Welcome to Natasha's Creative Confections! If you have stumbled upon this blog page, then you're in for a real treat! One of my favorite things to do is bake. If you choose to read on you will find pictures and recipes of some of the fabulous treats that I have created. So take a look around and enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lemon Layer Cake

For Easter this year I made a Lemon cake as the main dessert. I actually got the recipe from a Good Housekeeping magazine. I'm always kind of skeptical of magazine recipes because, I don't know, for some reason they don't turn out as good as I hope (for me anyway!) But this cake was a masterpiece...if I'm allowed to say that about something I made myself. :D

This wasn't just a plain lemon cake. It had three different, amazing components that made it so spectacular. Let me break it down: 3 layers of soft and fluffy lemon flavored cake, a zesty and tart lemon curd filling, and a creamy and light mascarpone frosting!

(Mascarpone cheese is such a treat! There is an amazing dessert: Blueberry Lemon Mascarpone cake, at a restaurant my family and I like to go to and I LOVE getting it!
This cheese tastes so good in lots of different desserts! If you've never had it before, you should definitely find a recipe that calls for it. You won't regret it!)

I had never made a curd filling before, and was a little nervous because I didn't want to end up with scrambled eggs. It was a little similar to making the creme brulee, but went so much faster I was scared I was going to ruin it! My stovetop heated up too quickly, and before I knew it, it seemed like I was jumping ahead almost to it being finished when I thought I should've been just starting! This curd though, turned out amazing! I was actually really impressed with myself for it being my first time doing it! I didn't expect it to hold the right consistency, color, or anything! I was just certain that something about it wouldn't turn out right, but it was PERFECT!

The frosting was not a buttercream, but a whipped cream, which I think gave the cake a whole different flavor. The creaminess of the whipping cream with the mascarpone cheese was delightful :) The frosting also had some fresh lemon zest in there to add even more lemon flavor to the cake as a whole! It wasn't overpowering at all, but you do have to like lemon to enjoy this cake!

For the lemon curd filling:
-4 large egg yolks
-1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
-1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
-1/2 c. fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice
-4 tsp. cornstarch
-6 Tbsp. butter
-1/2 c. sugar
-1/4 c. sour cream

1. Prepare curd: In medium bowl, with wire whisk, stir egg yolks until blended. In 2-quart saucepan, whisk lemon peel and juice, grapefruit juice, and cornstarch until smooth. Add butter and sugar. Heat to boiling on med-high, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2 mins. or until thickened, whisking constantly. Gradually add 1/4 c. of the mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly; return mixture to saucepan. Cook on medium-low 7-12 mins, or until curd is very thick, whisking constantly.
2. Transfer curd to medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 2 hours or until cold and stiff, up to 1 week. When ready to use, fold in sour cream until well combined.

For the cake layers and mascarpone frosting:
-3 to 4 lemons
-1 Ruby Red Grapefruit
-2 1/4 c. cake flour
-1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 c. vegetable oil
-5 large eggs, separated, plus 2 lg. egg whites
-1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
-8 oz. mascarpone cheese
-1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
-1 c. confectioners' sugar
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Prepare cake layers: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottoms of three 9-in. round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; grease parchment paper. From lemons, finely grate 4 tsp. peel and squeeze 1/4 c. juice. From grapefruit, squeeze 1/2 c. juice, set aside.
2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, blend flour, 1 c. granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center. Add oil, 5 egg yolks, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and 2 tsp. lemon peel; whisk into dry ingredients until smooth.

3. In another large bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat 7 egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 c. granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, and beat until whites just stand in stiff peaks when beaters are lifted.

With rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of whites mixture into yolk mixture to loosen the batter, then fold in the remaining whites mixture.
4. Divide batter among prepared pans. Gently smooth tops. Bake 25-35 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly touched with finger. Cool completely in pans on wire racks. With knife, carefully loosen cake from sides of pans. Invert onto wire racks. Cake layers can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temp. up to 1 day.
5. Prepare frosting: In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat mascarpone and cream to combine. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Increase speed to med-low and beat until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla and remaining 2 tsp. lemon peel until well blended.
6. Assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, flat side up. Spread with half of curd and top with another cake layer, flat side up. Spread remaining curd on top. Top with remaining cake layer, flat side up.

Frost side and top of cake with frosting. Refrigerate assembled cake at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours to allow flavors to meld and frosting to set. To serve, let stand at room temp. 15 mins.

**I added some flowers that I picked up from this cute baking shop called, Nancy's Fancy's. I hope to learn how to make my own flowers someday soon! You can jazz this cake up with any decoration you like. I wanted to keep it "springy" with flowers since it was for Easter, but there are lots of different decorations that would look good since it is a white frosting! :D


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