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This lemon crunch cake is studded with bits of toffee, adding a caramelly flavor and a nice crunch to the cake. #lemoncake #layercake #toffee #pastrycream #whippedcream

Lemon Crunch Cake

This lemon crunch cake has cake and whipped cream, but the real stars are the tangy lemon curd and crunchy toffee bits.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Hawaiian
Keyword aiea bowl, cake, caramel, dessert, hawaiian, layer cake, lemon, lemon curd, nut-free, pastry cream, toffee, vegetarian, whipped cream
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 348 kcal

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Small Batch Pastry Cream

  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 T cornstarch
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Microwave Lemon Curd

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 eggs room temperature

Toffee Bits

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Lemon Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream cold
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Instructions

Lemon Cake

  1. In a large bowl or on a large piece of wax paper, sift the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the eggs, 1 at a time, just until combined.
  3. In a glass measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add half of the milk mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated, and then scrape down the side of the bowl. Mix in half of the sifted ingredients and then scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the remaining milk mixture and sifted ingredients in the same manner.
  4. Divide the batter between two greased and floured 6.5" round cake pans and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake at 350F until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean or the cake has slightly pulled away from the side of the pan, 20-30 minutes.
  5. Let the cakes cool in their pans on a wire rack. Unmold them by running a small knife around the edge of the pans, then invert them onto plates. Remove the pans and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

Small Batch Pastry Cream

  1. In a small pot, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg yolk till combined.
  2. Pour the milk mixture to the dry ingredients in the pot, whisking constantly. Add in the butter. Whisk constantly on a medium heat until the pastry cream thickens. After about a minute, add in the vanilla extract and continue to whisk.
  3. Once the pastry cream has thickened, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the top of the pastry cream and refrigerate if making ahead of time.

Microwave Lemon Curd

  1. Whisk the sugar and juice in a medium microwave safe bowl. Whisk in the eggs, making sure to get them completely incorporated.

  2. Microwave for 1 minute, then whisk. Microwave for another minute, then whisk. Repeat microwaving for 30 seconds and whisking until the curd has thickened. It will get lighter in color and be like a thin pudding. Cool completely.

Toffee Bits

  1. Have a parchment lined rimmed baking tray ready.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat; stir in the sugar. Stir occasionally until the toffee reaches 300F on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the toffee onto the parchment paper. It will harden as it cools. Once cooled, crack the pieces into smaller ones. Whizz the pieces in a food processor until you get fine crumbs.

Lemon Whipped Cream

  1. Whip the cream and zest until the mixture reaches stiff peaks.

Assembly

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or your serving plate. Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on top. Make a ring of whipped cream along on the outer edge of the cake. You can do this by piping the whipped cream, or making a rough ring with an offset spatula. It doesn't need to be pretty.
  2. Pour the cooled pastry cream inside of the ring and spread evenly. Top with the final layer of cake, bottom side up.
  3. Use an offset spatula to spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake and down the sides. Pour the rest of the lemon curd on top of the cake, and spread it just to the edges of the cake.
  4. Set the cake over a rimmed baking tray. This will help to catch extra toffee crumbs that fall. Use your hand to press the crumbs up the side of the cake.

Recipe Notes

Cake from Leite’s Culinaria, lemon curd from The View from Great Island, toffee from Brandini Toffee, pastry cream and whipped cream from Fork to Belly.

This cake does well in the fridge- the flavors meld, and the toffee stays crispy and crunchy.

This is a 2 layer 6.5" cake, but you can do make a 3 layer 8" cake. Double everything EXCEPT the lemon curd. If you want a 6.5" cake, you're going to have leftover lemon curd, or you can deal with measuring 1 1/2 eggs to get the amount you need (and start checking the curd earlier - there's going to be less in the measuring cup, so it may cook faster than a full batch).