I do love Spring, and the flavors that accompany the arrival of crocus, daffodils, and tulips. While I rarely need an excuse for the luscious combination of lemon and meringue, this is the perfect cake for any occasion...or perhaps your family's Easter celebration in just a few weeks?
Oh...and, there will be another special celebration going on around here in a few weeks--in case you just need to have a reason to make one of my favorite things. :)
Strawberry-Lemonade Meringue CakeAdapted from Martha Stewart's Lemon Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8 inch cake pans, with Baker's Joy. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.
While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed-paper-lined plate. Stir remaining 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice into syrup.
Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting, substituting 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract.
Frost cooled cakes, filling the middle layer with sliced strawberries, and top with candied lemon slices and fresh strawberries.
Whipped Meringue Frosting
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant-read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.