Golden Cake Layers

2-1/4 cups plus

3 tablespoons sifted cake flour (measure after sifting)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 large whole egg, at room temperature

3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly butter two 8-inch round layer pans. Resift flour with baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl.

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a medium-size bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl with a rubber spatula twice.

Add yolks one at a time, blending for 5 seconds on medium-low after each addition. Scrape bowl each time; add the whole egg and mix until blended, 10 seconds.

Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture; stir lightly with the spatula to absorb liquid. Turn mixer on low and blend about 5 seconds; scrape bowl.

Add half the sour cream and blend in with several broad strokes of the spatula. Fold in another one-third of the dry ingredients by hand, followed by the remaining sour cream, and the remaining dry ingredients. With mixer on low, blend until batter is velvety, 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans and place them on the center rack of the oven. Bake until layers are golden and spring back to the touch, and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry, 35 minutes. (Check after 25 minutes. Do not overbake.)

Cool cakes in pans on a rack. Cut cakes lengthwise to make 4 layers. Spread lemon custard over three cake layers (not on top layer). Stack and frost with buttercream. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Lemon Custard Filling

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

2 large eggs

11 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl. Add eggs; whisk until blended.

Heat remaining water, with sugar and salt, in a saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Add cornstarch mixture to the hot liquid, whisking constantly. Add lemon juice and continue to cook, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes.

Pour custard into a small bowl. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes; stir gently several times.

Put a piece of plastic wrap that has been punctured several times directly over the surface of the custard; refrigerate for at least 6 hours. (As a shortcut, fine-quality lemon curd may be substituted.)

Rosie's Buttercream

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream, chilled

Lemon oil or extract, to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Buttercream will curdle, then smooth out during this process.) Stop processor several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the buttercream to a medium-size mixing bowl. Using the paddle or whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat until buttercream is white and fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stop mixer to scrape bowl several times.

Use buttercream for frosting within an hour or it will need rewhipping.

Makes 2 to 2-1/4 cups.

Cake may be garnished with fresh spring blossoms or edible flowers, such as violets and pansies.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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