Total Time
1hr 50mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 50 mins

This is a very elegant cake for special occassions and is a bit time consuming, but it is best if made a few days ahead and refrigerated. Recipe source: Bon Appetit (April 1984)

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For the cake

  • 4 eggs, seperated, room temperature
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 34 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 teaspoon lemon extract (or vanilla)
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • For the custard filling

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the topping

  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1 12 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • rum
  • orange-flavored liqueur (or use orange juice)
  • 6 -8 ladyfingers, halved vertically
  • 2 blanched almonds


  1. To make sponge cake: preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl beat egg yolks until light. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar until mixture forms ribbons when beaters are lifted. Sift flour with baking powder and then fold it into batter in 3 batches -- the batter will be stiff. Stir in extract. In a clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar until peaks are stiff. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk/flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and tester comes out clean. Invert onto rack cool but do not remove pan until cooled. Run a knife around edge of cake and invert cake onto platter.
  2. To make custard: in a saucepan whisk together yolks, sugar and flour until smooth. Whisk in milk. Stir in lemon peel. Stir over medium low heat until mixture boils. Pour into glass or plastic bowl, discarding lemon peel. Stir in vanilla. Cool.
  3. To assemble cake: divide custard among three bowls. In one bowl stir in chopped almonds. In the second bowl stir in cocoa powder. The third is left plain.
  4. Cut cake horizontally into three layers using a serrated knife.
  5. Set one layer on platter and sprinkle with rum and spread with the almond custard.
  6. Top with second layer. Sprinkle with rum and spread with plain custard.
  7. Top with final layer. Sprinkle with orange liquour (or juice) and spread top and sides with cocoa custard, smoothing evenly.
  8. Sprinkle flat side of ladyfingers with rum or orange liquor (or juice) and press ladyfingers around cake, rounded side out. Decorate wth 2 almonds on top of cake.


Most Helpful

10/24/09 Made last night. Cake overflowed pan and dropped ALL over the oven, so cutting into 3 layers was impossible - we got 2 . THIS IS ONE AWESOME AWESOME CAKE!!! amber

Amberngriffinco October 24, 2009

Oh my!!!!! This was to die for. Not only was it rich and delicious but it was beautiful too.... well as beautiful as my unsteady hands could make it. The only thing I did diferently was I used the orange juice instead of the rum.

looneytunesfan January 31, 2007

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