This gorgeous Lemon-Thyme Basket Cake is the perfect centerpiece for your Easter table. It might look complicated, but with Paula’s step-by-step directions for assembling the cake, piping the frosting, and creating the handle, you’ll have a dessert just as pretty as Paula’s.
Lemon-Thyme Basket Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
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- 8 large egg whites
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd
- Green sanding sugar
- Jelly beans
- Malted milk speckled eggs
- For frosting: In the top of a double boiler, whisk together egg whites and sugar, and cook over simmering water until mixture registers 140° on a candy thermometer.
- Immediately pour mixture into the work bowl of a stand mixer, and beat at high speed until mixture is thick, white, and glossy, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Store at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
- For cake: In the work bowl of a food processor, process together sugar, thyme, and lemon zest until thyme is finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar mixture with a mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon juice.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Stir in sour cream. Spread batter into prepared pans.
- Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
- In a medium bowl, stir together lemon curd and 1 cup frosting. Spread mixture between cake layers.
- Spread just enough frosting on top and sides of cake to create a thin layer. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a basket weave tip, and pipe a basket weave design around cake (see Note).
- Secure basket handle on top of cake (see Note). Spoon remaining frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe star shapes around top of cake. Decorate top of cake with sanding sugar, jelly beans, and malted eggs.
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