It's my mom's birthday and, upon request, I made her a lemon layer cake. I tried to convince her to let me experiment with flavors, like adding a layer of dark chocolate ganache and raspberries, but she just looked at me like I was crazy. Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like an interesting flavor combination? O.K. Never mind. Anyway, I went ahead and made a vanilla butter cake with lemon curd filling. She specifically asked me to use hybrid buttercream frosting and absolutely no rollled fondant whatsoever...not even for decorations.
Since I haven't practiced on my piping skills for a while, I decided to do a scrollwork design in her favorite colors: red and black. I wasn't following a particular pattern or anything. However, I was inspired by Rosebud Cake's Flamenco wedding cake. Instead of individual scrolls like in their design, I decided to pipe branching scrolls and tried not to overlap them. I also piped triple dots wherever there was an empty space.
My mom absolutely loved her cake. She was wearing red and black on her birthday (do I know my mom or what) so her cake matched her perfectly.
Vanilla Butter Cake
Allergy Note: contains eggs, dairy and wheat
I've been using Wilton's vanilla butter cake recipe for a while now. The taste and texture reminds me of a pound cake but it's not as dense. I just made some very slight adjustments for my own use.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch or 9-inch pans. Beat together butter, oil and sugar till light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs one at a time then pour in vanilla extract. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
Allergy Note: contains eggs and dairy
I've tried quite a few lemon curd recipes and I'm pretty happy with this one. The unflavored gelatin seems to help stabilize the lemon curd.
1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin with 3 tbsp. water
3/4 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
In a small bowl, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the water. Set aside. Mix together lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat then add the unflavored gelatin. Mix until gelatin is dissolved completely. Refrigerate for a few hours before using.
Hybrid Buttercream Frosting
Allergy Note: contains dairy
My own crazy creation (see story here). It's smooth like meringue buttercream but it's made of classic buttercream ingredients plus some whipping cream.
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup cold whipping cream
red and black food coloring (gel or paste works best)
Beat the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract at low speed until combined. Slowly add the warm milk. It will separate at first, but don't worry - give it a few minutes and it will start coming back together. Increase the speed a little to whip it up a bit. Slowly pour in the cold whipping cream. Whip for a few more minutes and it should start to look smooth. It may curdle or separate again when you pour in the whipping cream, but give it some time and it will smooth out again.