When life gives you lemonade (and lemons), make a lemonade layer cake. This zesty creation is a towering ray of sunshine, including layers of mouth-watering lemonade syrup-soaked sponge with a spectacular lemon sherbet icing. This bright and bold lemonade cake recipe is perfect for a birthday party or celebration.
Begin by making the candied lemon. Place the sugar and water in a wide-based pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, cut the lemon into 4mm thick slices
When the sugar syrup has been boiling for 1 minute, add the lemon slices and gently simmer until the rind becomes translucent – this will take 10–15 minutes
Remove the lemons from the syrup and lay onto a tray lined with baking paper. Leave to air dry for at least a couple of hours until the slices are no longer sticky to the touch
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease three 20cm sandwich tins
To make the sponge, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Add the egg a little at a time until fully incorporated, then fold through the flour in 2 stages
Divide between the tins and bake for 20–25 minutes or when a metal skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean
While the cakes are baking, make the lemonade syrup. Place the lemonade, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce until you are left with 100ml of liquid
Turn the cakes onto a wire rack and while still warm, drizzle over the lemonade syrup. Leave to cool completely
To make the buttercream, whip the butter in a standing mixer or with an electric whisk until it starts to turn white
Mix the icing sugar with the lemon sherbet and add gradually to the butter – don’t be tempted to add too much at once or you will be left with a white kitchen!
Once all of the icing sugar is mixed in, let the buttercream down with enough lemon juice to give it a pipe-able consistency and transfer to a piping bag
If the cakes are slightly dome-shaped on the top, trim them slightly to make them level
Line an icing turntable with baking paper so that you can move the cake later on. Place 1 layer of cake on the turntable and pipe over a layer of icing about 1cm thick. Repeat with the next sponge and top with the third
Pipe a thin layer of icing around the sides and on top of the cake and smooth it off. This process ensures you don’t end up with any crumbs when you do the final icing
Next, pipe the icing around the cake, piping with one hand and gently moving the turntable with the other until you get to the top
Holding a palette knife or pastry side-scraper against the side of the cake, slowly drag it around to smooth the icing off and remove any excess. You may need to do this 2 or 3 times to get a smooth finish
Do the same thing on the top of the cake and smooth off the edges
Drag a teaspoon from the bottom to the top of the cake to create a ridged effect all the way around
Top with the candied lemon slices and decorate with edible flowers
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