DIY Wedding Cake Filling–Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd is Easy to Make and Boucoup Flavorful

Polka Dot Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
Image from Country Living

If you've not yet heard, the hindsight groom and I are preparing for a one-year anniversary photo shoot. Our wedding photos, shot by a local photography student, were horrible. So we have hired professional photographers to do an anniversary shoot at the NC Arboretum this week.

Unlike a normal anniversary (or engagement) shoot, this one will be a mini re-creation of our handmade wedding, including a small DIY wedding cake. We served a white cake with lemon curd and fresh raspberry filling, topped with Swiss Buttercream. I learned how to make this rich, but no-so-sweet buttercream on Smitten Kitchen's blog. Check out Project Wedding Cake for recipes and musings.

I love lemon curd for wedding cake filing, especially lemon curd pared with fresh raspberries. It's flavor is big and bright and just screams picnic, and summer, and happiness.

In addition to being absolutely delicious, homemade lemon curd seems incredible because people assume it's difficult or complicated to make. Nothing can be further from the truth. Lemon curd (also called lemon cheese in the South) uses a handful of simple ingredients, and can be made in less than a half an hour.

straining homemade lemon curd
Image from Figs with Brie

Lemon Curd Recipe:

3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup strained, fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium stainless-steel or enamel saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and grated lemon zest until light in color.

Add the strained lemon juice, and butter cut into small pieces.

Cook whisking, over medium heat until the butter is melted. Then whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and simmer gently for a few seconds. Using a spatula, scrape the filling into a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl and strain the filling into a bowl.

Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Let cool and refrigerate to thicken. It will keep refrigerated for about 1 week.

Homemade Lemon Curd
Image from Figs with Brie

Keys to the perfect lemon curd: To make great lemon curd, you must whisk constantly. I start whisking before I turn on the heat. Once you start to heat the mixture, it's even more important that you whisk constantly, or you'll end up with lemony scrambled eggs. Be patient when whisking. It may take up to five minutes for the eggs to thicken. When they finally come together and thicken, it's almost magical. It happens so fast. Just keep whisking until they do.

The second most important element to perfect lemon curd is straining. I skipped this step once and the lemon curd was gritty with zest. Gross. If you don't have a strainer, invest in one. You can find an inexpensive one for under $10.

For a 4-tiered wedding cake with 4", 6", 8", and 10" rounds that served 100 people, I made three batches of a doubled recipie, or eight cups of lemon curd. I had a little left over, which I served to my small bridal party as a treat a few days before the wedding.