Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lemon Cake

This cake is from Betty Crocker's Cake Decorating. Following the tradition from when we were little, I got this book so the girls could choose whatever cake they wanted for their birthdays. Yes, I even made a Dinosaur Cake one year. It didn't look half bad either.

The great thing about Betty Crocker cookbooks is that they really have been tested well so the recipes are foolproof. This cake is the Spring Flower Cake which has Yellow Layer Cake with Lemon Butter Frosting. Between the layers I used Lemon Filling from the Umbrella Shower Cake, which was similar to a lemon pie filling and quite deliciously tart. (Quite meaning "very" in the American sense, not the British usage ... which I found out a while back when listening to CraftLit means "so so." Language use is so interesting, isn't it?)

Anyway, back to the recipe. All the above use of pieces from here and there was because I dislike White Mountain Frosting (a 7-minute boiled frosting that is similar to ... maybe melted marshmallows? ick!) which is what was called for in the Lemon Allegretti Cake that Tom chose. Also, it would have white cake layers which are all right, I suppose, but yellow are just as good and I didn't feel like separating eggs. Not a big deal, but just felt fiddly to me.

So, there you are. All that considering took me several enjoyable days as I thought about options. I knew that Tom wouldn't care as long as he had a lemon cake.

The verdict?

Absolutely delicious and very lemony.

Tom said that the lemon filling was too tart on the first day but felt it had calmed down by the second day. I didn't notice any calming down but loved the tartness on both days. Perhaps his expectations were different on the second day?

The filling was rather loose and I would have added a bit more cornstarch or a bit less lemon juice perhaps so it was firmer between the layers. No matter what, make it the day before so it is cooled down in the fridge and as firm as possible.

I must also admit that I completely missed the part where I was to split the cake layers so that the cake had four layers total. I think that would have made the cake more elegant and also spread the lemon "hit" more effectively throughout the cake. Ah, well. There's always next time.

Am I right? Of course I am!

Yellow Layer Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 round 9" cake pans. Beat all ingredients in large bowl on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until blended, about 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes. Divide batter between pans.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Lemon Filling
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 drops yellow food color (I didn't use this)

Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water gradually. cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add lemon peel and butter. Stir in lemon juice and food color; cool. If filing is too soft, refrigerate until set.

Lemon Butter Frosting
6 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1/4 cup lemon juice

Beat all ingredients on high speed until frosting is smooth and spreading consistency. If necessary, stir in additional lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Note: I downsized this since the recipe is to also fill a cake. I used 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup butter, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. If you plan on decorating cake then you may want to make the entire amount.

To Assemble
Split cake to make 4 layers.

Fill layers with Lemon Filling.

Frost cake with Lemon Butter Frosting. If decorating, put extra frosting into cake decorating tube and swirl away!

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