…say that 3 times fast.
This past Saturday, we had a housewarming party in the form of an open house. We bought our first home in early June, took possession mid July, and moved in near the end of August. We finally finished our first round of renovations a month or so ago, so decided it was time to show people what we’d done. We didn’t provide dinner, but between a few different loaves of bread (with fondue for dipping), individual quiches, and last week & this week’s heavenly cake projects, I don’t think anyone went away hungry.
I started out this week’s project on Monday night, by making the lemon curd. Rose says it keeps in the fridge up to 3 weeks before the “fresh citrus flavor” starts to dull.
See all the lemon zest in there under the strainer? Yeah, I misread the recipe and used all of my zest there, rather than saving some for the cake. Oops. On to cooking the curd. Our kitchen has such bad lighting that I couldn’t tell when it went from translucent to opaque, but I can see it clearly now in the pictures!
As someone else mentioned, once you’ve done this sort of thing a few times, it becomes fairly intuitive as to when it’s properly cooked. It doesn’t even take as much practice as you might expect.
Next day was making the cake layers. I decided to do the entire batch in a single 12″ square pan. This way I could cut it in half, torte each half, and stack it all up. This also meant I could cut it ahead of time into little individual portions (picture later). The cake is a fairly standard butter cake, but the addition of white chocolate provides a wonderful tenderness.
I expected the batter to take me a little longer to mix up than it did, so I ended up having to keep the prepared cake sitting on the counter for a bit while I waited for a sourdough loaf to finish baking. It turns out I didn’t wait long enough and the sourdough ended up doughy, but my husband and I are enjoying it as toast. So, into the prepared pan the batter goes. I put a flower nail upside down in the centre of the pan first, as a bit of a heating core. The batter was so thin in the pan that I was sure this would be next to impossible to torte, but I forged ahead anyway.
The cake came out perfectly level with a beautiful crumb.
So, I stacked the layers with a piece of greaseproof cardboard in between, wrapped them up and stored them overnight in the fridge.
Next up: the white chocolate lemon buttercream!
I took my mise en place pictures twice. See if you can spot where I went wrong, before I re-read the recipe and fixed my mistake.
If you guessed that I should be using the saucepan for simmering water instead of directly for melting my butter, white chocolate and scraped vanilla beans, you guessed right!
Now, if you read my previous post, you know that despite fixing that error, I still had problems at this stage. Something caused my white chocolate to seize. I tried beating it back together with my hand mixer, but it didn’t help at all. Since adding eggs was the next step, I gradually beat those in, using my electric hand mixer, and ended up with a smooth and creamy custard. I was too embarrassed and frustrated to take a picture of the broken mess, but I’m really glad I didn’t throw it out. For one thing, it would have been an hour round-trip to get replacement white chocolate, and I definitely wouldn’t have finished the frosting that evening.
After letting that reach the required temperature, then cooling it down, you beat up the butter, then beat the custard into that. I absolutely loved the flavour of this frosting at this stage. I said to my husband, “I really don’t like white chocolate, but I think this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.” It was like licking the beaters from vanilla cake batter, but without the uncooked flour & egg taste. Seriously fantastic, and I think it’s going to become my go-to frosting for a cake that doesn’t require a solid white base for decorating. Since this was going on a lemon cake, though, I forged ahead and added the lemon curd, though I have to admit I didn’t wait 2 hours.
I did put the frosting into the fridge overnight, and tackled assembly the next day.
My assembled cake doesn’t look all that great, but it doesn’t look too bad after cutting off the sloppy edges and cutting it up into servings.
You can see my leftover bits of baby chocolate oblivion there, too. I added a little swirl of a peanut butter buttercream sort of thing. I basically took a recipe for “Reese’s peanut butter filling” and beat in some butter to thicken it up a bit and smooth it out to my tastes. The chocolate Oblivions and lemon layer cake were both big hits at our party, and I think my cousins went home with too much sugar and holding their stomachs. 🙂 My coworkers finished up the handful of leftovers today at work.