General Robert E. Lee Cake

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  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Dash of salt

Lemon Jelly Filling

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup butter

Lemon-Orange Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Grated rind of 2 oranges


  1. Cake: Grease and flour four 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar and baking powder four times. Beat egg yolks with a rotary or electric beater until very thick, light and creamy. Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue beating until mixture is smooth and pale yellow. (This is a sponge cake, essentially, so thorough beating is imperative.) Stir in lemon rind and lemon juice.
  3. Beat egg whites and salt until egg whites stand in peaks. Fold into egg yolk mixture alternately with the flour until well mixed.
  4. Spoon into cake pans and bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pans.
  5. Loosen edges with a knife and turn out on cake racks to cool while you prepare the Lemon Jelly Filling and Lemon-Orange Frosting.
  6. Lemon Jelly Filling: Mix egg yolks with sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice and cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
  7. Add butter and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes or until filling is smooth and very thick.
  8. Cool, then spread between layers of cooled cake.
  9. Lemon-Orange Frosting: Beat or work butter until it has the appearance of thick cream. Stir in confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, and continue working until mixture is very smooth.
  10. Beat in egg yolk and lemon juice.
  11. Stir in enough orange juice to make a spreadable frosting, then add grated lemon and orange rind.
  12. Spread on sides and top of cake.