Creamy Lemon Custard Angel Food Cake – Light and airy angel food cake layered and frosted with a creamy lemon custard filling.
It’s totally not my MO, but I’m moving full steam ahead on the “lighter” dessert train with this Creamy Lemon Custard Angel Food Cake. Bye, bye heavy fall and winter desserts! Say hello to the sweet treats of spring and summer!
Delicious desserts like this Creamy Lemon Custard Angel Food Cake that are a bit more on the light side are an excellent alternative to heavier chocolate desserts that aren’t quite as ideal in the spring and summer months. I suppose one could argue that custard and whipped cream aren’t exactly light, but who are they to judge? 😉
This Creamy Lemon Custard Angel Food Cake is yet another treasure I found in my grandma’s cookbook. My mom doesn’t remember this dessert at all, but it immediately caught my eye. One, because it was an angel food cake recipe to round out my angel food cake theme for April. And two, it uses a pre-made angel food cake (those you can find in your local grocery store bakery), which makes it that much easier to prep.
The base for the filling and frosting is a creamy lemon custard that is thickened a bit with gelatin and made even creamier with whipped cream.
If you’ve never made a custard before, don’t be afraid! It’s more about patience than anything. I think the biggest thing that is usually a concern is the eggs and not heating the custard enough. Not to worry! Use a double-boiler, heat gradually, stir occasionally, and you should be fine.
A good rule of thumb – the custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. The line should remain visible if you run your finger through the custard on the back of the spoon. If you have a kitchen thermometer, even better!
My custard took almost 45 minutes to get to temperature and thicken. Seems like a lot of time, but in the midst of doing other things around the kitchen or reading a magazine, it’s really no time at all. Patience is the key!
After chilling the custard base and whipping it into the whipped cream, you’re ready to assemble the cake. I found my store-bought angel food cake to be a bit crumbly on the outside, so I actually did a light crumb coat, chilled the cake for about 30 minutes, and then finished frosting the cake.
What is a crumb coat?
A crumb coat is just a really thin layer of frosting that keeps cake crumbs in place so they don’t mix in with the final coat of frosting.
You may or may not want to do a crumb coat. Just throwing that out there in case your angel food cake is super crumbly, and you don’t want to see the crumbs.
My husband and I totally loved this Creamy Lemon Custard Angel Food Cake and cried just a little bit when it was gone. So light and refreshing, it would be great for any springtime celebration. . .like maybe Mother’s Day in a few weeks (hint, hint). It’s a cake any mother would love!
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 envelope gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 angel food cake prepared
- Lemon custard filling from above
- Zest of 2 lemons (optional)
Mix egg yolks, milk, sugar, and cornstarch in in the top of a double boiler placed over simmering water. Cook until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. (Mixture will be around 170 degrees F. This may take 30-45 minutes. Don’t heat above 176 degrees.)
Dissolve gelatin in the ¼ cup water. Add gelatin mixture to hot custard and stir to combine. Cool completely. Then add vanilla extract and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into freezer-safe container and place in freezer for 1 hour, until mixture is somewhat stiff.
Meanwhile, chill mixing bowl and beaters in refrigerator for 1 hour. Add whipping cream and beat with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Fold the custard into the whipped cream beat on medium-high speed until smooth.
Cut angel food cake into 4 slices, lengthwise. Spread each cake layer with whipped custard about 1/4” thick. Assemble cake and frost the outside of the cake with the remaining whipped custard. Optionally, top with lemon zest.
Refrigerate for 12 hours. Serve cold.
Prep time does not include inactive time for chilling and refrigeration.