My friend Jay turned 50 last week and insisted on a surprise birthday
I chose this vintage Lemon Queen's Cake recipe for its age (50+) and name, of course, but also because it had a coconut frosting and the recipe card had a "very good" notation on it. This cake is "very good," but also complicated -- it has a cake component, a lemon curd filling and a frosting.
The first order of business is to make the lemon filling because it needs time to chill. For some reason, it never thickened properly. (If you make this cake, I'd recommend using a more modern recipe for lemon curd from Martha Stewart, David Lebovitz or Rose Levy Berenbaum.)
The cake itself is a true white cake, i.e., it contains no egg yolks. (The four yolks are used in the lemon curd, typical of the 1940s waste-not want-not culture.) The method calls for mixing the batter, beating the egg whites separately and folding them in carefully.
You'll have to smooth out the batter with the back of a spoon or offset spatula before baking.
Let the layers cool completely before filling and frosting.
Using a serrated knife held horizontally, you can slice the "dome" off of each layer, making it easier to fill and stack them.
This cake does not travel well, especially in the back of a stretch limousine filled with champagne swilling passengers. At the party, the photographer (yes, there was photographer who documented the entire day), called me aside to alert me to the condition of the cake below. No worries -- I just took a couple of forks and re-positioned the layers. It helps to have several glasses of wine before attempting this maneuver.
I thought it looked ok until Diane, another guest, said, I see you made a three-layer cake. Well, friends, the number of layers should not be obvious -- the frosting should be smooth enough so as not to reveal the cake's structure.
In any case, the party caterers did an excellent job slicing this eight-inch cake to serve a lot of guests.
Below are some of the celebrants with the birthday boy.
Production notes: Grease and flour the pans (don't just grease them). Choose another proven and tested lemon curd recipe.And always use butter, not shortening, for the butter cream. The frosting has a raw egg, so use a fresh farm one, not one from the supermarket.