Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake

cover of martha stewart living april 2010

Cover recipe – Martha Stewart Living, Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake: April 2010.

I always look forward to Meyer lemon season. I buy them bags at a time to make lemon curd, vinaigrettes, salads, drinks, and desserts. For a long time now, I’ve been wanting to make this Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake from the April 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living. My family loves crepes and I’m trying to get better at making them. I love the idea of a cake stacked tall with eggy crepes and tangy Meyer lemon curd mousse. At first glance the recipe seems to be really time consuming, but once it’s broken down into smaller steps, it’s nothing more than making the crepes and lemon curd, mixing it with whipped cream and layering everything into a cake. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.Meyer lemon crepe cake

Print Print Recipe

Meyer Lemon Crepe Cake

Yield: 10-12 servings

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours

Layers of eggy crepes filled with tangy Meyer lemon curd mousse makes an elegant dessert that is easier to prepare than you might think!

Ingredients:

For crepes:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
1/4 cup whipped cream, for serving

For Meyer Lemon Curd Mousse:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon cold water
4 large whole eggs plus 6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

For Candied Meyer Lemons:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 Meyer lemons (do not peel), preferably organic, washed well and sliced 1/4-inch thick

Directions:

For crepes:
1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter. Pour through a sieve into a large pitcher or measuring cup. Discard the lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, put all of the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.)
2. Lightly coat a non-stick skillet or crepe pan with butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove from heat and pour 2 Tablespoons of the batter into the pan. Swirl and tilt pan to spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and return pan to heat. Cook until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.
3. Slide the crepe onto an overturned plate. Repeat with remaining batter, coating the pan with butter as needed. Stack the crepes on the plate and let cool.

For Meyer Lemon Mousse:
1. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2. In a non-reactive saucepan with a heavy bottom, whisk together eggs and yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly, until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add gelatin to the curd. Stir until smooth and gelatin is dissolved. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time.
4. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl to remove any bits of egg or undissolved gelatin. Press a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper directly onto the surface of the curd. Let cool slightly then place in fridge to chill for several hours or until very cold.
5. Once curd is properly chilled, stir to loosen it and fold in the whipped cream. Refrigerate for one hour before assembling cake.

For Candied Meyer Lemons:
1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a large saucepan, and heat until sugar dissolves. Add lemons, and cover surface with parchment. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until rinds are translucent, about 30 minutes. Let lemons cool in syrup.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemons to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Let stand for allow excess syrup to drip off.

To assemble:
1. Place one crepe on a flat serving dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the mousse onto the crepe. Top with another crepe and another 1/4 cup of mousse. Repeat layering crepes and mousse. (Use 15 crepes, ending with a crepe on top.) Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Top crepe cake with 1/4 cup whipped cream and 3 or 4 candied lemon slices. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tips:

*Crepes can be made ahead and refrigerated up to one day.
*Mousse can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
*Candied lemons can be made ahead, refrigerated in the syrup, for up to 3 weeks.
*I did 1 1/2 times the recipe for the crepes because my small non-stick skillet is 8-inches. They were also a little thicker. Knowing my difficulty turning the crepes in my skillet from previous attempts, I felt like that was the way to go for me.
*I made all of the components the day before and then put the crepe cake together. It does benefit from some time in the fridge to set up before cutting.
*Use regular lemons if you can't find Meyer lemons, or use part lemon juice and part orange juice to mimic the unique flavor of the Meyer lemons.
*Use plenty of butter for the skillet so the crepes are easier to turn.
*I always, always, always layer the crepes with waxed paper so I can get them apart later.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2010

The results:

Everyone LOVED this cake! Such a big hit with my crepe and lemon curd-loving family. My husband felt like the crepe recipe itself was fantastic – really eggy and buttery. Better than the recipe I usually use. I’m still perfecting the delicate art of crepe making, so this is actually a great recipe for a novice crepe-maker like myself. It didn’t matter if I tore a few, it was covered up by another layer of crepes and mousse. I did get the edges a little bit brown (okay, black), but it wasn’t the recipe’s fault.

Yes, it seems pretty time consuming, but it was worth it! It’s actually much easier than I thought, which was part of what took me so long to make it.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes! It’s really a great springtime dessert. And though it’s not maybe as pretty as traditional layer cakes, I really thought the candied lemons made it special. Spring is on it’s way in a few weeks, so it was a great way to start getting excited for more sunshine and warmer weather. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious. Worth every indulgent calorie!

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

27 Responses to “Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting”

  1. 1

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 20, 2013 @ 5:10 am

    Thanks for the review! It puzzles me too about the cake mix when cakes like this are practically as easy!

    I just got a cookbook about cooking with edible flowers. I have been loving reading/learning about a whole new world to me. Who knew you could bake with dandelions. I sure didn’t!

  2. 2

    Kelster — May 20, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Your perfect wedding cake cupcakes are made with cake mix so they aren’t all soooo bad. But anyway, I bake from scratch a lot but I can understand why some will reach for a cake mix. A lot of my friends don’t bake often and so they don’t keep certain ingredients on hand. They have no use for baking powder so they don’t buy it. It’s easier to just grab a box of cake mix whenever they feel the need to bake a cake instead of getting a can of baking powder just for 2 teaspoons and not being able to use it all before it’s no longer active. I have other friends who rarely have flour on hand. It seems like it would be a staple but for some it’s not.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 7:53 am

      That is such a good point… it’s so commonplace for me to have all baking ingredients at hand, but totally understandable for those who don’t bake! And you’re right- those Wedding Cupcakes are pretty darn good for a boxed mix.

  3. 3

    Laurie @ A Wiener Dog in the Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I totally agree, Lori. It’s just as easy to make it from scratch and only usually takes a couple of extra steps, but the results are so much better. Your cake is gorgeous and not having had lunch yet, is making me totally hungry… I could put away a slice right now.

  4. 4

    sara — May 20, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    This cake looks so amazing! Love the edible dandelions…I haven’t seen those before but they’re really pretty! :)

  5. 5

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    What a great basic cake to feature here at Culinary Covers! Interesting about the frosting. Warm kitchens can sometimes be the culprit with butter that is a bit soft. Your tip of starting with just 3 tablespoons of liquid (milk) is spot on for the home baker. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

  6. 6

    Kim L. — May 20, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    I am having friends over for dinner on Thursday and wast trying to come up with a desert. Problem solved!

    Oh, and about the box mixes… Growing up my mom made everything from scratch except for cakes. She always used a box. When I got married and was on my own, I used box cakes for a long time too because I assumed that they were really hard to make. Glad I learned the truth!

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

      My Mom always made spice cake from a box. I loved it then and I still love boxed spice cake now too :)

  7. 7

    Jill P. (@MamaGing.com) — May 20, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    This sounds perfect! I’ve been in search for a good, simple (not just using egg whites) vanilla cake recipe. I can not handle boxed mixes – they have such a chemical, mass produced taste to them, as well as canned frosting. When I see a delicious recipe on Pinterest and and soon as I see that first ingredient says a boxed mix, I immediately back out. My mother made most everything from scratch and I try to too. My new years resolution is no canned cream of whatever soups… make my own! Thanks for sharing this one, this I WILL pin! ;)

  8. 8

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 20, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    The cake came out gorgeous, Lori! I love your thoughts on the cake. Definitely will be trying it! And edible dandelions? Who knew? Pinning!

  9. 9

    Katrina — May 20, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Beautiful! And I agree–why do people used boxed cake mixes. sigh

  10. 10

    Faith — May 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    This cake is such a beauty – I love Martha Stewart Living for the same reasons you mentioned above. I’m glad this cake was a winner flavor-wise too!

  11. 11

    Deborah Harroun — May 21, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    This is so pretty! I’m on the search for the perfect yellow cake so I definitely need to give this one a try!

  12. 12

    Tieghan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    Sp pretty!! I am not normally a yellow cake person, but this one just looks so good! I need to venture away from chocolate and make it!

  13. 13

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 21, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    I love a quick simple cake. This one looks beautiful. I’d love to give it a try. I also love decorating cakes with flowers. It just looks so simple and beautiful.

  14. 14

    Donalyn@The Creekside Cook — May 23, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    I definitely hang out with food bloggers too much – the idea of using a mix always shocks me just a tiny bit. This cake looks wonderful and I love a nice vanilla cake, so I’ll be giving it a try – thanks for the review!

  15. 15

    Clover — May 23, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    That cake looks perfect. I will definitely be setting aside this recipe for a special occasion. Thanks for the review.

  16. 16

    Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian — May 24, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    What a lovely cake. I am tucking this one away. I have found such awful recipes for yellow cake and would love to try this one.

  17. 17

    Darla — May 24, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Just baked this cake this morning! I didn’t want to do layers so I did a 9×13 cake pan. It worked beautifully and the cake had such a smooth level top, my cakes don’t usually come out that nice. It has a very nice light tender crumb to it, reminiscent of a cake mix, but it tastes soooooo much better! Made a half a batch of frosting as well and since I like my frosting with a light touch, we still have enough leftover for a pan of cinnamon rolls! :) Thanks for sharing this recipe, Lori…will definitely make it again!

  18. 18

    Suzanne — May 24, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    I made this as cupcakes & it was really good!

  19. 19

    chris — May 28, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Hi Lori, I am looking forward to making this cake, however, it states-“Yield: One 8-inch layer cake; but the
    instructions state-“Butter two 8-inch round cake pans.” Could you let me know which to use?
    I just bought your cookbook and can’t wait to make some of those delicious recipes!!
    Thanks.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 28th, 2013 @ 11:41 am

      Hi Chris- One 8-inch layer cake means that you will butter two 8-inch round cake pans (the layer cake uses two round pans). Does that make sense? I hope you enjoy my cookbook!

  20. 20

    Teana — February 24, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    im 13 yrs old and did this cake yesterday b/c i want to become a baker i wish i could see Lori so she can help me work on cakes for in the future thanks lori for putting this up !

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      You’re welcome!

  21. 21

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:05 am

    This is my first cake from scratch and it was a great success. The texture, moistness and density was perfect. It was truly simple to make. The batter tasted great too. It will be our ‘go to’ vanilla cake recipe from now on.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      Glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

  22. 22

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:09 am

    One more comment. For the middle I spread a thin layer of strawberry (or raspberry) jam and then put icing on. It gives it a little ‘other’ flavor which complements the vanilla nicely.

Leave a Comment