Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lemon Curd Layer Cake

Lemon Curd Layer Cake With Crystallized Flowers
Lemon Curd Layer Cake With Crystallized Flowers
When I saw the latest issue of BBC Good Food/India magazine, my heart skipped several beats as the cover photo was a cake that was straight out of a fairy tale. I knew I had (to try) to replicate it even if  I'm usually stick to the simplest forms. Regular visitors will know that I' am always inspired by the contents of this fabulous magazine.
Because of blogging about food I am willing to try out certain techniques in baking now. Why didn't I do certain things earlier? Like baking pastry, making different kinds of simple frosting, or even making crystallized flowers? Growing up without an oven (still very common in our parts) the processes that go into baking seemed very time-consuming. Alternatively, curry or chutney was so much easier! But now I am raring to go....
Although I have come across sugar flowers on recipes like 'Blow-away sponge with crystallized rose petals' or something like that, the idea of brushing the flowers with egg white and drying them seemed like an endless chore!! But the said cake had edible flowers so I picked some of my best nasturtiums and a three strawberry flowers. I didn't have the heart to pluck the strawberry blooms but a bit of variety always looks better.
The sponge...divided into three
The sponge:
250g soft butter + extra to grease the tin
250g caster sugar
250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
1-2 tsp milk
Sieve the flour with the baking powder and set aside.
Heat the oven to 180C. 
Butter and line the base of a 20 cm tin.
Beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon zest together using a beater till the batter is smooth.
Add enough milk so that the mixture drops off a spoon.
Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

The lemon curd:
50g butter 
50g sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 egg yolks
Melt the butter, sugar and lemon juice over a double boiler. When the butter and sugar melts, add the egg yolks one by one and whisk continuously till it becomes thick. This may take 10-15 minutes. When it is ready, it will coat the back of the spoon.

The crystallized flowers:
Drying the blooms.
1 egg white
3 tbsp water
100 gram caster sugar
Mix the egg white with 3 tablespoons of water and lightly brush it on the edible petals.
Dust them with the caster sugar and dry them on a wire rack overnight in a warm place.
They can be stored in an airtight container to be used when required.

The icing:
250g soft butter
350g icing sugar
juice of zest of 1 lemon
lemon curd (recipe given above)
Make the icing by beating the butter with the icing sugar, lemon zest and juice till light and fluffy.
Divide the sponge into three. Use 2/3 of the icing to fill the cake and top each layer with some lemon curd.
Frost the top with the remaining butter cream and decorate with the crystallized flowers.

There were quite a few changes that I made with the measurements. I cut down on the sugar and also the lemon juice. I baked the sponge in one tin as my tin had enough space and I could slice the cake into three pieces. As for the edible flowers, other blooms might have looked prettier but home-grown blooms are safest. I don't use any pesticides and I only use cow manure and vegetable waste from my kitchen. The sponge should not have been that brown but .....
I loved the cake. It's sinful indulgence but it's not something that's made often. The sweetness of all that sugar and the tartness of the lemon made me reach out for another slice!
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