Makes an 8 in. triple layer cake; serves 12-16
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter the bottoms of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper; butter the paper.
Combine the flour, 1 3/4 cups of the sugar, the baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, blend to combine and break up any lumps, about 30 seconds.
Add the butter, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the buttermilk to the flour. Beat on low until completely mixed. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes to lighten and aerate the batter.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk; whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the egg white mixture to the batter in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only enough to incorporate. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
While the cake layers are cooling, make a lemon syrup. In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice with the water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Turn out the cake onto wire racks (use wax paper underneath to avoid messes) and generously brush the hot lemon syrup over the warm cake layers to moisten evenly. Allow the layers to cool completely.
To frost the cake,place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup of the Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting over the cake to cover evenly. Repeat with the next layer. Set the third layer in place. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish with poppy seeds or sliced almonds.
Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon almond extract
In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat until very fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the almond extract and mix well.
Posted by: Sallie