Sal De Riso did not invent the Lemon Delight Cake or the Amalfi lemons, but he pretty much made both of them famous. When featured on Searching for Italy, we uncovered that the secret to this recipe is 3 things: Amalfi lemons, cream, and more cream. This heavenly dessert tastes like clouds of springtime lemons and will make you feel like you’re sitting on the Amalfi Coast.
Just to give you a heads’ up, this recipe has a lot of components in it. Our best recommendation is to make everything except the sponge cake, and place all of those ingredients overnight in the fridge. (All of them need ample cooling time, so it’s just easier to do it overnight.) Then the next day make the cake and assemble. Enjoy!
Lemon Delight Cake – Searching for Italy Recipe by Sal de Riso
The famous Lemon Delight Cake (Delizie al Limone) that was featured on Searching for Italy. This recipe was translated and adapted from the original Sal de Riso recipe.
In a bowl, stir sugar into heavy cream until full dissolved.
Place both lemon peels into the heavy cream. Cover and place in the fridge to infuse overnight (12 hours).
After setting overnight, remove lemon peels and whip the lemon cream until you have a whipped cream consistency.
Génoise Sponge Cake:
In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment pour in the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar. Start to whip. Note: Eggs need to be at room temperature or they will not whip up properly.
After about 30 seconds of whipping, add in the lemon zest and vanilla bean. Let this whip for about 11-12 more minutes.
While waiting for the whipping to complete, sift and mix the cake flour and potato starch.
Once the egg mixture has been completely whipped (you’ll know cause it will be a nice foamy texture), slowly pour in the combined flour mixture, and mix by hand.
Pour sponge cake batter into slightly greased half-dome silicone molds, about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake at 170 degrees for 28 minutes.
Heat water, sugar, and the lemon peel in a pot oven over low-medium heat. Be careful not to burn, we just want them to meld together.
Once the sugar granules have fully dissolved, remove pot from the heat and add in the Limoncello.
Cover and let it infuse at room temperature for at least an hour, then strain.
Heat lemon juice and the lemon peel in a pot oven over medium heat.
In a separate bowl mix egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla bean until thoroughly mixed.
Once the lemon juice is fairly hot, slowly pour it into the egg yolk bowl while whisking.
Once fully mixed, pour the entire mixture back into the pot and cook until 80 degrees. Note: Make sure to use a thermometer on the cream to not exceed 80 degrees, as it may cause the cream to curdle.
As soon as the cream hits 80 degrees, remove the pot from the heat, and pour the cream into the bowl (without the lemon peel).
Let the cream cool to 40 degrees.
Add the softened butter and mix with an immersion blender.
Cover and place in fridge until ready to assemble.
Heat milk, cream, vanilla bean, and the lemon peels in a pot over medium heat.
In a separate bowl mix sugar, corn starch, and salt until mixed thoroughly and without lumps.
Mix in egg yolks and continue to whisk.
Once the milk cream is fairly hot, slowly pour it into the egg yolk bowl while whisking.
Once fully mixed, pour the entire mixture back into the pot and cook until 85 degrees. Note: Make sure to use a thermometer on the cream to not exceed 85 degrees, as it may cause the cream to curdle.
As soon as the cream hits 85 degrees, remove the pot from the heat, and pour the cream into the bowl (without the lemon peel).
Cover and place in the freezer until ready to assemble.
Mix Lemon Custard, 1/4 cup of Limoncello, Vanilla Custard, and 1/2 of the Whip Cream you made.
Put the entire cream mixture into a piping bag with a flat head.
With the sponge cake still in the silicone molds, poke the cake with the piping bag and squeeze some of the Filling into the middle of the cake. Repeat for all cakes.
Remove cakes and turn them right-side up on a flat surface. Note: We recommend wearing gloves for this remaining portion.
Squeeze Syrup on to the top of the cakes to moisten them (can also brush it on).
Let cakes cool down for at least 1 hour in the freezer.
While you wait for the cakes to cool down, squeeze the remaining Filling cream from the piping bag into a bowl, add in the other half of the Whip Cream recipe, and mix with cold milk until fluid enough for glazing the cakes.
Dunk the cakes into the glaze to fully coat then place each on a plate.
Add Whip Cream and lemon zest on top for decoration.