This is a simple vanilla cake filled with lemon curd and dressed up with whipped cream frosting and lemon lime zest. I do this when I have special days or events on my calendar, and on every occasion, this vanilla cake never fails to get raves and lots of compliments, even from those who don’t ordinarily eat cake. I can’t say enough about it except that that this is one of those cakes that is a real labour of love, given the work you will have to do to put this together.
While I am an artistic person by nature, decorating a cake is always a challenging task for me. What the mind visualises is not usually how the cake turns out, so I’ve come to learn not to over-think the process and just have fun. Probably what I should have done right at the beginning, but it’s that perfectionist in me that tends to take things a little too seriously. Seriously. But, the great thing about vanilla cake is that it is so versatile as a base for almost any kind of filling and frosting, so just let your ideas flow and go with your favourite fillings and toppings.
Here, I decided on the candied lemon lime zest as a simple yet elegantly beautiful way to decorate the top of your cake, centering round a piped rosette of whipped cream frosting, while toasted nibbed almonds are used to dress the sides. Many, many thanks to the contributor of the original recipe with instructions posted on www.chow.com.
The game plan is to break up the task over two, or even three days. The lemon-lime curd and candied zest can be made up to three days in advance. Candied zest will keep up to a week if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. As with most things, this cake certainly gets easier to make with repetitive effort, but you will most definitely fall in love with its soft, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth moist chiffon cake texture with an incredibly great zesty, citrus flavour!
This is essentially a 4-layer vanilla chiffon cake, filled with top and bottom layers of whipped vanilla cream frosting and a middle layer of lemon-lime curd. You would certainly have more than enough lemon curd to fill all the layers, but I opted to to do cream-filled layers to offset the sweetness of the lemon-lime curd.
I used a tried and tested vanilla chiffon cake recipe for the cake base and modified the filling and frosting proportions for a 7-inch layered cake.