For Evangeline's birthday party, I made a lemon poppy seed layer cake with lemon curd filling and stabilized whipped cream frosting. What a mouthful, but in the best possible way! By far, this was my proudest and quite possibly, yummiest cake I've made in the year and a half since I've been baking layered cakes. I won't withhold a recipe, so I wanted to share this labor of love with everyone. Partially to memorialize the recipe, but mainly to inspire the non-baker to bake.
I've always considered myself more of a cook than a baker, but when planning a party for family and friends a couple of Christmases ago, a strawberry layered cake kept begging me to make it. So I did and I've since made about 5 layered cakes and have loved the process each time. I've come to appreciate the exact measurements and specific details of a baking recipe. It brings more structure and well-roundedness to my cooking and is now my favorite part of planning a party.
I saved time by making all of the separate parts to this cake the night before and only had to worry about assembling the morning of the party. I read you can make the stabilized whipped cream frosting (recipe to follow) the night before and it glides smoothly on your cake after taking it out of the refrigerator. That's a lie. I had a mini panic attack as I spread my first lumpy layer of cream on top of the lemon curd, but then I had the thought of gently rewhipping the cream to regain the original smooth texture. It works perfectly! Phew!
The lumpy whipped cream frosting.
The smooth rewhipped whipped cream frosting.
Evangeline's party theme was an Enchanted Forest (all the details can be found here) and I wanted the cake's exterior to have a foraged look. There are several Etsy stores that sell edible butterflies and I found these chocolate-biscuit-shaped mushrooms to add to the cake decor. They're called Chocorooms and they taste amazing, went great with my theme, and Costco sells them, so they were basically perfect. Farmer's market berries and homegrown mint were as close to real foraging as I was going to get.
Baking is not always a piece of cake (heehee), but the more you do it, the easier and more rewarding it becomes. I find joy in baking, not simply because of the finished product, but because I love to create for my friends and family.
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LEMON POPPY SEED LAYER CAKE
Prep Time: 15 min Bake Time: 25 min Total Time: 40 min
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter
- 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup of whole milk at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans. Remove excess flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add one cup of sugar at a time, ensuring each cup is fully incorporated before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is fully incorporated before adding another.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds. In another bowl or spouted measuring cup, mix together the milks, extracts, and lemon zest. Add to the butter/shortening mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients.
- Distribute mixture equally between all three cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. To test for doneness, scoop out a small amount of cake or test with a toothpick. I find scooping more effective than using a toothpick and the frosting will hide the scooped out portion. Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Assemble cake with lemon curd and frosting.
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(Recipe by Fine Cooking)
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 15 min
- 1 cup (1 stick) of butter
- 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice (preferrably Meyer lemons)
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- Pinch of salt
- 6 egg yolks
- Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Whisk in egg yolks.
- Return the pan to medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5-6 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil,
- Immediately force the curd through a fine mesh sieve. Let cool at room temperature, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate until ready to use.
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STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING
(Recipe by Our Best Bites)
Prep Time: 2 min Cook Time: 8 min Total Time: 10 min
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 teaspoons of cold water
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let bloom for 5 minutes. Place in microwave or on the stove (whisking constantly) until gelatin dissolves.
- In a separate bowl, mix together heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add gelatin very slowly with mixer on high.
- Beat cream/gelatin mixture until medium-stiff peaks are reached.
(Photo 1 by Hons)