birthday, celebration, Feasts and Festivals, fruity cakes and bakes
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Layers of Light and Lemon

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This week at school one of my classes and I ran a fundraising event for Marie Curie. We held a Blooming Great Tea Party, and did various activities in order to raise money for this very worthwhile charity that offers support of all kinds to people with a terminal illness, and to their families and loved ones.

I had agreed to bake some treats for the tea party and to make a cake to be raffled off. I went for a Spring like look that tasted fresh, and came up with this. A few people were asking for the recipe so I thought I’d write it up this morning.

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I hadn’t intended to write a blog post about this cake so didn’t document the making of it in photographic steps, so apologies for that.

For the Sponge:

200g of Butter, at room temperature

200g of Caster Sugar

200g of Self Raising Flour

4 Medium Eggs

The zest of 1 Lemon (unwaxed)

For the Lemon Syrup:

45g of Caster Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Lemon juice

For the filling and decoration:

300g of Butter, at room temperature

400g of Icing Sugar, sieved

The zest of 2 Lemons (unwaxed)

The juice of 1/2 a Lemon

5 heaped Tablespoons of Lemon Curd (I used a good quality shop bought)

Lemon shaped jelly sweets

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and grease and line two deep 6″ round baking tins. [I actually only have one such tin myself so made the two cakes one by one using half of the ingredients]
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add an egg with a sparse spoon of flour and mix in well. Then do the same with the other egg.
  4. Add the Lemon zest, mix through, then fold in the rest of the flour. 
  5. Split the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for about 30-35 mins until golden, springy and a cocktail sticks comes out clean when inserted.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out to cool completely before moving on to the next stage (I baked my cakes the night before and left to cool overnight).
  7. Make the lemon syrup by heating the sugar and lemon juice over a medium heat in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.
  8. Level both cakes then cut them in half so that you have four layers. Brush or pour the lemon syrup evenly across all four layers, especially to the edges where it can get dry quicker. You can do this whilst the syrup is still warm.
  9. Make your buttercream by whisking the soft butter in a mixer (you can do it by hand but you had better have strong arms) and gradually add the icing sugar. When it is all blended in and soft taste test. If you are happy with it add the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, then mix once more.
  10. Assemble the cake by placing a layer of sponge on the cake board (or stand) followed by an even half inch layer of buttercream followed by a heaped tablespoon of lemon curd, spread out evenly and gently. Top with another sponge layer and repeat. Do this with all four layers until the last one, which you leave naked on top.
  11. Crumb coat the whole cake with buttercream. What I mean by that, if you are unfamiliar with the phrase, is to give the whole cake, sides and top, a thin layer of icing that will trap in any crumbs (or stray filling). Cool the cake in the fridge for at least half an hour in order for it to firm up.
  12. Now give the cake a thick and even coat all over, using a spatula and a bench scraper to achieve as smooth a finish as possible. This is made much easier by the fact that the cake is chilled and firmed. Make sure you leave about a cup to a cup and a half of buttercream for piping on the top. Put the cake back in the fridge for half an hour to an hour to really firm up.DSC_0031
  13. Gently heat the remaining Lemon Curd until it is runnier. You may even add a little boiled water to help with this. Put the runny Lemon Curd in a piping bag and put the chilled cake on a cake turntable, if you have one. Snip off the end of the piping bag and very carefully allow some curd to flow from the bag along the top edge of the cake and down the side in drips of differing lengths, at the same time turning the cake slowly. You only want the curd to be sitting just inside the top edge of the cake; you don’t want to cover the top of the cake with it . Here is a link to a video of me doing something similar with a chocolate glaze on my Facebook page, if that is any help.
  14. Put a large open star piping nozzle or tube in a piping bag then fill with the rest of the buttercream and pipe the stars all around the top of the cake, just slightly on top of the edge of lemon curd so that it covers where the curd stops. I used very sweet little lemon flavoured jelly shapes on top of the stars, but you could easily scatter some lemon coloured sprinkles, crushed meringue or grated lemon zest if you wish.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy trying out this cake. It really is very straightforward and you can make adjustments to suit your taste easily. You could always use Italian Meringue Buttercream for an even silkier finish; or crush meringues and scatter them on the lemon curd between the layers; or even pipe and bake meringue kisses and use them to top your cake.

 

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