This is an old traditional recipe which (almost) every housewife in Romania prepares, especially for winter holidays. Made from thin layers of crispy dough sandwiched with a creamy lemon flavored frosting, this dessert is refreshing and tasty and it’s perfect for a rich dinner like Christmas dinner or New Year’s Eve dinner – or any party dinner :).
Usually this dessert has three cake layers and two layers of frosting and is presented as a big rectangular cake cut in small bites – just like petit fours. This time I made a round, taller cake from six cake layers and 5 layers of frosting. It came out as a beautiful and delicious cake which everybody enjoyed 🙂
Happy New Year, 2016! ❤ ❤
Ingredients (for an 18 cm diameter cake)
► For the cake layers
- 3 eggs (medium sized)
- 75 ml milk
- 75 ml vegetable oil
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 30 ml fresh lemon juice
- 500 g cake flour (plus extra flour for dusting the table)
► For the frosting
- 400 ml whole milk
- 40 g cornstarch
- 120 g granulated sugar
- 150 g butter (at room temperature)
- fresh lemon zest (from one lemon)
- 50 ml lemon juice
► Preparing the cake layers
Preheat the oven at 175 Celsius. Sift the flour with the baking soda. Whisk eggs with sugar. Add oil, milk, lemon juice. Finally add dry mixture and homogenize. Transfer the dough onto the table and knead it, dusting the working surface, until the dough gets bounded, non-sticky and not very stiff.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a 5 mm thick layer (bigger than the cake mold dimensions), transfer them onto a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes (or until it gets slightly golden). Be careful not to bake them too much, or else you will no longer have a white cake 🙂
When baked, take the cake layers from the tray and cut discs (using a knife and a plate or the base from a spring form mold, placed over the baked layer).
Put the layers away and let cool completely before stacking. Repeat until you bake and cut all the six cake layers.
► Preparing the frosting
Whisk sugar and cornstarch into a saucepan. Add gradually the milk, whisking to homogenize. Set the pan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and gets thickened to a pudding-like consistency (this would take a few minutes). Remove the pan from the heat, add lemon zest into the mixture and homogenize. Cover the pudding surface with a plastic foil and let cool. When cooled, add the butter (one tablespoon at a time) and mix well with a hand mixer. Finally add the lemon juice and the frosting is ready 🙂
► Assembling the cake
Prepare an adjustable ring and line it inside with acetate strips. Place one cake layer on the base of the ring, spread over about 2 tablespoons of frosting and cover with the second cake layer. Continue until all the cake layers are assembled. Cover the last cake layer with plastic foil and then cover the entire assembly with a towel (or some thick cloth). Keep into a cool place (like the fridge) overnight, so the cake layers have enough time to soften. The next day, take the cake out from the adjustable ring, remove the acetate strips, place the cake onto a serving plate and dust it with powdered sugar. The cake must be stored in a cool place, covered (otherwise it will dry).
- Traditional recipe uses ammonium bicarbonate for preparing the cake layers, which I replaced with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and I added some lemon juice to activate it. You can also use the same amount of baking powder (without adding lemon juice)
- You can also substitute the cornstarch in the frosting with double amount of wheat flour. Directions for preparing are the same
- Patience is needed for this cake. It has to be cut after at least several hours, otherwise the slices would not look very good 🙂
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