a cake built for two {plus enough for two short stacks.}

okay now let's switch gears.
yes i know i just told you to eat chocolate for breakfast. that valentines is all about chocolate...but you can have too much of a good thing, right?
don't you think after making the pain au chocolate, indulging in some afternoon chocolate hearts {it is VALENTINES after all?}, thankfully accepting some chocolates from your kids, husband, significant other...don't you think by 5pm you may be over chocolate just a little bit?

thought so.
ladies {and gents}...start your engines!

who doesn't enjoy a little lemon in winter?
helps with the blues. awakens the taste buds. provides us with memories of summer and sunshine.

here i am going to let you in on my little secret...my lemon cake.

i once doubted myself about it once upon a time. i thought since i didn't have my own cookbook how could mine be any good? i should defer to the lucky and use their recipe. it's in print, has a gorgeous photo beside it. love. so i made it. i made it for a dinner party and i actually served it to people. as i took my first bite i felt my face fall. it was disgusting! how could i serve this to people?! more to the point - how could i take this away from them without them knowing and freeze time just like in out of this world, whip up THIS version and serve that instead?! WHY had i doubted myself?!

because that's my M.O. i have no confidence in myself most days. i question my decisions over and over and go to THAT place all the time. yet i know i have the skills and what i make IS delicious. i served this in my bakery for pete's sake! it was a hit! but i guess sometimes the grass is always greener......

plus i have mad respect for anyone with a cookbook - i am sort of a cookbook junkie. a collector as it were. but i knew better. in the back of my mind i was questioning why i wasn't just making mine and why was i making one that contained shortening? oh well, live and learn. so now you may question my validity here and ask yourself if mine is good enough for YOU. well i have made this enough times since to say yes it is and if you are not satisfied i shall refund your money, no questions asked. i understand. believe me.

my one hurdle with this cake - or any cake! - is the decorating.  i am not a cake decorator by any means. i think i missed that gene when they were passing them out. i can make a mean cake that will have you talking forever {yeah i know - a little full of myself there! ha!} but....you will never be talking about how pretty it looked. ever. because they are not. maybe it's that i am shaking too much after sampling the icing every 5 seconds. or that i tend to rush that part. fact is: i suck at it and i am okay with that. if THAT is my one fault {here i go again! i'm on a roll} then i can live with it.


come to think of it i may start a new trend that doesn't require any decorating at all - deconstructed cakes. a chunk of cake here. a blob of icing there. some filling drizzled over the top, coulis style.
not meant to be pretty and you won't agonize over it.
it will be all the rage.
i'm so cool.


make this for your friends and family. they will thank you for it & love you too.

happy valentines to you and yours.

meyer lemon buttermilk cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, lemon curd and a healthy dose of sweetened shredded coconut {toasted if you dare!}

the original design on this cake was inspired by stephmodo and a similar one she had made - using different taste elements though. i have gone through the steps over and over may times on how she assembled it and i am calling bulls*%t. no way she got this to be like that. no way. as she is practically perfect in every way i will give her credit on most things but i will not believe this worked for her. do it this way: schmear a blob of lemon curd over the plate and lay your slice on it sideways gently nestling it into the bed of curd.
lemon cake, deconstructed. boom!

1 cup unsalted butter - room temperature.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour - spooned and leveled.
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp meyer lemon zest {using the zest you have in your freezer right??}
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp meyer lemon juice {ditto.}
1 cup buttermilk

sweetened shredded coconut.

lemon curd. recipe found here.

lemon cream cheese icing. recipe below.

for cake:
preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter and flour your tins. this recipe will make 2 9-inch rounds, 12 regular cups cakes. lots of mini's and enough for 3 3-inch layers {found great little spring form tins at homesense!} and about 20 mini's.

in a medium bowl mix together flour through to zest. set aside.

in a mixer with the paddle beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. add eggs and yolks one at a time till incorporated. add lemon juice to buttermilk. alternating, starting and ending with flour, add the flour mix and buttermilk to your butter mix. mix until just combined and smooth.

divide batter among your pans - being sure to weigh your pans if doing cakes - and place in your pre-heated oven. bake cake layers for 35 minutes, cupcakes for 20 and mini's for 12. let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. run knife along edges of pans and invert cakes on to wire racks to cool completely. brush with lemon syrup while still warm if desired.

lemon syrup you ask? that's a baker's secret that i am going to let you in on! you know how you get a bakery cake and they are so moist and you never seem to get that effect at home? simple syrup is the secret.
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
boil this together over medium and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. remove from heat and cool slightly. for lemon now add a 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice. poke your cake with a wooden skewer or fork all over and brush with syrup. repeat a few times if you want. save the rest for later.
there you go...the big secret!

assemble your cake: trim off top, if needed, flip over so the flat bottom is up and place you cake on a cake stand or platter with parchment or wax paper tucked underneath {so you can pull it out when you are done and have a clean surface. everyone will wonder how you got your cake up there!} and brush with more syrup if you want. now spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of frosting on the top and sprinkle the top with coconut. place the second layer on top and do the same {only add coconut here if you are going for three} and if you are going for three do that now but don't top with coconut yet. now ice the outside of the cake {crumb coat first, chill for about 20 minutes, then finish icing} and top to make one gorgeous white cake and then cover the entire outside, pressing it in, and top with as much coconut as you want!

lemon cream cheese icing:
8 oz of cream cheese - room temp
1/2 cup of unsalted butter - room temp
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of icing sugar - sifted into your bowl
2 to 4 tbsp of lemon juice

beat together the butter and cream cheese till smooth and incorporated. slowly add 1 1/2 pounds of your icing sugar and lemon juice. after adding in all your lemon juice decide whether you need more stiffness in your icing or not. if it's too runny add some more icing sugar a little at a time.


sheri said...

Looks great Jen - and your photos have been ahMAZING lately! xo

Jen said...

thanks so much sheri!! xo