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Maddalena Fuller


The Cake Mixture:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease to round cake pans. Bake the filing for approximately 35-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to cook on a rack, and then turn them out of the pan to cool completely, before cutting them evenly in half and setting them aside.

Lemon custard:

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

If you don’t have a double boiler, be sure to cook the custard on low heat, to avoid tiny bits of cooked egg from appearing.

Melt the butter, and then add the eggs, sugar, zest and juice. Stir the custard constantly until it thickens. Set aside, and cover with plastic to cool, in order to prevent a skin from forming.

Lemon Icing:

  • 1/2 pound cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup icing sugar (more or less)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice, and then add more icing sugar until the frosting is thick and fluffy, but spreadable. We don’t want anything thin and syrupy for this recipe.

Stack the 4 cake layers on top of each other, spreading a layer of icing and custard on each of the 4 layers,  allowing it to squeeze out and ooze down the sides of the cake.

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Every summer I look forward to making fresh custard tarts and fruit pies, depending on the season. They are always beautiful and easy to prepare.
You can fill a pre-baked pie shell with any kind of custard, although the following recipe is probably my favorite. Light and creamy with a hint of lemon makes a delicious base for most fruits and berries.

Buttermilk Pastry Cream

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Put the buttermilk and egg yokes into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. Add the dry ingredients and continue stirring for about 4 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir in the lemon and vanilla. Let cool completely and refrigerate before adding to the pie shell.


Combine 1/2 cup of fruit jam, something light colored and seedless works best -like apricot or grape jelly to 1/4 cup of water and boil. Let cool slightly and apply glaze to the fruit ornamented pie using a pastry brush.

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