Birthday season in the Caked Crusader’s family continues at break-neck speed; this week it is the turn of the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma). The photo above shows her coloured flame candles and musical banner that flashed 'happy birthday' whilst playing a lovely rendition of the tune (i.e. the sort of electronic music that is enchanting for 30 seconds and then you want to stamp on the thing!).
I may have mentioned it once or twice (regular readers please feel free to yawn here) but the CCM is fanatical about all baked goods with a lemon theme. When I saw this recipe I knew I had found her birthday cake.
The recipe uses oil instead of a solid fat i.e. butter, which led to a light texture not dissimilar to the airy sponginess of a carrot cake. What I also liked was that instead of buttercream the coating and filling is whipped cream to which you add lemon curd. This creates an ultra light, creamy lemon curd.
It is extremely easy to make lemon curd and, even though I loathe lemon (regular readers – you may yawn again!) I can taste the difference to sugary shop-bought curds. Lemon curd is one of those things that I find ridiculously pleasing to make as it falls into the category of alchemy. You begin with a very thin liquid in the pan and just through heat and a bit of stirring it turns into luscious, thick golden curd in barely 15 minutes!
Happy birthday CCM!
For the cakes:
3 eggs, separated
115ml groundnut oil (you can use corn oil if you can’t find groundnut oil but most supermarkets stock it now)
225g plain flour
3 level teaspoons baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 lemons - zest and juice
For the lemon curd:
1 lemon – zest and juice
75g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
For the filling and covering:
350ml whipping cream
Lemon curd (quantity as made above)
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking paper.
- Combine the egg yolks with the water and oil and beat until combined.
- Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl i.e. the flour, cornflour, baking powder and sugar, and beat the egg mixture into it until you have a smooth batter.
- Beat in the lemon juice and zest.
- In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry.
- Fold the egg whites into the lemon batter.
- Divide the mixture between the two prepared cake tins and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. I recommend checking the cakes after 30 minutes as mine were ready by then.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove from the tins as soon as the tin is cool enough to handle.
- Now make the lemon curd: Place the lemon zest and sugar in a bowl.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and eggs and pour over the sugar.
- Cut the butter into little pieces and scatter over the top.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (or use a bain marie pan if you have one) and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
- Stir occasionally but not obsessively until you have a golden, thick curd.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- To assemble the cake: Take one of the sponges and spread 2-3 tablespoons of lemon curd over the top.
- Add the remaining lemon curd to the whipping cream and beat until thick and fluffy.
- Spread approximately a third of the cream on top of the sponge with lemon curd on it and sandwich with the other sponge.
- Use the remaining cream to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Decorate as you wish
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.