This elegant two-tier lemon celebration cake is not only beautiful, but has a fresh citrus flavour making it wonderfully light. Sandwiched with sweet lemon curd and topped with creamy butter icing, this cake is perfect for any celebration.
Heat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and base line three 18cm (7in) sandwich tins.
To make the cakes, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and caster sugar with an electric beater for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is very pale and thick.
Stir the yogurt and lemon zest into the egg mix, then fold in the flour, ground almonds and baking powder until evenly mixed. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and prick all over with a cocktail stick.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Using a vegetable peeler, zest the remaining lemon and cut into strips. Set aside. Squeeze all three lemons and pour the juice into a small pan. Stir in 100g (3 1/2oz) granulated sugar. Bring the liquid to the boil, then pour the syrup over the cakes as soon as they are out of the oven. Leave to cool, then turn the cakes out of the tins and allow to cool completely.
Put the strips of lemon zest in a pan with 4 tbsp water and 4 tbsp granulated sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3 mins. Sieve into a bowl. Gently pat dry the lemon strips with kitchen paper then roll them in the remaining sugar. Leave to dry, either in the cooling oven or on a radiator, for an hour or so.
Sandwich the cakes together with the lemon curd. To make the butter cream, beat the butter and icing sugar together with 1-2 tsp hot water, until smooth. Spread the icing thinly all over the top and sides of the cake to seal in the crumbs. Chill for 10 minutes, then apply a second layer of icing. Top with the lemon zest and bunting, if using.
Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe but stop before adding decoration or icing if called for. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.
If you wish to add icing or decoration, add them after the baked goods have fully defrosted and are at room temperature.
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As part of a healthy balanced diet, we recommend this recipe for a special occasion or treat.