The essential requirement for turning lemon, sugar, butter and eggs into Lemon Curd is a willingness to stir the pot. These simple ingredients will pretty much take care of the rest themselves and gradually transform into a a curd that is superior in every respect except convenience to the store-bought variety. Devoting part of the fruits of this small but worthwhile labour to the making of a Lemon Curd Almond Butter Cake will not be amiss.
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Timing Note: The Lemon Curd should be made several hours or a day in advance of making the cake so that it has time to chill.
- a recipe of Lemon Curd: The recipe is given below. Make the curd several hours or a day in advance so that it has time to cool before using some of it to make the cake. The recipe is below, following the one for the cake.
- 8 Tablespoons of Butter, softened, plus some Butter to grease the cake pan
- 1 cup of Flour, plus some more to sprinkle on the sides of the greased cake pan
- 1 cup of granulated White Sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon to sprinkle on top of the cake before baking
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
- 2 large Eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of Ground Almonds, toasted
- 2 Tablespoons of whole, unskinned Almonds, toasted and run through the slicing attachment of a food processor: the almonds will be of all different sizes and textures; alternatively use toasted thin-sliced Almonds
- Optional Serving Suggestion: lightly whipped and sweetened Heavy Cream for serving alongside the cake
- A second Optional Serving Suggestion: some of the Lemon Curd that isn’t used in the cake for serving alongside it
- a 9-inch Springform Pan, lined with Parchment Paper
- a Mixer, standing or hand
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- a Sifter
- a Food Processor fitted with the Slicing Attachment
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease the springform pan with butter, flour the sides and fit a round of parchment paper over the bottom of it.
2. Cream 8 Tablespoons of butter with 1 cup of sugar until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix them into the butter and sugar.
3. In a second mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they begin to foam. Add the eggs and toasted ground almonds to the flour and butter and mix well.
4. Pour the batter into the pan. Drop 8 Tablespoons of curd evenly around the outside of the cake, leaving a 1-inch border from the edge…
6. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out of the cake (not the curd) clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan and cool the cake completely on a rack:
Lemon Curd Redux (for about 1 and 1/2 cups): This recipe appeared in an earlier diplomatickitchen post and is repeated here for convenient reference. Photo illustrations of the recipe steps are here in the previous post.
- 8 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
- 3 Tablespoons of grated Lemon Zest (or the grated zest of 2 large Lemons)
- 3 ounces of Butter, cut in pieces
- 7 ounces of granulated Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- a Double Boiler or a homemade one using a pot and a heatproof bowl that will fit comfortably in the rim of the pot without moving around or touching its bottom. Add water to the pot so that it almost reaches the bottom of the bowl. Click here to see a photo of a homemade double boiler in another diplomatickitchen post.
- a Whisk
- one or two Jars with Lids for storing the curd in the refrigerator
1. Crack the eggs into a bowl , beat them well, and set them aside.
2. Put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter in the top of the double boiler.
3. Bring the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer and heat the lemon mixture over the water, whisking it now and again, until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts.
4. Pour in the eggs, now whisking all the while, and cook the mixture, still whisking it continuously, over the simmering water without letting it boil.
5. Continue stirring. Presently, steam will begin rising from the curd, and little bubbles will form on the surface. At first the curd will leave only a film on a spoon. It will taste thin. Gradually, you will see a change in its consistency as you continue to stir and cook it. The curd thickens and forms an opaque coating on the spoon and its yellow color deepens.
6. Remove the curd from the heat and put it in one or a couple of jars. Wait until it cools to cap and refrigerate the curd. If you erred on the side of caution and cooked the curd a little less than the optimum, it will thicken more anyway after being refrigerated. Wait until the curd is chilled before using it to make the cake.
Two Acknowledgements: The dk’s recipe for lemon curd is adapted from Jane Grigson’s recipe in her cookbook English Food (1992 revised edition). Mrs. Grigson’s cookbook is appealing both for its good recipes and readability. Lemon Curd Almond Butter Cake is adapted from a recipe in In the Hands of a Chef (2002), by Jody Adams, the chef and owner of the restaurant “Rialto” in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012