I'm not sure about you Dear Reader, but for me Christmas and New Year's were really the calm before the storm. Any dreams that I had of sliding leisurely back into life in 2014 were shattered immediately. You see there's Australia Day, Chinese New Year and Valentines Day and there are even Easter buns at the store months earlier than they need to be. I know, Easter already?
I barely had time to contemplate odd things that actually do require some pondering like Dennis Rodman's relationship with Kim Jong Un (really? What am I missing?) before launching into baking. No hardship though you do understand ;)
We were having a family birthday dinner for my father. I was sick on his birthday so I couldn't make his cake but he's not one to get upset about things like that. He's not really a birthday person and his response to a cake is usually "Wah so big, why you make?" and he still signs his birthday cards to me with his full name - yep his first and last name just in case I don't know it.
Anyway, we were in a Chinese restaurant and he took a sip of water and screwed up his face. He then fished out the lemon from the water and placed it on a plate. In my entire life he had never expressed a dislike for lemon so I had no idea that he didn't like them but I had a lemonade cake baked for him for his birthday cake!
This lemonade cake is for those that adore lemons and lemonade (not surprisingly given the name). It's strong in lemon and tart but the tartness is offset with soft, billowing clouds of whipped cream and tingly lemon sherbert on top.
To me, an avowed lemon lover, it's heaven on a plate. If you tingle for the tartness of lemon curd then by all means fill two layers with the lemon curd. If you like your lemon moderate then fill just one of the three layers with lemon curd and the others with whipped cream.
Either way, he still ate it while wondering why it was so big ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, on your birthday do you ever make your own cake? Do you like to have a big party or are you more low key? And Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman-any theories on that?
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
- 250g/0.5 pound butter, softened
- 1.5 cups caster or superfine sugar
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups cake flour*
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cups milk mixed with 1/2 cup lemon juice
- zest from 4 lemons
- 3/4 cup lemon curd divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
- 600ml/21fl ozs. cream
- 4 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar
- 1 sachet lemon sherbert or Wizz Fizz
*To make 3 cups of cake flour, place 6 tablespoons of cornstarch and fill to 3 cup mark with plain all purpose flour
Step 1 - Line two 20cm/8 inch springform pans with baking paper on the base and sides. Preheat oven to 160C/320F.
Step 2 - Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time and then fold the flour and baking powder in followed by the milk and zest. Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely.
Step 3 - Whip the cream with the extra sugar until it reaches peaks that can hold.
Step 4 - Trim the tops of the cakes and then using dental floss or a knife, slice through each cake horizontally so that you have four layers.
Step 5 - Spread the bottom layer with the whipped cream, then fill the middle with the 1/2 cup of lemon curd and then the cream for the top layer. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup lemon curd with the rest of the whipped cream and swirl. Dollop on top of the cake and form peaks with a spatula. Sprinkle with the lemon sherbert just before serving.