It’s dark and wintry outside, but hopefully this citrus surprise cake will brighten up your day. Last year, I was given the gift of a lemon tree (from the amazing Almu), which inspired this cake. I named my lemon tree Ginny. (I like lemony gin and tonics). I was skeptical that Ginny would produce lemons in our unpredictable Pacific Northwest climate. However, she managed to produce 10 perfect golden lemons, which just turned yellow in the last couple of weeks. It was such a nice surprise to see these bright yellow orbs ripen in my little kitchen, despite the wintry weather outside. These lemons are Meyer lemons and slightly sweeter and more fragrant than the traditional ones you get in stores. To honor my lemon tree Ginny, I decided to create a special citrus surprise cake. What’s the surprise you may ask? Well the surprise is that the sponge cake conceals a decadent filling of lime curd, meringue and freshly whipped cream. It’s a sort of mini lime meringue pie inside! I used a Victoria Sponge Surprise tin, which allowed me to conceal the larger than normal filling. It’s an ingenious tin! This cake is so citrusy and delicious. It does take some time to make, but it’s worth it for that burst of color and flavor.
Victoria sponge cakes
- 225g of butter
- 225g of sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 50ml of lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 225g of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 175g of sugar
- 110g of sugar
- 25g of butter
- 70mls of lime juice
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Zest of one lime
Lemon buttercream frosting
- 70g of butter, softened
- 140g of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2/3 drops of yellow food coloring
- Some thinly sliced lemon and lime slices
- 100 mls of whipped cream
- Pre-heat the oven 180c / 350 F.
- Grease the tins with a little butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until it becomes light and creamy.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs.
- Next add in the lemon juice and lemon zest and beat to combine.
- Gradually beat in the sifted flour and baking powder until well combined.
- Divide the batter among the two tins, and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. To test if it’s ready, place a clean knife through the center, the knife should come out clean when it is fully cooked.
- Allow the cakes cool in the tin, and once fully cooled, remove from the tin and place on a wire rack.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150c / 300 F.
- To make the meringue center, begin by lining two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Using an electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until they are light and fluffy.
- Next, add the cornflour and the vinegar.
- Whisk again and then gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time.
- Once the sugar is incorporated and your eggs whites form glossy stiff peaks you are ready to go.
- Using half the meringue mixture, pipe out a 6 inch circle of meringue onto one of the lined baking sheets. (if you don’t have a piping bag, you can make a rough circle with a spatula).
- Using the rest of the meringue mixture, pipe small meringues on to the second lined baking sheet.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven. The small meringues will take 10-15 minutes and the larger meringue will take 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven once cooked.
- To make the curd, put the butter, sugar, eggs and lime juice in a saucepan over a low to moderate heat.
- Stir frequently with a whisk or wooden spoon.
- Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon- it should take about 12-15 minutes.
- Take off the heat, and pour the curd through a sieve into a bowl.
- Stir in the lime zest and leave the curd to cool.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth, then add half of the icing sugar and beat well.
- Next, add the lemon juice, food coloring, and lemon zest and continue to beat until well combined.
- Finally add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.
- To assemble the cake, place the bottom half of the cake on a serving platter.
- Spoon about one third of the lime curd into the cavity of the cake.
- Gently place the meringue circle on top of the curd.
- Spoon the whipped cream on top of the pavlova.
- Using a palate knife, spread the butter icing onto the top half of the cake.
- Carefully, sandwich the cake together by putting the iced cake on top.
- Garnish with slices of lemon, lime and the mini meringues.