Mary Berry’s Lemon Griestorte

Last Christmas, I got a bottle of Lemon Curd along with an authentic British Scone mix, but although I made the scones I didn’t use the lemon curd. With the expiration date fast approaching, I paged through Mary Berry’s Baking Bible to find something utilizing lemon curd. Of course, I could have just made a lemon meringue pie or tart, but I wanted to try something completely different.

Raspberries were on sale at the grocery store, so I landed on the Lemon Griestorte, which also utilizes the semolina flour I used for the Orange Shortbread Cookies. Now this recipe only uses egg whites to make the cake light, fluffy and for rise, as opposed to baking soda or powder, so you need to make sure you don’t over blend your batter.

The original recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of ground almonds. You can buy ground almonds at the store, but if you do a lot of baking, it’s actually cheaper for you to buy almonds and then grind your own. This allows you to grind the almonds as fine or coarse as you want.

Once again, remember bring your eggs to room temperature before you start baking. This will actually allow allow the eggs to blend better and avoid lumpy batter. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light in color and texture, then add the lemon juice. Add the semolina flour, lemon zest and ground almonds.

As opposed to many layer cakes, this cake is baked in one pan and then cut in half. The cake tin is lined on the bottom with parchment paper, and because this is such a fluffy and fragile cake, you should also line the sides of the tin with parchment paper. I suggest lining the bottom first, then you spray the sides and bottom with cooking spray. This will allow you to apply the parchment paper to the sides, then spray the sides again with cooking spray, especially if you have to piece together parchment paper for the sides.

I baked my batter for 30 minutes as directed. I did everything I was supposed to; bringing my eggs to room temperature, whipped the egg whites to soft peaks, gently folded in the egg whites and lined the sides of the baking tin to allow for the rise of the batter, but when my cake came out of the oven, there was very little rise to the cake. I let it cool 10 minutes and turned it out onto a plate to see how thick the layer was. The instructions indicated that this layer was to be cut in half to form the two layers of the cake, but the layer was only 3/4 inch thick. There was no way I could cut this layer in half!

So I wondered, had I over folded or over whipped the egg whites? Or since the eggs were close to their expiration date did this cause them not to rise? I had just bought a new dozen eggs, so I decided to bake the cake all over again to see if I got a different result. Thirty minutes later, I found that I didn’t get a different result! I turned out both layers onto plates, and the little bits that stuck to the tin tasted light and fluffy, so I decided to go ahead and finish the cake with the two different layers I had baked.

Now I have looked at other’s results using Mary Berry’s recipe and found that many people got the same results as I did. However, I did find another Griestorte recipe, with the exact same ingredients, that indicated that the egg yolks and sugar should be heated over a hot water bath until thick and mousse-like and that the egg whites should be beaten into stiff peaks instead. If I decide to make this recipe again, I will definitely try this slight variation to see if it makes a difference in the rise I get from the batter.

While the recipe only calls for 1/4 pint of whipped cream, I actually whipped up the entire half pint to make sure that I had enough filling for the cake. If you double the whipped cream as I did, make sure you also double the amount of lemon curd in the filling. Feel free to make your own lemon curd, but a quality bottled lemon curd can also be used. If you don’t use all of it for the filling, you can always serve the extra on top or on the side.

Now I know some people have an issue with raspberries. They don’t like the seeds. If you are one of those people, a good option for you would be to replace the raspberries with blueberries. Both pair well with lemon, so feel free to use your preferred berry. Top the bottom layer with half the lemon curd / whipped cream mixture. Add the berries of your choice, then the remaining whipped cream mixture. Carefully add the second layer.

Before serving, dust with Confectioner’s sugar or top with additional whipped cream and lemon curd and berries.

Mary Berry's Lemon Griestorte

  • Servings: approx. 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

Credit: Mary Berry’s Baking Bible

For the Torte: (doubled from original recipe)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 200 grams (8 oz) caster sugar
  • grated zest of 2 lemon and juice of one
  • 100 grams (4 oz) semolina flour
  • 30 grams (1 oz) ground almonds
For the Filling: (doubled from original recipe)
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) whipping cream
  • 8 tbl lemon curd
  • 100 grams (4 oz) fresh raspberries (optional)
  • Confectioner’s or icing sugar to finish (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F (160 C).
  2. Line bottoms and sides of 2 – 8 inch cake tins with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
  3. Add egg yolks and caster sugar into a bowl and whisk until mixed and pale light yellow in texture.
  4. Add lemon juice and whisk until thick.
  5. Fold in lemon zest, semolina flour and ground almonds.
  6. In separate bowl, whip egg whites until forms soft peaks.
  7. Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture until evenly blended.
  8. Divide batter evenly between two cake tins.
  9. Bake 30-35 minutes until light golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool cake for 10 minutes, then turn out onto plate or cooling rack lined with parchment paper.
  11. Whip whipping cream in bowl until forms stiff peaks.
  12. Fold in lemon curd.
  13. Once cake is completely cooled, top one layer with half the whipped filling.
  14. Top with raspberries, then add remaining whipped filling.
  15. Top with second layer of cake.
  16. Before serving, dust lightly with Confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

Variations

  1. Replace raspberries with blueberies.
  2. Replace lemon juice, zest and curd with orange juice, zest and curd.
  3. Replace lemon juice, zest and curd with lime juice, zest and curd.

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