Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ten-Layer Lemon Cheese Cake


Many Southerners remember this cake from childhood, but it’s rarely found on tables today. There is no cheese in the recipe and it’s not even distantly related to a cheesecake. This heirloom is simply white cake iced with lemon curd. Published lemon cheese recipes are scarce in all formats. Even an online search turns up more New York style cheesecakes than it does this Southern classic. It’s properly pronounced with no space or breath between lemon and cheese.
I’d love to hear about any of your family connections to a Lemon Cheese Cake or memories of this famous cake. I can talk good cakes all day! If you had it as part of a special occasion in the past, you’ll remember it.


Ten-Layer Lemon Cheese Cake

Vegetable cooking spray
4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
Lemon Curd

Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. If you have more cake pans of the same size, prepare them as well. More pans makes little layers easier.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a second medium bowl.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, and beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 minute. Pour 3/4 cup batter in each prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until centers of cakes spring back when pressed lightly with your finger. Remove from pans to wire racks while cake layer is still very warm; cool completely. Respray pans, pour another 3/4 cup batter in each, repeat baking until all layers are complete.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a thin layer of lemon curd to edges (about 3 tablespoons per layer). Repeat procedure with remaining cake layers and curd. Spread remaining curd on top and sides of cake. The lemon curd is translucent so you will see the layers of the cake.


Lemon Curd

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
12 large egg yolks, beaten

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in sugar and next 2 ingredients. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the warm butter mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, whisk egg yolks into the butter mixture in the saucepan. Place over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until 170˚ is reached, about 10 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl placed over an ice water bath. Whisk to cool curd to room temperature. This prevents the yolks from curdling while cooling. Whisk well if curd develops a layer on top while sitting.




Copyright 2015 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. All rights reserved.
www.rebeccalangcooks.com











13 comments:

The Southern Sideboard said...

This looks amazing! My neighbor's Grand used to make one. So glad to have this recipe and can't wait to try it out. Happy Easter.

n3centz said...

Mama's mother used to make these! Somehow, the recipe got lost over the years. Mama wanted me to make one for her birthday a few years ago and I hunted and hunted for the recipe, both in our treasure trove of hand-written recipes and online. The one I found was passable, but not the same as Grandmama's, so I am thrilled that you've shared yours!!

Rebecca Lang said...

I hope it stands up to your Grandmama's when you try it! Please let me know. Sometime's when your grandmother cooks something, that alone makes it better. Happy Easter to your family!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

My Mom and Grandmother have made this cake at Christmas for over 40 yrs. I always thought the pronunciation was "Lemon Chess" and they were saying it wrong. Looks like they were actually right! I have never seen this cake anywhere else! My husband loves it too.

Unknown said...

My Mom and Grandmother have made this cake at Christmas for over 40 yrs. I always thought the pronunciation was "Lemon Chess" and they were saying it wrong. Looks like they were actually right! I have never seen this cake anywhere else! My husband loves it too.

Rebecca Lang said...

It is confusing with lemon chess pies being so common in the South. I hope your New Year is off to a great start!

Leslie Lim said...

Lemons are also a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, and magnesium, and are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, and copper, as well as folate and potassium.


Bess
www.imarksweb.org

christimac said...

This is awesome! I have been google searching the history of this cake for the word "chess" in American southern history and yours is the ONLY site that accurately portrays what I grew up eating. My grandmother and great grandmother used to make this cake all the time-southern Georgia, even back to non-electric kitchens. Your pics look just like their cakes! Mema told me that her mom said it was called "cheesecake" because the cake, before it is cut, looked just like a big wheel of cheese: Thank you for posting the recipe for this delectable cake-I'll be trying this recipe to compare;)

christimac said...

Also, I have fond memories of all those cake layers laid out all over my grandmother's tiny kitchen on brown grocery bags (she didn't own wire racks) while she was working on the lemon "filling". Thanks again!

Shirley A Harvey said...

Have been looking for this for years. My Great Aunt and mother use to make this cake.
Was the best cake ever. Thank you so much.

Shirley , Tallahassee, FL

Margot said...

Wow, 10 layers! This cake sounds and looks amazing :)

sandi said...

Thank you thank you my favorite cake.... always my birthday cake..... l8wes it with vanilla ice cream . Glad to find the recipe. Rich dept. Store sold theses as southern favorite .