Pomegranate Citrus Meringue Cake

Ingredients

For the Lemon Curd (makes around 1 cup, enough for one cake)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the Vanilla Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided into 1/4 cup and 1 cup portions
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Pomegranate Buttercream Frosting & Meringue Filling (makes enough to frost one cake)

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure pomegranate juice (no sugar or other sweeteners added)

Assembly

  • 1 cup crushed meringues
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions

For the Lemon Curd

  1. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 lemon zest, and 4 big egg yolks in a heatproof glass bowl. To form a double boiler, place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water over medium heat, making that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Cook, whisking periodically, until the mixture has thickened significantly and a candy thermometer inserted in the center of the mixture reaches 172 degrees (F).
  2. From the pan, remove the dish containing the curd. Allow to cool on a wire rack until a candy thermometer inserted in the center of the mixture registers 140 degrees (F).
  3. Whisk in a couple of unsalted butter cubes from your 1/4 cup portion once the mixture has cooled to 140 degrees. Continue whisking until the butter cubes are thoroughly combined, then add a couple more cubes until your 1/4 cup amount is finished. To prevent a skin from forming on the curd, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled before using to assemble and fill the cake.

For the Vanilla Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle (F). Spray three 8-inch round cake pans generously with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Coat the parchment paper circles with the same frying spray.
  2. 4 big eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup Remove from the equation.
  3. Combine 3 cups cake flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a standalone electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. 1 minute on low speed, or until well blended. 1 cup unsalted butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk should be added to the mixer on the lowest setting. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  4. Reduce the mixer’s speed to its lowest setting after 2 minutes. In three additions, add the egg mixture (from step 2), only adding the next addition after the previous has been fully incorporated into the mixture. After you’ve added all of the egg mixture, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on low speed for 1 minute and no more — don’t overmix or you’ll end up with a dense, difficult cake, and I’ll cry for you!
  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the three cake pans that have been prepared. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated oven, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean and the tops of the cakes bounce back when lightly poked. Allow the layers to set for 20 minutes in the pans on wire racks before turning out to cool fully before assembling and icing.

For the Pomegranate Buttercream Frosting

  1. Combine 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, and a sprinkle of salt in the bowl of a standalone electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, beat the mixture until it comes together and the butter is evenly distributed throughout the sugar.
  2. Reduce the mixer’s speed to the lowest setting. In a separate, small dish, combine 2 tablespoons whole milk and 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice; add a couple teaspoons at a time to the butter mixture. Increase the mixer’s speed to high once all of the liquid has been integrated. Continue beating for at least 5 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy. The frosting becomes fluffier and lighter as it is pounded longer. Add another 1/2 teaspoon of pomegranate juice if it’s too pale for you. However, don’t use too much or your icing may become too liquidy! 1 1/2 teaspoons extra pomegranate juice is the maximum amount that may be added.

Assembly

  1. Fill a piping bag halfway with pomegranate buttercream frosting and a big plain icing tip (or a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off). Create a “border” by piping a ring around the outside corners of the bottom cake layer. Learn from my blunders and use a liberal amount of frosting for each border – around 1/2 cup should enough. When you slice the cake, the more you use, the beautiful it will seem.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup lemon curd in the inside of the buttercream border with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, meeting the piped line of the border.
  3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup crumbled meringues equally over the lemon curd with your fingers.
  4. Place the next layer on top and carefully push down to ensure that the filling is completely sealed in. Steps 2 and 3 are repeated, and the final cake layer is nestled on top.
  5. Use the leftover buttercream to frost the entire cake at this stage. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup crushed meringues and 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds over the frosted cake. Serve right away.

Source: Hummingbird High

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