Chef Trevor Moran deconstructs his ornate take on the classic lemon cake, featuring Meyer lemons and St-Germain bubbles.

Catbird Seat's Little Lemon Cake
Credit: © Andrea Behrends

Chef Trevor Moran deconstructs his ornate take on the classic lemon cake, featuring Meyer lemons and St-Germain bubbles.

There are 17 components to Trevor Moran’s dessert at The Catbird Seat in Nashville. The chef based the recipe on a popular whipped-cream-and-cake-layered dessert he grew up eating in Dublin, but his baroque version incorporates aromatic herbs and goat-yogurt mousse to create an unusual, slightly savory flavor. “It’s essentially a composed salad,” he says.

Here, the anatomy of Moran's little lemon cake (pictured above):

1. Cucumber
Pea-size balls are infused with elderflower liqueur in a vacuum sealer.

2. Lemon Meringue
Egg white powder and lemon juice are whipped to stiff peaks, piped onto acetate and dehydrated.

3. Meyer Lemon
Freezing the peel tenderizes it before it’s compressed with simple syrup.

4. Fresh Herbs
Cilantro and basil blossoms add a savory flavor.

5. Sponge Cake
The batter is microwaved in a paper cup for 45 seconds.

6. Goat-Yogurt Mousse
Funky, tangy, cheesecake-like mousse is frozen, then cut into disks.

7. St-Germain Bubbles
Binding elderflower liqueur with alginic acid turns it into a delicate pearl of liquid.

The Catbird Seat; 1711 Division St.; the​catbird​