Our love for sweets doesn’t just stop at all things chocolate. No, we love everything lemon-y and zesty and refreshing as well. This cake is a labor of love (although you could always simplify things by using store-bought lemon curd), but we promise you it’s completely worth it, it’s wonderfully light and totally delicious!
There are three parts to this dessert: the crust, the curd, and the mousse. Don’t worry though, the crust is super easy and takes little to no effort. If you decide to make your own curd (which you should, if you can, because it’s out of this world), the trick is just to keep whisking; whisk, whisk, whisk, so the eggs don’t scramble, and you’ll be fine! Then we get to the mousse. Once you’ve made the curd, the rest is a breeze, so just whip your egg whites and heavy cream, and the rest will come together naturally! Try this mousse cake out, because it really is a showstopper!
Lemon Mousse Cake
Yields 1, 9-inch cake
- 2 cups shortbread cookies
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Curd: (or use store-bought)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
- 4 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 large egg whites
- 1/3-1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 8-9-inch springform pan with butter or non-stick spray.
- Pulse shortbread cookies in food processor while drizzling in melted butter (or mix them together in a large bowl) until mixture has consistency of coarse, damp sand.
- Turn crust mixture out into pie pan and press down firmly and evenly with your fingers. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.
- In a large saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch and cook over medium-low heat. Gradually add lemon juice, stirring until cornstarch and sugar are completely dissolved.
- Whisk vigorously and beat in eggs and egg yolks. Make sure heat isn’t too high that eggs scramble.
- Add in butter and raise heat to medium. Cook, continuing to stir, until mixture thickens and boils. 10-11 minutes.
- Transfer to a separate bowl and chill for 4-6 hours, or overnight. Once cold, cover (pressing down onto the curd) with plastic wrap.
- Prepare mousse by pouring water into a small saucepan and evenly sprinkling gelatin over the top. Let gelatin “bloom” for 5-10 minutes, or until surface of water is wrinkly and gelatin has softened.
- Remove curd from fridge and transfer 1 cup curd to a small saucepan and another 3/4 cup to a separate bowl to set aside. Heat over medium-low until warmed through.
- Once gelatin mixture is ready, stir until mixture is clear and gelatin is dissolved.
Note: if you dip your finger in mixture, there should be no grainy texture. Don’t let gelatin boil.
- Slowly whisk gelatin into your warmed 1 cup curd, then transfer gelatin curd into the remaining bowl of lemon curd and fold in.
- In a separate bowl or mixer, beat egg whites until firm peaks form and slowly add in sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- In batches, fold egg whites into gelatin curd mixture. Then beat whipping cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Again, gradually fold whipped cream into curd mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, spread mousse over cooled crust and smooth out the top. (Refrigerate remaining mousse if there’s extra.) Cover cake and refrigerate 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, take remaining 3/4 cup lemon curd and spread it out smoothly over the top of mousse.
- Run a knife along the edge of the springform pan to loosen the edges, slice into wedges and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Epicurious