Many Southerners remember this cake from childhood, but it’s rarely found on tables today. There is no cheese in the recipe and it’s not even distantly related to a cheesecake. This heirloom is simply white cake iced with lemon curd. Published lemon cheese recipes are scarce in all formats. Even an online search turns up more New York style cheesecakes than it does this Southern classic. It’s properly pronounced with no space or breath between lemon and cheese.
I’d love to hear about any of your family connections to a Lemon Cheese Cake or memories of this famous cake. I can talk good cakes all day! If you had it as part of a special occasion in the past, you’ll remember it.
Ten-Layer Lemon Cheese Cake
- Vegetable cooking spray
- 4½ cups cake flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1¾ cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2¼ cups cups sugar
- Lemon Curd
- Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. If you have more cake pans of the same size, prepare them as well. More pans makes little layers easier.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a second medium bowl.
- Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, and beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 minute. Pour 3/4 cup batter in each prepared pan.
- Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until centers of cakes spring back when pressed lightly with your finger. Remove from pans to wire racks while cake layer is still very warm; cool completely. Respray pans, pour another 3/4 cup batter in each, repeat baking until all layers are complete.
- 1½ cups unsalted butter
- 2¼ cups sugar
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 12 large egg yolks, beaten
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in sugar and next 2 ingredients. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the warm butter mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, whisk egg yolks into the butter mixture in the saucepan. Place over low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until 170˚ is reached, about 10 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl placed over an ice water bath. Whisk to cool curd to room temperature. This prevents the yolks from curdling while cooling. Whisk well if curd develops a layer on top while sitting.