Sweet Corn & Lemon Summer Cake
Sweet, tangy, and unmistakably summer. If you didn’t know corn lends a deliciously earthy sweetness to desserts, then you are in for a surprise. Sweet, tart lemon curd layered between rich, yellow cornmeal cake and topped with a rich buttercream, this cake is delicious, bright, and flavorful.
I often find myself lost in a daydream, my eyes staring right through the slow waving, sky-scraping blades of browning grass. Thinning green stems no longer hold colorful buds and wide open flowers. I just watch as summer slowly fades away.
And then the wind picks up. A few loose green leaves find themselves caught in the turbulence. I look up. Green everywhere. Thank god. Summer’s not gone yet.
I always miss summer. I mostly miss the recipes, the bright, flavorful ingredients, and the colorful dishes. And I miss corn.
So here is my ode to Summer. Ok, so lemons aren’t so summery, but their flavor shouts summer to me and they pair beautifully with the earthy, sweet yellow corn. Done. Now give me my slice.
Chiffon Cake may not be the simplest but it is far from difficult. The result of leavening from both whipped egg whites and baking powder, plus a balance between the wet and dry ingredients creates a deliciously crumbly texture that happens to sit just in between light and airy and dense. It’s my go-to cake layer base and it works wonderfully here.
Lemon Curd is one of those recipes that I can eat by the spoonful. It’s also a throw-everything in the pot recipe that is super simple. Just stir a lot and voila!
- 2 cups lemon curd, recipe below
- 1 quart swiss buttercream frosting, recipe below
- 2 ears corn, shucked
- ⅔ cup melted butter
- 8 egg yolks
- ¾ cup corn puree
- 2 tablespoons cream
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces cake flour
- 2 ounces cornmeal
- 14 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 egg whites
- Prepare the lemon curd and swiss buttercream frosting according to the instructions. Set aside in the fridge.
- Preheat an oven to 400°F. Cook the corn in the husks, or wrap in foil, and cook 35 to 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool, remove the corn kernels from the cob. Process the corn in a food process until completely pureed. Reserve ¾ cup and set aside.
- Reduce the oven to 375°F. Butter the tops and sides of two 8x3" cake pans. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.
- Whip the butter and egg yolks together until light and fluffy. On medium-low, slowly add in the ¾ cup pureed corn, cream, water, and vanilla extract, and mix until incorporated. Set aside.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, 6 ounces of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the egg mixture and whip at high speed until completely blended, about 1 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to a foam. While whipping, slowly add the sugar until it is completely added. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the meringue into the reserved batter, careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly pressed.
- Remove the pans from the oven and invert on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, slice each layer into two even layers, creating four total. If there is a dome top, slice that off and discard.
- Stack one layer of cake on a cake plate. Spread a third of the chilled lemon curd over the layer. Add another layer and repeat until you use all of the layers. Leave the top layer bare.
- Spread the icing on the top and sides of the cake. Serve.
- 4 lemons, zested
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 12 oz. sugar
- ½ oz. cornstarch
- 4 eggs
- 6 oz. unsalted butte
- Zest and juice the lemons. Set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is even.
- Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Heat the mixture over low and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Cook over boiling for a few seconds until it thickens.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Once at room temperature, move to the refrigerator to chill completely.
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
- Beat all of the ingredients together until a frosting forms.
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