We love chocolate cake in our house and I have my favourite chocolate mudcake recipe that I generally pull out for birthdays but for Ava’s Party I needed an alternative. For Ava’s actual birthday day I made a three layer mudcake with pink (Ava’s request) buttercream frosting. After a big lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant with my family I consumed far too much of that pink chocolate cake which resulted in absolute repulsion at the thought of eating any chocolate cake in the near future.
Inspired by a large bowl of lemons sitting on my dining room table and a love for citrus flavours I decided on some kind of lemon cake. After a quick google search for ‘Lemon Birthday Cake’ I came across this recipe and fell in love. I have never had anything like it and now feel as though I had been living under a rock. It is the cake version of a lemon meringue pie and however invented it is a genius.
I LOVE this recipe, it is really quite simple and so very delicious. The meringue frosting is a crisp white rather than the yellowy colour you get from buttercream and although it is really sweet, it is light, lovely and easy to eat without that sickly feeling. The frosting is also really fun to work with and just magically makes a spectacular looking cake without much effort.
The cake I made was by no means perfect but I was so proud of this cake that I was telling everyone how awesome it was for days. Everyone should try this cake.
The Shopping List
250grams butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted self-raising flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 lemons, zest grated and juiced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
…And what to do with it
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
To make the cake: Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely.
To make the filling: Place the ingredients in the double boiler over boiling water. Don’t let top pan touch the water. Cook and stir until mixture begins to gel or thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
To make the frosting: Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
To assemble, add 1 tablespoon of filling to the cake pedestal. Run hands along the side of the cake to remove excess crumbs. Place the cake layers on the pedestal, spreading filling between the layers and on top. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining filling. Frost top and sides of cake with frosting.
Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint or whatever you desire.