Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lemon Cream Cake

This weekend we celebrated my mother-in-law's "not a day over 30"-th birthday.  For this special occasion, I made Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake---Tara style.  (Same cake recipe I used for the Lemon cupcakes) The original recipe is a very white lemon-scented cake with an 'egg-white' buttercream, layers of raspberry preserves, and covered in coconut.  I made a lemon cake with homemade lemon curd filling and a lemon-cream cheese-buttercream.  Mmmm....

I originally intended to just use the buttercream recipe that the cake recipe called for, but I wasn't a huge fan. So I added some cream cheese and a little powdered sugar and ended up with a delicious fluffy, whipped cream cheese frosting.  

The lemon curd recipe was from Ina Garten and it was absolutely delicious.  Tart and sweet.  I have the extra bit in a container in the fridge and have been eating it by the spoonful. 

Once again, didn't get good quality daylight pictures of the cake when we cut it, but you'll get the idea from the ones below.  

The frosting was very delicate so the cake needs to be refrigerated.  I brought it out about 2 hours before serving and you can already tell that it was getting pretty soft.  

I loved this cake.  The lemon-scented fluffy white cake with a fluffy white frosting that wasn't too sweet and the tangy lemon curd...YUM.  Will definitely be making this again.  If you don't want to go through the trouble of making the egg-white buttercream, I think just a traditional lemon cream cheese frosting would be great, as well. 

Lemon Cream Cake

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake 
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2- 8 inch cake pans.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the lemon extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Evenly distribute batter into cake pans. 
Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cakes to cooling racks.  Cool completely before frosting. 

Buttercream (modified):
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 oz) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 large lemons)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar

Put sugar and egg whites into large heat proof bowl and fit bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat until hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.  The sugar should be dissolved and mixture should look like shiny marshmallow cream.  Remove bowl from heat.

Working with the whisk attachment, beat the meringue on medium speed until cool, about 5 minutes.  Add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.  Once all of the butter is in, beat the buttercream on medium speed until it is thick and smooth, 6-10 minutes.  During this time, buttercream may curdle or separate, keep beating until it comes together again.  

Modified version:
Add package of cream cheese to buttercream and blend until smooth.  Gradually add in 2 cups of powdered sugar or until desired consistency or sweetness. 

Lemon Curd (Ina Garten)

3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice, 3-4 lemons
1/8 tsp salt

To make lemon curd:
Removed the zest of 3 lemons and place in food processor with sugar.  Pulse until zest is finely minced with sugar.  Cream the butter in separate bowl, add in sugar/lemon mixture.  Add eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Add lemon juice and salt.  Place in saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  (about 10 minutes or 170degrees). Remove from heat and cool, then refrigerate in air tight container. 

To assemble cake:
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally.  Put one layer or cake plate or cardboard cutout, spread layer of lemon curd, followed by layer of frosting.  Place 2nd cake round on top and repeat.   Continue until last layer then use remaining buttercream to frost top and edges.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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