Gâteau Gaune Citron Epique
Just kidding. It’s just Epic Lemon Cake. I thought it might sound cooler in French.
Do I speak French? No I do not. I got that off the Google translator!
Anyways, finally, as promised ages ago;
Epic Lemon Cake!
Why epic? Because I’m not much of a baker, and taking on a nine hour baking project is very much out of character for me.
And because it required five trips to the grocery store (count ’em. Five: one to get the ingredients, another to buy two cake pans, another to buy another cake pan because I actually needed three, one to buy cake flour because Ye Safeways didn’t have any, and one more to buy more cake flour because the first bag was whole wheat and who wants a whole wheat birthday cake? Never mind that the second bag turned out to be whole wheat too…I solved the problem as detailed below!), two bags of whole wheat pastry flour (see previous parenthetical run-on sentence), two pounds of lemons, and the aforementioned nine hours to make.
So, now it’s Epic Lemon Cake. But if you wanted to look for the recipe online, I suggest you go to Bon Apetit magazine’s website and search for Lemon Curd Layer Cake. Or click on this link here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/1999/03/lemon_curd_layer_cake Or go to the bottom of this page where I will have painstakingly copied and pasted the entire recipe, just for you!
And don’t let all the above scare you off from making this cake. It. Is. Amazing.
Words can’t even begin to describe…
Anyways, it hardly seems fair to describe step-by-step how I made this cake, since all I did was exactly what the recipe said to do.
Except I used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.
And I mixed a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch into the all-purpose flour, because I read online that it helps.
And it might have, I don’t know. I don’t really have a frame of reference to compare.
Anyways I’ll try to keep this briefer than the actual process was.
I’ll just say that you need to make the lemon curd first.
Zest and juice lemon after lemon after lemon, until you have about a cup of lemon juice.
And then use all that lemon juice with lots of sugar and some corn starch,
to make lemon curd.
Then pour the lemon curd through a strainer.
Making lemon curd (for those of you who have never made it before) is not difficult. It’s not even that time consuming…the longest, most difficult part is letting it chill completely without eating it all first.
Cover it with plastic wrap pressed right into the surface of the curd to keep a skin from forming on top while it chills.
It has to chill completely for this recipe. And this takes hours.
Lemon curd, despite its unappetizing name, is delicious and refreshing and wonderful…you could stop here and pour the curd into little premade tart shells and top it with blueberries, or just serve it in a bowl with some whipped cream on top and vanilla wafers to dip in it!!
Or you can continue making Epic Lemon Cake.
Which involves buttering
and flouring three 9″ cake pans.
and then lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
I use the bottom of the pan to draw a circle on the parchment paper then cut around it. Just make sure you put the side you drew on towards the pan so you don’t get ink or pencil lead in your cake.
The batter for the cake involved lots of mixing of dry ingredients with each other and then with some of the curd, and beating of egg whites and folding gently of said egg whites into the lemon curd mixture and whatnot (details in the recipe below).
Why no pictures? I got so caught up in measuring and double checking all my ingredients and mixing and folding that I completely forgot about my camera!
Lucky for you or this post would be about twenty photos longer.
The batter is beautiful. It is fluffy and creamy and wonderful and oh-so tempting, with little specks of lemon zest….
Pour it into your cake pans, and unless your eggs are pasteurized, avoid ladling out a giant spoonful and inhaling it.
Or do, I’m not gonna judge. But leave enough for the cakes!
Bake these babies in a preheated oven until golden brown and baked through!
These are going to require more cooling. I left mine out on the counter for an hour then placed them in the freezer for a few more hours. It’s okay if they freeze completely….they will just be that much easier to frost!
You can make the frosting as soon as the lemon curd is completely chilled through, since it will need a few hours in the fridge to become firm. Just beat some cream until stiff peaks form,
mix some of the curd with powdered sugar,
and fold the two mixtures together gently.
This combination is heavenly. I could have eaten it by the spoonful by itself until I made myself sick.
I wanted to freeze it and make it into ice cream.
I want some of this mixture in my mouth every single day until the day I die.
I gotta tell ya, the only reason I didn’t eat it all right then and there is I needed it to frost a cake with, and this was a birthday cake, so there was just no getting around it. I needed it.
Stick the frosting and remaining lemon curd in the fridge and the cakes in the freezer, and go play Mario Kart on you and your hubby’s
brand new Wii for a few hours.
Like, at least five hours.
When everything is completely chilled you can begin assembling.
This is important. If the cake is even just a little bit warm all the curd and frosting will melt and make a general mess of the cake, the counter, your kitchen, and life in general.
You might even want to wait until the next day to begin.
The assemblage goes in this order:
Cake, curd, frosting.
Cake, curd, frosting.
Cake, frosting all over the whole thing, curd on top, decorate, done!
Let this chill for several more hours so it all sets up. I even stuck mine in the freezer for a couple of hours before dinner. Whatever
you do, make sure it stays chilled all the time. This is not the sort of cake that benefits by being out on the counter.
When you are ready, dip a large knife in hot water. Slice, serve and savor!
(Now, you may very well be asking yourself: “ why aren’t there any pictures of the whole cake?” It couldn’t be because I spent hours
agonizing over the frosting, trying to get it smooth and perfect and beautiful. And then I finally finished and stuck the cake in the fridge. And then the whole thing sort of gave a sigh and a slump and just sort of….slouched over to one side. And then it was lopsided and the top was slanted. And then the scallops around the top that I had worked so hard to make pretty just sort of…slid off half of the cake, taking all the frosting on that side with it.
Nnaaaahhh, it couldn’t be that, could it?
I’ll leave that one up to your imagination.
A cake decorator I am NOT!)
Anyways, here’s the whole recipe!
EPIC LEMON CAKE
For lemon curd
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup(1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Combine 2 1/3 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours.
DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1 1/4 cups lemon curd
Beat powdered sugar and 1 1/4 cups lemon curd in large bowl just until blended. Beat cream in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold cream into curd mixture in 3 additions. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon peel
8 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with parchment paper.
Whisk 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add 4 yolks, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, orange juice, lemon peel and 3/4 cup curd to bowl (do not stir).
Combine whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.
Using same beaters, beat yolk mixture until smooth. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.
Divide batter equally among prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.
Spoon 1 cup frosting into pastry bag fitted with plain round tip; refrigerate bag.
Place 1 cake layer on cake platter. Spread top of cake layer with 1/3 cup curd, then 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer; spread with 1/3 cup curd and 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Spread remaining curd over top of cake, leaving 3/4-inch plain border around edge. Pipe chilled 1 cup frosting in bag in small mounds around edge of cake.
DO AHEAD Cake can be prepared 1 day ahead; refrigerate.
Slice cake and serve.
EAT AND BE HAPPY!!!
Oh, by the way…
Why yes, yesterday was my next food challenge. I fell behind in planning a little bit last week, but I’m still on schedule.
We had fish tacos.
Made ’em myself.
I’ll tell ya all about it tomorrow!
You know me.