Gold Cake

I am putting together a cookbook for my family that celebrates all the recipes that we have grown up with. I come from a long line of really fantastic cooks and bakers and I decided that there are recipes that we were in danger of losing.

One that we almost lost is this recipe for Gold Cake. My cousin Cathy emailed this to me. I’d not only never eaten it before, I’d never even heard of it before. Naturally, I had to try it out – if only just so I could have pictures of it for the book. Plus I love to try out new recipes! And the whole point of a family cookbook is to try the recipes that our grands and great-grands loved enough to make and keep and pass down.

I hope you enjoy it!

Gold Cake

  • 1 ¾ cup sifted cake flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • ¾ cup unbeaten egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sift the flour and then measure it. Add in the baking powder and the salt and whisk those quickly in with a fork. Set the flour mixture aside.

In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon extract.  Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture and beat on high until the are light and a lemonade color. You need a lot of air whipped into this so don’t cheat yourself on time.

(A note about the egg yolks: I ended up using – I kid you not – *9* egg yolks. 9. Egg. Yolks. The look on my face increasingly become more horrified as I continued to crack and separate egg after egg. And the yolks need to be unbeaten as they go into the cup or your measurements will be off.  Given the price of eggs in the Great Depression I can only wonder if the name of this cake isn’t for the golden color the yolks provide, but for how much it would have cost to make it. Now I need to decide if I should make the world’s largest batch of Macarons or an Angel Food Cake.)

Fold in dry ingredients alternately with the milk – beginning and ending with the flour. And they mean fold, not beat with the mixer. You have just added a ton of air when you were beating the eggs, so folding will ensure you keep the air and lightness.

The finished batter is actually quite thick. Carefully spoon or pour into two lightly greased and floured 8” square pans. I didn’t have square pans, so I used round. I’m sure it ended up tasting just the same.

Do NOT tap it on the counter to remove the air from the pans.

Bake at 350° 25 minutes (just until cake begins to pull away from pan sides.) Watch this. You don’t want to bake it too long or the cake will end up dry.

Cool. Put together with lemon curd filling (recipe below).

Lemon Curd Filling

You will need a double boiler for this.

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 slightly beaten egg yolk (Holy crap, yet another egg yolk.)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (this works out to be the juice of one lemon)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 T butter

Get the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in the top of a double boiler and set of the the top of the simmering water. Then add the egg yolk (Lord!), water, and lemon juice.

Cook until thickened stirring constantly. This took me about 45 minutes to an hour to get it really nice and thick. I had to remind myself that this is a filling and not a glaze or sauce. And it will thicken as it cools, but you do want it really nice and thick.

Remove from heat. Add the grated lemon peel and butter. Stir until the butter is melted. Leave aside to cool completely. Spread between layers of cake.

Our family traditionally frosts this cake with a simple powdered sugar frosting, but you can also adopt our family’s other time-honored tradition of opening a can of Betty Crocker and using that instead. (She’s practically a cousin.)  A nice mascarpone frosting would be awesome with this, too.

This cake lasted exactly 1 day. The kids loved it, Mark – who is not a fan of lemon – also enjoyed it, and then I took it with me to girls’ night and the rest of it was devoured. The curd is really sharp and very lemony and the sponge is light and airy with a hint of lemon itself which makes it perfect for a summer treat.


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