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1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons

12 large egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

12 ounces assorted fresh berries
confectioner's sugar

Heat oven to 350 deg. Arrange two racks in the center of oven.
Line the bottoms of two 8 x 2 inch buttered cake pans with parchment
paper. Dust the bottoms and sides of pan with flour, and tap out
any excess.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set
aside. Cream butter on medium until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Gradually add sugar, and beat on medium until lightened, 3 to 4
minutes, scraping down sides once or twice. Gradually add eggs,
beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, stopping
once or twice to scrape down sides, about 5 minutes. Slowly add
the sifted flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, a little
of each at a time, at low speed, beginning and ending with the
flour mixture. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes,
and rotate the pans in the oven if needed for even browning.
Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of
each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pans
to wire racks to cool. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove cakes from
pans. Leave the cakes on a wire rack, tops up, to cool completely,
about 1 hour. (Makes two 8-inch round layers)

To assemble, remove the parchment paper from the bottom of each
cake. Slice each layer in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
Reserve the prettiest dome top to use for the top of the cake.
Place the other top, dome-side down, on the serving platter to make
the first layer. Spread with one cup of the lemon curd to within
a half inch from the edge. Place the second layer over the first,
and spread with curd, covering with third layer, and spreading with
another cup of lemon curd.

One hour before serving, transfer the platter with cake to refrigerator
to firm up lemon curd (if the kitchen is warm and the curd gets
runny, refrigerate the layers as they are completed). Just before
serving, place the reserved domed layer on top of cake. Spoon on
the sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle with mixed berries and a
dusting of confectioners' sugar through a fine sieve.

Pass the egg yolks through a strainer to remove any traces of white.
Combine the yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy
saucepan. Whisk the mixture to combine, then switch to a wooden
spoon. Stir constantly over medium heat, making sure to stir all
the sides and edges of the saucepan for even cooking. Cook until
the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 20 to 25
minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece
at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate into a smooth
mixture. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and
place in the refrigerator until firm and chilled, at least one
hour. (Makes 3 1/3 cups)

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium
speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and
confectioners' sugar, and continue to whip on medium speed until
the cream returns to soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. (Makes 1 1/3
cups) Yield: 1 eight-inch cake.


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