Lemon Cake Tasting......
We had a tasting at work on Saturday. My boss wants to revise her catering menu and she chose numerous items for us to test. On Friday, I made 3 lemon cakes and a tiramasu. I've made the tiramasu before( Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa). I won't really talk about that other to say its very easy to make and its not too sweet. Everyone loved it. Anyway, back to the lemon cakes. The first cake you see above is Fine Cooking's Triple Lemon Layer Cake. First, you make a lemon curd. I was in a rush getting out the door on Friday and I forgot the 3 magazines I needed for the recipes( My boss gave them to me to take home and review the recipes). Anyway, I thought " I'll just find it online". Well, it wasn't listed on Fine Cooking's website so I googled it and found it on Chowhound. I proceeded with the recipe, but the next day, I saw that the lemon curd recipe I used, was not the same as the one called for in the recipe. No matter though, the curd was really good and the author of the post on chowhound said it won Egullet's lemon curd tasting.
The curd is made in an unconventional method. First, you cream the butter and sugar together, then add eggs and lemon juice and cook over a double boiler. Lastly, you add the zest. This method is supposed to eliminate the need for straining out the eggs.
The cake is made by processing the zest with sugar and then creaming that with butter. From there its a straightforward recipe with cake flour, alternating with milk, etc. The frosting is a basic butter cream. Butter, confectioners sugar, lemon juice and zest. When I was assembling this cake, I chose a too small pedestal so I had trouble frosting it. I enjoyed this cake, it was very lemony. Everyone really liked it as well.
This cake was not my favorite. It was good, but nothing to write home about. However, it did have its fans. This cake came from an older issue of Gourmet. and you can find it online. The recipe starts with a lemon curd that is NOT cooked in a double boiler. It came together fast and honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between the this one and the Fine Cooking curd. The frosting is the curd lightened with whipped cream. I felt the cake was a tad dry and flavorless but other people liked it. I decorated it with some butterflies I picked up at the dollar store. Everyone kept referring to this cake as the butterfly cake.
This last cake was my favorite. I realized after this tasting that I'm not that big a fan of lemon curd. I like it, but its not something I'd make for myself. This cake is called citrus poppy seed cake. As is typical of Martha Stewart, this cake has 3/4lb of butter AND 7 eggs. The cake also has lemon, orange and lime zest. The frosting between the layers is silky cream cheese frosting( butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar). The topping is a lemon glaze.( lemon juice and confec. sugar) You then sprinkle more poppy seeds on top. One of my boss's guests thought this was dry, but really it hadn't come up to room temp yet so it was hard to distinguish the flavor.
My mother in law and niece came over for lunch yesterday and they tried the cakes and loved this one too. After making 3 cakes in one day, I can see why people spend 20-30 bucks for a crappy cake at a bakery. If you're not a baker per say, its a lot of work. I do cook and bake and it was still a lot of work for me, I was exhausted when I got home at 5:30pm.
Last but not least, here is a picture of the tiramasu.