Many of the cake's components can be made a head, and once the tiers are filled and decorated, they can be refrigerated up to two days or frozen up to two weeks before the wedding.<P> The rich, lemony cake has a dense texture like that of a pound cake.<P> To prevent discoloration of the filling, use a saucepan with a nonreactive interior, such as enamel or stainless steel. (The lemon juice acid will adversely affect the filling if it's made in an unlined iron or aluminum saucepan.)
- add 5 large eggs<br>1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature<br>1 1/4 cups sugar<br>3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)<br>1 tablespoon grated lemon peel<p>3 cups chilled whipping cream<br>6 tablespoons sugar<B>For lemon sy
- add 11 large egg yolks<br>3 1/4 cups plus 7 tablespoons sugar<br>1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)<br>1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel<br>1 tablespoon vanilla extract<br>3 pounds unsalted butter, cut into large pieces, room
- add 1 1/2 cups water<br>3/4 cup fresh lemon juice<br>3/4 cup sugar<B>For preliminary assembly</B>
- add 3 12-inch-long, 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels1 3-foot long peach and/or cream colored ribbons
- add 13 large eggs<br>5 1/2 cups sugar<br> 2 2/3 cups vegetable oil<br>2 2/3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (about 21 ounces)
- add 1/4 cup orange juice<br>1/4 cup grated lemon peel (from about 8 lemons)
- add <b>For cake</b>
- add 2 4-foot-long peach and/or cream-colored ribbonsAssorted nonpoisonous flowers (such as roses, freesias, and tulips)
- add 3 tablespoons orange liqueur <br>2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice<br>1 tablespoon vanilla extract<br>8 3/4 cups all purpose flour<br>2 tablespoons baking powder<br>1 teaspoon salt<b> For lemon filling</b>
- add 1 8-inch-diameter cardboard cake round3 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, about three 6-ounce baskets<br>3 1/2 cups fresh small blackberries or boysenberries, about three 6-ounce baskets1 12-inch-diameter cardboard cake round<B>For frosting</B>
- Make cake:
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter bottom of 12-inch-diameter cheesecake pan(not springform) with 3-inch-high sides and removable bottom. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
- Beat eggs, sugar, and oil in large bowl of heavy-duty mixer and medium-low speed 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium and beat until mixture is very thick and falls in heavy ribbon when beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. Whisk cheese, orange juice, lemon peel, liqueur, lemon juice, and vanilla in medium bowl until well blended. Add cheese mixture to egg mixture; beat at low speed until just blended. Transfer to extra-large bowl (at least 6-quart capacity). Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Sift dry ingredients over batter in 5 additions, whisking to blend after each addition. Transfer about 11 cups batter to 12-inch prepared pan and about 5 cups batter to 8-inch prepared pan (batter should be of equal depth in both pans).
- Bake cakes until golden brown in firm (tops may crack) and tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating pans occasionally for even baking and covering loosely with foil if browning too quickly; about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.
- Make lemon filling:
- Whisk eggs to blend in medium bowl. Combine butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, lemon juice, and peel in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Gradually whisk lemon mixture into eggs. Return to same pan. Stir over medium heat until curd thickens and just begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Strain curd into large bowl. Chill until cold and thick, stirring occasionally, about 4 hours.
- Beat cream and 6 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold into curd in 4 additions. Chill filling until very cold, about 2 hours.
- Make lemon syrup:
- Stir all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; bring to boil. Chill syrup until cold, about 1 hour. (Cakes, filling, and syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover cakes; store at room temperature. Cover filling and syrup; keep refrigerated.
- Make preliminary assembly:
- Cut around sides of cakes to loosen. Push up pan bottoms, releasing cakes from pan. If necessary, cut between parchment and pan bottoms to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto surface. Peel off parchment. Wash and dry pans and reassemble.
- Using long serrated knife, cut off doomed top of 8-inch cake to level. Cut cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on 8-inch cardboard. Place cake on cardboard back into pan. Brush bottom layer with 1/4 cup lemon syrup. Spread with 1 1/2 cups lemon filling. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups raspberries. Place top cake layer atop raspberries; press cake lightly to compact. Brush with 1/4 cup syrup. (Assembled cake may be higher than pan sides.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Using long serrated knife, cut off doomed top of 12-inch cake to level. Cut cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Place bottom layer, cut side up, on 12-inch cardboard. Place cake on cardboard back into pan. Brush with 1/2 cup lemon syrup. Spread with 3 cups lemon filling. Sprinkle with 2 cups raspberries. Using 10- or 11-inch diameter tart pan as aid, slide top layer onto raspberries. Press cake lightly to compact. Brush with 1/2 cup syrup. (Assembled cake may be higher than pan sides.) Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate both cakes overnight.
- Make frosting:
- Whisk yolks and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl to blend. Bring milk and lemon peel just to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk hot milk into yolk mixture. Return to same saucepan. Stir custard over medium heat until thick, about 3 minutes ( do not allow custard to boil). Strain custard into extra-large (6-quart) metal bowl; add vanilla extract. Using handheld electric mixer, beat custard until custard lightens and custard cools to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Gradually add butter; beat until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl often. (If buttercream appears curdled at any time, place bowl directly over heat for several seconds. Remove from heat and beat well; repeat warming and beating as necessary to achieve smooth texture). Set buttercream aside at room temperature.
- Stir 2 1/4 cups sugar and 3/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat and boil syrup without stirring until thermometer registers 240°F, occasionally brushing down sugar crystals from sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat egg whites in large bowl of heavy-duty mixer until stiff but not dry. Gradually add 5 tablespoons sugar and beat until firm glossy peaks form. Gradually beat hot sugar syrup into egg whites. Continue to beat 2 minutes longer. Place bowl of meringue into larger bowl filled with ice and water. Using handheld electric mixer with clean beaters, continue to beat until meringue cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Gradually add meringue to buttercream, beating until well blended.
- Cut around all sides of 8-inch cake. Push up pan bottom, releasing cake from pan. Remove pan bottom, leaving cake on cardboard base. If desired, place cake on revolving cake stand. Using offset spatula, spread thin layer of frosting (about 2 1/3 cups) over top and sides of cake to anchor crumbs. Refrigerate cakes on their cardboard bases until frosting is firm, about 1 hour.
- Spread enough frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) over top and sides of 8-inch cake to coat. Spread enough frosting (about 3 cups) over tops and sides of 12-inch cake to coat. Dip large offset spatula into very hot water to warm blade; wipe dry. Run spatula over sides and tops of cakes, warming spatula repeatedly as necessary, until frosting is smooth. Using pastry bag fitted with small plain round tip, pipe border of small frosting dots around top edge of each cake. Refrigerate both cakes uncovered on their cardboard bases until frosting hardens, about 4 hours. (Once frosting is hardened, cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to two days or double-wrapped with plastic and frozen up to two weeks. Before continuing with recipe, thaw wrapped frozen cakes overnight in refrigerator.)
- Final assembly and decoration:
- Insert 1 dowel straight down into center of 12-inch cake to cardboard base. Mark dowel about 1/4 inch above top of frosting. Remove dowel and cut with serrated knife at marked point. Cut 2 more dowels to same length. Press 3 cut dowels into cake, positioning about 3 1/2 inches inward from cake on platter. Using large metal spatula as aid, place 8-inch cake on its cardboard atop dowels in 12-inch cake, centering carefully.
- Wrap 3-foot long ribbons around base of 8-inch cake; cut to fit with slight overlap. Press ribbons gently into frosting to adhere. Wrap 4-foot long ribbons around base of 12 inch cake; cut to fit with slight overlap. Press ribbons gently into frosting to adhere.
- To serve:
- Transfer 8-inch cake to work surface; cut cake into 16 slices. Remove dowels from 12-inch cake. Staring 2 inches inward from edge and inserting knife straight down, cut 8-inch-diameter circle in center of cake. Cut outer portion of cake into 16 slices. Cut middle portion of cake into 8 slices. Cut inner 4-inch portion of cake into 4 wedges. Serve cake.