This berry trifle rests on the very BEST lemon cake recipe I’ve come across — and of course it’s from Ina Garten.

Whip up this lemon cake (I’m feeling lazy tonight, so I’m not retyping it here). Instead of loaf pans, use a sheet cake pan. When the cake is cool, cut it into one inch squares.  In a pretty glass dessert dish, layer the cake with fresh berries and whipped cream (make your own — it’s worth it) and VOILA!

Lemon Trifle

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This is the second cake I’ve tried from Julie Richardson’s Vintage Cakes, and it’s delicious!

Lemon Streamliner Cake

Ingredients:

Custard

zest of two lemons
3/4 cup 2% milk (the recipe calls for whole milk, but 2% is what I had)
1/2 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 large lemons)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Cake

1 1/4 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup (6 ounces) almond paste
10 tbs unsalted butter, at room temp
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbs canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, at room temp
2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temp

How I Made It:

Make the custard first.  If you’re smart, make it the night before you need the cake so it has plenty of time in the fridge to set.

Combine the milk, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it is just hot.  While it’s heating, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar, and salt together in a separate bowl. When that is all well combined, whisk in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice.  By now, the milk mixture should be hot.

Pour 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the bowl of yolks et al.  Pour that back into the saucepan and whisk together.  Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking steadily, until it thickens and begins to bubble.  (The recipe says to do this over medium-low heat, but that just didn’t cut it so after about 6 minutes I upped the heat a bit to medium.)

Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and whisk the butter cubes in until thoroughly melted and combined.  (The recipe says to strain the custard through a  fine sieve, but since all the zest had collected on my whisk, I skipped that part with no worries.) Cover the custard with plastic wrap right on the surface (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 inch springform pan.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In the Kitchen-Aid mixer, cream the butter and almond paste together with the canola oil and vanilla.  When it is light and fluffy, blend the eggs in one at a time.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the flour and buttermilk in alternating batches (flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour).  Stop the mixer before it’s all blended, and finish by hand with a rubber spatula.

This cake batter is THICK!  Spoon it into your springform pan and give it a good knock on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Place the cake pan on a  cookie sheet, in case of leaks, and bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes.  It’s done when it is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean but for a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool to room temperature.  Then, top the cake with the lemon custard.  There is way more custard than you need for the cake, so don’t try and put it all on top.  Spread it in a nice swirl on top not quite to the edges.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to reset before serving.

How It Turned Out:

The cake is dense, moist, and super almondy. The custard is a smack in the face of lemon.  A great combination — and I’m looking forward to trying the almond cake with a strawberry topping.

Recipe appears on page 36 of Vintage Cakes, Julia Richardson (Ten Speed Press).