Sunday, November 23, 2008
Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd and Lemon Buttercream Frosting
It's almost always someone's birthday at my work, and this time it was one of our young 'uns - Andrew No. 2 turned 22 about a week ago. Andrew is never shy about asking for what he wants, and he requested "something lemon" for his birthday. This of course left the field wide open, so I feverishly sifted through my books for a lemon-y cake that didn't use a whole carton of eggs (or even worse, just the whites!).
I came up with Carole Walter's Golden Citrus Chiffon Cake from Great Cakes. It uses seven eggs (just over half a carton), but there is only one spare yolk, so the eggs are used efficiently. Instead of using orange and lemon rind to flavour the cake, I used all lemon rind and substituted lemon juice for orange juice, in keeping with Andrew's request for a lemon cake. I have to say that it really is a beautiful cake - it ends up being quite tall, and if the crumbs that I tasted were anything to go by, it tasted heavenly. (Unfortunately, I did not get a slice of this cake, as I made it in advance for a day when I would be at my secondment job).
In keeping with the lemon theme, I filled the cake with bought lemon curd (mid-week timing made it impossible to make everything from scratch), and frosted the cake with lemon buttercream frosting from Jennifer Graham's The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. Finally, I piped Andrew's name on the cake using red gel, and put Lemonheads (courtesy of Nikki) around the edge of the cake. I understand that Andrew was very pleased with his cake - and he is a difficult boy to please - so I was happy with the end result.
If you would like to make this chiffon cake, you will need:
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2/3 cup + 4 teaspoons lemon juice
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Spray a 10 inch springform pan with cooking oil, and line the base with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
Beat the whole egg and egg yolks in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Beat in 1 cup of the sugar only, 1 tablespoon at a time, over 5 minutes. Steadily pour in the oil while continuing to beat the mixture, then add the lemon rind and beat for a further minute. Decrease the mixer speed to low.
Fold in one third of the flour mixture, then half the lemon juice, and repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture for 10 more seconds, then set aside.
In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and increase the mixer speed, and continue to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining one third of a cup of sugar to the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft meringue forms. Beat for 1 more minute, then remove the bowl from the mixer.
Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites using 15 folds, then fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, using 40-50 folds. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, and smooth the top, being careful not to knock the air out of the mixture. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 60-65 minutes, or until the cake turns golden brown and is springy to the touch.
Take the cake out of the oven, and immediately invert it onto a wire rack, leaving it in the pan to cool completely. Once the cake is cool, use a long-bladed knife or spatula to loosen it and remove it from the pan.
Split the cake in half using a serrated knife, and spread the bottom half of the cake with lemon curd:
Place the top half of the cake on top of the bottom half, and frost with lemon buttercream, made as follows:
100g butter, softened
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
2-3 drops yellow food colouring
Cream the butter with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and half of the icing sugar, and beat for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat for antoher 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and spreadable. Beat in the food colouring.
This frosting mixture is fairly forgiving, because I accidentally added twice the required amount of lemon juice, and while my frosting was runnier than it should have been, it set up nicely.
You can have fun with different fillings and frostings on this lovely lemon cake, as lemon is complementary to many other flavours. It is easy enough to make the cake, and although there a quite a few steps to reach the end result, it is worth it to get a light, fluffy cake.