Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lemon Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday to Chris and Ed!!  It was a great weekend seeing our college family and celebrating the birthday of two great guys.  As their choice for a birthday cake I went in search of the perfect Lemon cake and cream cheese recipes.  With help from a co-worker I found some pretty good ones, courtesy of Martha Stewart.  Man that woman knows what she's doing! 
So without further adieu, Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cake Ingredients:
2 sticks of room temperature butter (unsalted)
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of lemon zest
2 cups of sugar
2 egg yolks AND 3 eggs
1/4 cup of lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons to save
1 cup of buttermilk
1 lemon, sliced

Frosting Ingredients:
8 oz. of cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla (I substituted lemon juice for vanilla)

1 hand or stand mixer with attachable whisk and flat paddle
1 medium bowl
1 whisk
3 spatulas (2 large, 1 small)
1 sifter
A knife and cutting board
2, 8 or 9 inch cake pans (circular preferably)
1 cooling rack
1 froster (as I call it) or 1 dull knife
A cake stand (or board)
Wax paper (to use while frosting)

Cake Steps:
-  Grease your two cake pans.  Make sure you grease them well!  Then, in a separate bowl from your stand mixer's, combine all of your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.  Whisk together.
-  Using your mixing bowl beat your butter and 1/2 a cup of sugar until it becomes light and fluffy.  Lowering your mixing speed to as low as it can go, add your eggs and yolks one at a time.  Once your eggs are incorporated add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
-  Now add and alternate your flour mixture and buttermilk into the bowl.  But make sure your final addition is the flour mixture!
-  Once your mixture is well incorporated divide the batter between your two pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 32-35 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
-  While your cakes are baking, create a simple lemon syrup by bringing to a boil 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1/2 a cup of water.  After water begins to boil, stir and add slices of 1 whole lemon (without the seeds).  Simmer  liquid for 25 minutes, then with a slotted spoon take out the lemon slices and place on a sheet of wax paper.  Now add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the syrup, stir.

-  When cakes are finished baking, let them rest for 10 minutes before you pop them out of the pan.  Once cakes are popped out onto a cooling rack, carefully prick them with either a toothpick or fork.  Then, brush the simple syrup over top of the cakes.  Let the cakes cool completely, then assemble.

Frosting Steps:
-  Place cream cheese in the mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Then add butter and beat until mixture becomes creamy.
-  On low speed gradually add granulated sugar.
-  When just about everything is combined add your vanilla, or as I did lemon juice.  Mix.

Cake Assembly:
-  Grab your cake stand or board and place 4 short sheets of wax paper on it creating a square shape.
-  Take one of your cakes and place it in the center of the wax paper square.
-  Place a heap of frosting in the center of the cake and slowly smooth it out towards the edge.  Once you have a pretty thick layer of frosting on top place your other cake on top. 

-  Once your second cake layer is in place, drop another heap of frosting on top.  Push the frosting towards the edge of the cake and smooth out the top.  Then frost your sides. 
-  Once you are done frosting pull out your wax paper from underneath the cake carefully.  Decorate with the candied lemon slices from the simple syrup. 

Enjoy YOUR Birthday!!  I know these boys did!

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