using a small, sharp knife, cut around the cakes’ edges to loosen. Let cool completely in the pans.
- Make the curd and frosting as directed.
- To make the lemon curd, set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just comes to a simmer. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolk. Slowly add the hot lemon mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour the lemon-egg mixture back into the same saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens (do not boil), about 2 minutes. Immediately pour the curd into the sieve, pushing the curd through with a rubber spatula. Let cool slightly in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 6 hours and preferably overnight. Just before you are ready to frost the cake, transfer 2⁄3 cup (6 oz/ 170 g) of the cold curd to a bowl and set aside to spread on each cake layer before frosting.
- To make the Whipped Lemon Frosting, using an electric mixer, beat the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until soft peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the remaining lemon curd to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream just until incorporated. Makes about 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml).
- To assemble the cake, put 1 cooked cake layer, rounded side up, on a platter. Using an offset or rubber spatula, evenly spread half of the reserved lemon curd on top of the cake. Spread about one-quarter of the frosting over the curd. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Evenly spread the top of the cake with the remaining curd, then spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Place a few toothpicks in the top of the cake, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to server, up to 1 day.
- For a casual look, leave the sides unfrosted. Spread all of the lemon curd on top of the first cake layer and add a few big spoonfuls of whipped frosting. Frost the top of the cake with billows of the whipped frosting.
Author Notes: After frosting and refrigerating, if the frosting slumps slightly on the sides of the cake, use a rubber spatula to spread it back up the sides of the cake.