The accidental (Meyer) lemon
My friends are getting married like water comes out of a faucet. Haha, ok, maybe that was a bad joke. But I know five couples who got engaged in the last year, one of whom just got engaged a few weeks ago! To celebrate, a bunch of us got together for “family dinner,” a (once but no longer regular) dinner gathering of a bunch of church friends to simulate the families we could not share a meal with. Also, it was a way to learn how to cook. Yeah, those first few meals…only one or two made real food.
My roommate wanted to bake a cake to celebrate the couple, but with time constraints, I offered to make it instead. I haven’t made one in awhile, and truth be told, I really just wanted to make a cake, much as I love this couple 🙂 Hee, what can I say? Baking is soothing and you always get results! Unlike lab, but that is a different story. Anyway, I had yet to find a favorite cake recipe, but I believe with this cake, I have found it!
It’s a lemon-raspberry layer cake – lemon cake layers with lemon curd and raspberry jam fillings, frosted with buttercream, and decorated with chocolate ganache. Being car-less in the city and having an awesome roommate, I asked her and her fiance to pick up some lemons and milk for me since they were going to the grocery store. Strangely though, Shaw’s did not have regular lemons, but only Meyer lemons. I’d never used them before, but I’d heard of them and they sounded cool, so I was excited. I read up a little and learned that they’re slightly sweeter; hence the curd recipe below reflects that with less sugar. Actually, since I prefer less sweet sweets (that sounds weird, but you know what I mean), I modified most below to use less sugar, although with the buttercream, I kept as is, though I would like to try it sometime with less sugar and butter. Next cake 🙂
Lemon white cake (adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Dessert First)
Makes a 9-inch cake (though I cut it in half for a 6-inch cake, perfect for a large potluck where there’s already too much food)
- 2-1/2 c cake flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/3 c buttermilk (or mix a little more than 1 T lemon + milk to make up final volume, let stand a few minutes)
- 4 egg whites (set aside yolks for curd)
- 1-1/4 c sugar
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk together buttermilk and egg whites.
- In stand mixer bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest by rubbing together with fingers.
- Add butter to sugar-zest mixture. Beat 3 min with paddle attachment until fluffy.
- Add lemon extract to butter-sugar-zest.
- Alternately add dry and liquid mixtures to mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the dry. Beat 2 min more after all added.
- Butter and flour 2 9-inch baking pans. Divide batter evenly into the pans. Alternately, if you only have one pan like I do, foil the pan and spray with cooking spray. When one is done baking, let sit to cool for a few minutes, then pull out the foil, and repeat with foil and spray for the second layer.
- Bake 30 min (same time for 6-inch cake)
Meyer lemon curd (from The Joy of Cooking via Smitten Kitchen)
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 c sugar (use 1-1/2 c if regular lemons)
- 3 Meyer lemons, zest grated and juiced
- 1/4 c butter
- Combine yolks, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, whisking over a double boiler. Stir until mixture thickens (about 160F).
- Remove from heat. Stir in butter 1 T at a time.
- Cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap touching curd. Refrigerate to complete thickening.
Swiss buttercream (from Smitten Kitchen, yes, I love reading her blog, haha)
I couldn’t understand it at first, but the first time I made this, it was a success. The next time and this time, the white peaks never quite got there. I realized for small volumes (like 1-2 whites), the stand mixer was too big. After throwing out a batch, I tried it with a handheld mixer and it worked. It turned more of a marshmallow-y egg white peak, but it came together. phew.
- 1 c sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 3 sticks + 2 T butter, RT (very important! Once, I took it straight out of the fridge and it did not work!!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, or other flavoring
- Whisk egg whites and sugar together over double boiler until sugar dissolves (rub mixture between fingers – there should be no granules)
- Use mixer to ship until turns white and doubles in size.
- Add vanilla.
- Add butter 1 stick at a time. Whip until comes together (a long time).
- 2 cake layers
- lemon curd
- seedless raspberry jam
- Swiss buttercream
- Slice cake layers in half so there are 4 total.
- Place one on cake stand or plate. Pour about half of lemon curd. Spread until about 1 cm from the edge.
- Place next cake layer on top of curd. Spread enough raspberry jam to cover layer until about 1 cm from edge.
- Place third cake layer on top of jam. Pour remaining lemon curd and spread to 1 cm from edge.
- Place fourth cake layer on top. You’re done! Yay!
- Crumb coat with buttercream. Fridge for a little bit.
- Finish icing cake with buttercream.
- Dye buttercream to use for decorating. Or I used leftover ganache.
You know, I wrote this post back in April but was too tired to post it? Also, I never wrote my birthday post! I will have to rectify that at a later date as I am procrastinating writing my lesson plans for Summerbridge (more on that later). Anyway, this is still my favorite cake to bake 😀 My roommate took a picture but alas, it’s on her computer. haha, too bad, cause it looked quite nice…