- For the cake:
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- For the lemon curd:
- 1 large juicy lemon, grated zest and juice only
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- For the icing:
- Grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted confectioner's sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter the inside of two 8-inch cake pans.
- Measure all the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat — ideally with an electric hand whisk — until you have a smooth, creamy consistency. Then divide the mixture evenly between two 8-inch cake pans and bake them on the center shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes or until the centers feel springy when lightly touched with a little finger.
- While the cakes are cooking, make the lemon curd. Place the sugar and grated lemon zest in a bowl, whisk the lemon juice together with the eggs, then pour this over the sugar. Then add the butter cut into little pieces, and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently till thickened — about 20 minutes. You don't have to stay with it — just come back from time to time to give it a stir.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and after about 30 seconds turn them out onto a wire rack. When they are absolutely cold — and not before — carefully cut each one horizontally into two using a sharp serrated knife. Now spread the curd thickly to sandwich the sponges together.
- For the icing, begin by removing the zest from the lemon — it's best to use a zester to get long, curly strips. Then sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in the lemon juice until you have a soft, runny consistency.
- Allow the icing to stand for 5 minutes before spreading it on top of the cake with a knife, almost to the edges, and don't worry if it runs a little down the sides of the cake. Then scatter the lemon zest over the top and leave it for half an hour for the icing to firm up before serving.
- Desserts, Cake