When life gives you lemons, make THIS cake and give it your fresh take, layer after layer. Click to skip to the recipe
Back in the day, when you wanted to get your hands on Meyer lemons, you had to know a guy who knew a guy.
Luckily, today, Meyer lemons show up in the produce department in your local grocery store with regularity.
A Meyer lemon is sweeter than it’s sourpuss counterpart and not quite as sweet as its orange blossomy friend. It’s perfect to use in layer cakes, both in the batter and the buttercream frosting.
I accent this yummy cake with a scoop of orange sherbet because, well cake just has to have ice cream on the side. And, I add some strawberries not only for color, but I sprinkle each one with a bit of cracked pepper for just a little hint of heat to tame down all that sweet.
This cake screams for your invention. Use any citrus, lemon, orange, or lime and layer it up by using three small pans to bake the cake making it three layers tall. It all works!
Remember when life gives you lemons….Reach for the Meyer’s Rum. Is that how that saying goes??
Meyer Lemon Layer Cake
With Orange Sherbet and Peppered Strawberries
Serves: A Crowd
Time: 20 minutes plus baking and frosting and altogether about 1 ½ hours
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1.2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, room temperature
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Zest from 3 Meyer lemons, about 2 tablespoons
Juice from 2 Meyer lemons, about ⅓ cup
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
Juice from 1 Meyer lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Strawberries, halved, cut side dipped in coarse black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the eggplants with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place into a colander for 30 minutes to exude excess moisture. Stir together ½ cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Brush both sides of the eggplant with the seasoned olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and roast until the slices are tender and golden, about 30 minutes. The slices can overlap. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°.
Heat 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Cook the onion and carrots until soft and golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the lamb to the pan. Cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and cinnamon stick. Simmer the ragù for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick.
Heat the butter in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook until golden and bubbling, about 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the milk. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. Season with ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Assemble the casserole by placing a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Top with half of lamb ragù. Add another layer of eggplant and another layer of lamb. Finish with a layer of eggplant. Top the casserole with béchamel sauce. Bake until the casserole is bubbly, and the top is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Allow the casserole to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh mint.