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Lemon Curd

Several moons past I made my version of the royal wedding cake that the uber talented Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery London made. I took the cake to a friends July 4th BBQ and it was a big hit, so much so that now I get requests to make it every year. This year I am making it for Easter dessert, I love the color of lemons, yellow is such a happy color and screams Spring. I used a different recipe for the lemon curd than in my original recipe, honestly its a recipe I posted on Food52 years ago and had forgetten about it, the recipe is a mixed citrus curd but instead I used only lemons. I had forgotten how good this recipe is and how perfectly it works as a filling in layer cakes. The curd is very stable and holds up beautifully. I decided to post this recipe for two reasons really, it’s really good, but I am also forcing myself to get used to this new WordPress and as they say practice makes perfect. I made a change in the recipe, not just using only lemons instead of a variety of citrus but the original recipe calls for 6 egg yolks, I had 5 that I needed to use and added 1 whole egg as well, it really turned out well. I still haven’t figured out how to preview before posting.

Lemon Curd

Makes 3 cups

5 egg yolks plus one whole egg

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

pinch of kosher salt

zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 oz (1 stick) cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

In mixing bowl add the egg yolks and egg, sugar and salt, beat with a hand held mixer until thick and creamy. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice stirring to combine.

Pour into a non reactive heavy saucepan and cook stirring constantly on medium low until sugar is dissolved and its hot to the touch.

Add the butter a tbs at a time stirring constantly and continue to cook until it registers 175 on thermometer. Pour through a sieve into a lidded container, let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to use.

Cake-Trying Something Different

I am really at a loss at times trying to think outside the box and post something a bit different. I had an idea for a cake with a variety of textures and flavors that I hoped would work out. I am happy to report that it did and its delicious. I love mixing prints, polka dots and stripes, paisley and floral, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but I love the variety. The art I tend to gravitate to is mixed media, a mix of paint and interesting objects that are artfully placed in the painting and a big plus is if they tell a story. This cake is my food version of mixed media. The cake which I don’t even know what to name is chocolate layers with hazelnut almond Dacquoise ( meringue) layers and its frosted with a mocha Swiss buttercream. You get a layer of moist deeply chocolate cake and crunchy meringue, its a joy to eat. I don’t necessarily trust myself to critique so I delivered some to a friend who always gives me an honest and objective review and she gave the cake a resounding thumbs up! The recipes for the cake layers are already on my blog, I used the Hersheys Chocolate Cake recipe on the can of unsweetened cocoa and a few years ago I posted a recipe for Julia Childs Dacquoise. The buttercream I have posted as well, its my go to buttercream recipe by Stella Parks (Bravetart) but I will post the recipe with the changes I made to turn it into a luscious creamy mocha frosting.

The Buttercream

6 ounces egg whites (2/3 cup) whites of 5-6 large eggs

11 ounces (1 2/3 c)granulated sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

10 ounces dark chocolate cut into pieces

2 tsp instant espresso powder

16 ounces (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature cut into tbs size pieces (when not adding chocolate use 5 sticks or 20 ounces of butter)

1 tsp vanilla

Bring about an inch and a half of water to a boil in a deep saucepan, when it boils reduce heat so that it simmers. Place the egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer and place over the simmering water. Whisk constantly until all the sugar has melted scraping the sides from time to time with a spatula, if using a thermometer the mixture should be 185 degree’s, I keep feeling for grains of sugar, you want all the sugar to be dissolved completely. Once it is ready move the bowl to your stand mixer and start whipping with whisk attachment until its glossy and stiff and cool to the touch. While its whipping temper your chocolate either using your microwave or over simmering water (be careful not to overheat and cook the chocolate it will seize) Add the espresso to the chocolate stir to combine and set aside.

With mixer running add the butter 1-2 tbs at a time combining with each addition until all the butter is incorporated. Slowly add the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract and continue whipping. If its a bit soupy that’s ok, put it in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes and then return to the mixer and whip until it is a spreading consistency. Use immediately or you can also refrigerate up to two weeks or freeze up to several months. To use it bring to 72 degree’s (room temperature) and re whip.

Tips for Meringue (Dacquoise)

The meringue layers are baked free form on parchment. I drew 8 inch circles and piped it within the circles. Hint: spray the parchment with cooking spray it will make the release so much easier. Because the cake is round the meringue and cake layers should sit flush and the meringue is baked free form so its not perfectly aligned and the edges are not clean. I used a vegetable peeler to shave away the edges making a clean edge and perfect size to fit the cake layers. Once thing I didn’t do which I will do next time is smooth the top of the layer with a flexible offset spatula before baking.