Classic Carrot Cake with Vanilla Bean Rum Frosting

classic carrot cake with vanilla bean rum frosting

  For many, carrot cake is a must-have on the dessert table after enjoying a fattening dinner on Easter Sunday. In my own family, it was actually quite rare. My Grandmother always made a banana pudding trifle or a layered coconut cake for Easter. I only recall eating carrot cake as a spring dessert served at church events or family get-togethers; but though it was scarcely served in my home, it has always been a family favorite when we had the pleasure of eating it.

  This recipe wasn’t specifically meant for Easter, though. I’ve been meaning to post a cake for the past week but they just haven’t worked out, so I decided on this classic carrot cake with vanilla bean rum frosting and well, it happens Easter is this weekend. The recipe for this cake was given to my mother by my Grandmother which she acquired from a friend (my, what a mouthful!) twenty-something years ago. It has always been a family favorite. Of course, I did adapt it slightly. Typically, walnuts or pecans are used, but instead, I used almonds.

 It’s a delicious, dense, and very moist cake. It uses a total four cups of carrots! The frosting has a very light and fluffy mouthfeel, with a slight rum flavor and vanilla bean speckled all about.

 

CLASSIC CARROT CAKE WITH VANILLA BEAN RUM FROSTING


 cake:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups raw cane sugar

4 large eggs, room temp.

seeds from (1) vanilla bean pod

1 1/4 cup organic canola oil

1/3 cup buttermilk, room temp.

4 cups grated carrots

3/4 cups coarsely chopped almonds

   frosting:

seeds from (2) vanilla bean pods

1/4 cup dark rum

8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.

8 ounces butter, room temp.

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch of sea salt

 method:

Before starting anything, split open two vanilla pods, scrape out the seeds and place the seeds and the pods in a small jar with a lid. Add the 1/4 cup of dark rum and close the jar. Let the ingredients sit for an hour or more. When ready to use, scrape remaining seeds from the bean and discard the pieces. 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three, 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices- set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla bean seeds. Beat the ingredients with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy; once they reach this stage, begin streaming in the oil. Add the buttermilk and then the flour in three batches, beating each addition until just combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the grated carrots and chopped almonds until combined. Divide the batter amongst the three prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. They’re done when the cake springs back up after being touched lightly, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then use a knife to loosen the cake from around the edges of the pans. Invert onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

 for the frosting:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened butter and cream cheese. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula and add the powdered sugar and vanilla-infused rum. Beat on medium-high until the mixture is smooth and fluffy about3 minutes.

 assemble the cake:

 Place the first cake layer on a cake board/plate/stand and spoon about 3/4 cups of frosting on and spread around with an offset spatula. Repeat this with the second and then the third. Use any remaining frosting to frost around the edges. Or, you can use all the frosting on the first, second, and top layers and leave the sides naked. Decorate with fresh or edible flowers.

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Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar 

  Spring has always been a favorite season of mine.  It gives me a great amount of inspiration to see things sprout from the loneliness of winter and flourish into something beautiful and vibrant.  It’s like painting with an entirely new set of colors.  “What will I paint this month?”, is a metaphorical question I ask myself at the beginning of each month, as each new month brings its own palette of colors in various form. In the baking and photography sense, these forms are the vegetables, fruit, and flora that each month has to offer.   

  Now, here we are, stepping into the month of April. To be completely honest, it never felt as if I was in March all this time. It was so warm most of the month, with a few cold days here and there, even a bit of snow.  Many flowering trees that normally bloom in April have lost most their petals and have begun the next step unfurling their green leaves.  The crabapple trees are on the verge of blossoming, this I’m particularly excited about as they’re breathtaking in full bloom. I often enjoy this view in mid-April, but I’ll be seeing it a little earlier this year. 

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

  I’m excited to start combining the different flavors and scenes April has to offer. Much of my recipes these past couple weeks have focused mainly on citrus with some sort of herb or spice to accompany it. The last thing I baked was this Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze, and this week I bring to you these soft and feather-light Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon sugar. 

  Beignets are rather easy to make, especially if you are familiar with homemade doughnuts.  Both are processed in a similar manner, though, beignet dough is left to rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight, giving the end product a pleasant yeast flavor. Once they’ve been taken out of hot oil, they are rolled around in sugar which is given a subtle lemon flavor by rubbing the sugar granules in lemon zest. Lastly, they’re filled with a luscious pastry cream flavored using fresh lemon zest and rosemary leaves. They are, in a sense, an adieu to the citrus season for me.  A delicious one at that.

Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar  Rosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon SugarRosemary Lemon Cream Filled Beignets with Lemon Sugar

ROSEMARY LEMON CREAM FILLED BEIGNETS WITH LEMON SUGAR


 beignets:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (110°F)

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

2 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup warm water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed + softened

oil (canola, vegetable, etc), for frying

 

 rosemary lemon cream:

1 cup whole milk

1 rosemary sprig, slightly mashed

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup whole milk 

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon cake flour

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/4 cup sugar

lemon sugar:

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup granulated sugar

 

 method:

 for the beignets

  1. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer, add the yeast and warm water and slightly stir to combine.  Sprinkle in the flour and let it sit until it’s dry looking about 10-15 minutes.  Add the sugar, egg yolks, flour, sea salt, and water.  Mix the ingredients on medium speed with the dough hook attached; the dough should come together quickly, but if it looks dry within the first minute of mixing, add extra water until it comes together(you don’t want it clumpy).  Continue mixing the dough for 5 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a spatula and sprinkle with a bit of flour. Mix for another 5 minutes.   Afterward, it should be smooth, soft, and elastic with a slight stickiness to it. Once again, scrape down the bowl.  Add the softened butter and mix on medium-high until it all comes together.  This may take a few minutes and it will look separated at first, but it will soon come together forming a shiny, smooth, and elastic dough.  Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a large bowl lightly greased and floured.  Cover with a thin towel and let the dough rise in a warm, dry place for 1 hour to an 1 and 2o minutes.  Once doubled in size, release the gasses by gently punching down the dough.  wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.  After two hours have passed, release the gasses one last time, then cover again(tightly) and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Lightly flour a large, flat surface and turn the dough out onto it.  Set aside a large baking sheet covered with a thin cloth and then dusted with flour.  Cut golf ball sized pieces of dough out.  To shape, simply cup your hands and roll a dough piece in between your palms, until it’s a smooth ball.  Gently flatten the ball between your palms until you have a sphere shaped piece of dough.  Place it on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process until all the dough has been shaped.  Space each piece about 3 inches apart.  Prepared another baking sheet if needed.  Cover with a thin towel and let them rise again in a warm, dry place for 1 hour to an 1 and 15 minutes.  On the last 20 minutes of rising, fill a medium sized pot with a couple inches of oil and heat to 340°F(you want to keep it around this temperature to evenly cook the beignets through).
  3. Meanwhile, set aside a large plate and add the sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest.  Rub the zest and the sugar between your fingers until all the sugar has a coating of lemon flavor to it.  
  4. Once the beignets have finished rising and the oil preheating, gently scrape one beignet from the baking sheet and slide into the hot oil, quickly flip the beignet once in the oil.  Cook 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and just slightly dry the oil from the surface of the beignet, then roll around in the lemon sugar until coated.  Set on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.  Continue this process until each beignet has been fried and sugar coated.

 for the cream filling:

  1. In medium sized saucepan, add the milk lemon zest and rosemary sprig.  Bring to a boil over medium heat then remove from heat.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove the zest and rosemary.  Bring the milk back to a simmer over medium-low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and a pinch of sea salt.  Add the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly.  Then using a strainer, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk.  Turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk the mixture constantly until it becomes thick.  Stop stirring for a few seconds to see if the mixture is boiling, if so, continue whisking for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into the prepared pan and evenly spread around. Place another piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to ensure a skin doesn’t form.  Place in the freezer until fully cooled(about 15 minutes).  
  3. Stir the pastry cream and spoon into a pastry bag with a large, round piping tip attached.  Poke a hole into the side of each beignet and pipe in the pastry cream until all the beignets are filled.  Enjoy.
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Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

  Monkey bread has long been a favorite recipe of mine, with its warm, gooey, cinnamon goodness.  It’s one of those foods you savor in your childhood and long crave into your adulthood and the rest of your life, but never find yourself enjoying it as often as you would like.  As a child, it was a rare treat; my mom didn’t really bake many things outside of muffins, cookies, or birthday cake.  Cinnamon rolls almost always came from a can and homemade doughnuts weren’t a thing until I began to bake for fun.  Although this pull-apart cinnamon grapefruit bread with earl grey lavender glaze isn’t monkey bread, it closely resembles it (sans the gooeyness) in way of the process.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

  I recently realized there aren’t any recipes on my site with grapefruit as an ingredient.  I thought it best I post at least one including grapefruit before the season runs out, which is when I decided on this pull-apart cinnamon grapefruit bread with earl grey lavender glaze.  When it comes to grapefruit Florida ruby red is the best(in my opinion) and it’s what I used for this recipe.  Though it’s only the zest you need for the bread, still, I’ve found that that variety is what holds the flavor in the peel the best.

  I wish this bread had lasted longer than it did.  It was taken rather well by my family, my mom especially.  Which is surprising because she doesn’t like lavender and this had dried lavender sprinkled all over the top to add more flavor.  In any case you don’t have lavender on hand, just make a trip to your local garden center.  Most stores where plants are sold have small pots of lavender growing as of now and you can find them rather cheap as I did.  Once you have one, pluck as many buds off as you can and set them out to dry, then use.

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Grapefruit Bread with Earl Grey Lavender Glaze


PULL-APART CINNAMON GRAPEFRUIT BREAD WITH EARL GREY LAVENDER GLAZE

 bread

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

3/4 cups whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

zest from 1 grapefruit

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

 sugar, cinnamon, and butter coating

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

 earl grey + lavender glaze

tea:

1 cup water

2 earl grey tea bags

1 sprig of fresh lavender

glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of the tea you made

dried lavender buds (optional)

 method:

 for the dough

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and heavy cream until warm.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the yeast and pour in 1/2 cup of the warm milk, stir slightly and let it sit until the yeast dissolves and is foamy(5-7 minutes).  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl, set aside.  Once the yeast has dissolved, add the egg yolk, sugar, and remaining milk and whisk until just combined.  Sprinkle in 1 cup of flour, the grapefruit zest, and the soften cubed butter; mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook attached and slowly pour in the remaining flour.  Continue to mix until the dough begins to wipe the sides of the mixing bowl clean.  It should be very soft, but not sticky.  Remove from mixing bowl and place in a lightly buttered bowl.  Cover with a thin towel and let it rise in warm, dry place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  2. 10 minutes before the dough has finished its rising process, preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C.  Butter well the sides and bottom of an 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pan.  Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, lightly buttering this as well.  Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and set aside.  On a plate, combine the sugar and cinnamon.  
  3. Once the dough has finished rising, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead with your hands for 1 minute.  Begin to tear various sized pieces (medium to small sizes) of dough in your hands and roll into a ball.  Dip the dough ball into the melted butter and cover with the sugar mixture, lastly place the dough ball in the pan.  Continue this process until all the dough is used and is evenly distributed in the loaf pan.  Place the pan on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for 55 minutes to an hour, until nicely browned.  Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Using a sharp knife, carefully loosen the bread from around the edges of the pan.  Invert onto a plate and drizzle generously with the glaze.  Top with dried lavender and enjoy warm!

  for the glaze:

  1. Bring the water to a boil with the lavender sprig, then remove from heat and add the two tea bags.  Steep for 10 minutes then remove the lavender sprig and the tea bags.  Cool the tea completely before using.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift the confectioner’s sugar.  Add two tablespoons of the cooled tea to the sugar and whisk until smooth, it should drizzle thick and not runny.  If it’s runny, add a 1/4 more of powdered sugar.  if it is to thick, add 1/2 teaspoon more of tea.  Drizzle onto the bread when it’s still warm and top with dried lavender buds.
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Chocolate Vanilla Sage Mousse Cake with Pistachio and Sea Salt

  Much of February was one of those months for me.  After three weeks of absence, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I thought of this chocolate vanilla sage mousse cake with pistachio and sea salt.

  It’s a chapter every creative person faces more often than not: the depletion of their creative energy.  It’s like sitting in a vacuum, where nothing new comes in or comes out, it’s just empty space.  The worst part is feeling as though it will never go back to normal, thankfully it always does-  in its own time.  It is both a blessing and curse, the blessing being time to collect your thoughts, your sense of self, and to better understand your surroundings.  The curse is the depressing thoughts that come with losing one of your outlets of expression.  It’s like suddenly forgetting how to swim while you’re in the deepest part of the ocean.

  The weather as of late has been but an early breath of spring, which is what helped bring a few ideas back to me.  Many trees, shrubs, and flowers began to bloom three weeks in advance due to the warm winter season.  I saw Bradford pear trees with their snow-like petals blowing in the wind, as well as cherry blossoms with their lush pink and red hues.  I envisioned something chocolate being surrounded by all these blossoms, and that’s when this chocolate vanilla sage mousse cake with pistachio and sea salt came to fruition.  It’s nothing too creative, to be honest.  I have a chocolate mousse cake recipe rather similar to this one(also one of my most popular blog posts and recipe on this site).

  By reading the title, you may be wondering, ‘why sage’?  The truth is, my motto is to always add at least one fresh ingredient for the main flavoring agent in my baked goods, it is either a fruit, herb, or a vegetable.  But it must be in season and at least somewhat local, to add to my motto.  The sage was plucked from my sage plant in the front garden, which thrived all throughout this mild winter of ours.  To my surprise, it complemented the chocolate rather well.  It’s all very rich in every possible way, with hints of vanilla bean and sage all throughout the mousse.  The brownie I would liken to fudge; it’s chewy and has a strong chocolate flavor.


CHOCOLATE VANILLA SAGE MOUSSE CAKE WITH PISTACHIO AND SEA SALT

brownie

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

seeds from (2) vanilla beans

1 cup coconut palm sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

2 large eggs

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

mousse

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

7 fresh sage leaves, chopped

seeds from (2) vanilla beans

8-ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 large egg yolks

3/4 cups heavy cream

3 large egg whites

3 tablespoons sugar

roasted pistachio, for garnish

sea salt, for garnish

METHOD:

 brownie:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.  Prepare one, 8-inch cake pan by greasing the side and bottom then lining with parchment paper.
  2. Create a double boiler by filling a medium-sized pot with about two inches of water, then placing a heatproof bowl over the pot, making sure that it doesn’t touch the water.  Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add to the bowl the butter, vanilla bean seeds, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder.  Stir occasionally with a spatula until the butter has melted completely and the sugar has somewhat dissolved as well.  Remove from heat and let the mixture sit until slightly cooled- it should remain very warm, but not burning hot.  You should be able to dip your finger in for five seconds without it burning you.  Once it reaches this stage, add one egg and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined; repeat with the second egg.  Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined and there are no flour streaks to be seen.  Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges with a sharp knife and invert onto a wire rack(keeping the parchment on the bottom)to cool completely.   Tip: to speed up the cooling process place the brownie in the freezer until cool.

  mousse:

  1. Place a medium sized bowl in the refrigerator to chill, along with the whisk attachment to an electric hand mixer.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the butter, chopped sage leaves, and vanilla bean seeds.  Cook on medium-low until the butter is melted and the sage becomes fragrant- about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then remove the sage pieces.  Place the butter in the refrigerator until firm again.
  3.  Create a double boiler and add the butter and chopped chocolate.  Stir occasionally until the ingredients are melted completely.  Then remove from heat.
  4. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl on high with an electric mixer.  When they begin to gain volume, sprinkle in the three tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
  5. Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the chilled whisk(s) until soft peaks form.
  6. After all this, the chocolate mixture should be warm (not hot) by now.  Add the egg yolks and stir until combined.  
  7. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate in two batches, making sure each batch is combined before adding another.  Once the whipped cream is combined with the chocolate, begin to fold the egg whites in three batches, making sure each batch is fully combined before adding the next.  There should be no streaks or clumps of white when finished.  
  8. Place the cooled brownie(with parchment paper still attached)in a well greased 8-inch cake pan.  Then, very gently pour the mousse over the top and spread around evenly.  Cover tightly with tin foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm, this will take up to six hours or you can leave it in overnight.  I did the latter.
  9. When the mousse is firm, heat a sharp knife in hot water until the blade is hot, then use it to loosen the mousse from around the edges of the pan.  Firmly place the tin foil back on the pan with your hand placed in the center and gently flip until the cake falls out.   Place on a flat surface and remove the parchment from the bottom of the brownie.  Flip the cake back onto a cake and gently remove the foil.  The mousse should not be messed up if this is done carefully.  
  10. Melt some chocolate and drizzle over the top of the cake, then top with chopped, roasted pistachio and sea salt.  Cut with a hot knife and enjoy.
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Lemon Layer Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  With the vast amount of flowers on display for Valentine’s Day, there was only one reasonable excuse for me to buy a lovely bouquet: cake.  It is nothing extravagant, just a simple lemon layer cake.  Four, delectable and moist layers might I add, with the right amount of lemon to them.  I about gave up on the recipe, to be honest.  Twice it failed on the density and moist scale, with a mouthfeel like cornbread.  The lemon flavor was just right, though.  The third time was the charm, and with the addition of applesauce, the outcome was just as I wanted: a moist, tender crumb with layers that rose nicely.

  Over time I have tried many buttercream methods, from meringue buttercreams to your standard American buttercream.  One of my favorites will always be German Buttercream, it’s absolutely amazing.  So, I have gotten in the habit of basing most my buttercreams on a flavored custard.  It’s easy to infuse with different flavors and is never too sweet.  For this lemon cake, I infused coconut flakes into the milk, which then goes into eggs and sugar to create a smooth custard.  Due to the presence of egg yolk, I wasn’t able to keep it white in color, instead, it’s a pale yellow.

lemon layer cake from afar

lemon layer cake from afar

These warm February days have had me aching for spring to arrive.  It was one of the reasons that spurred me to create this very spring-like cake.  I’ve already noticed changes everywhere, however small they may be.  The days are getting slightly longer and the tulips have begun peeking out from beneath the loose soil; the birds have become even more melodious in song as the days grow increasingly warm and longer.  Those may be just a few changes, but they’re enough to fuel me through the remaining days of winter.  I love spring as it inspires me to continually change and grow, whereas in winter something seems to die within me, along with the fallen leaves.  It’s hard to find inspiration, so I always feel stuck, like nothing can grow.  But, come spring or just things that remind me of spring, I find that those parts of me were just dormant, like buds on the trees and shrubs; just by a few days exposure of warmth, they are reminded their time to bloom is near.  

 On the subject of seasonal change, there will be much change to this blog come summer: a complete renovation, including a new name.  It has been in the back of my mind for some time now.  When I started this blog, I really needed a name to get things moving, so I pulled one from thin air, and as it turns out, one I’m very unhappy with.  To me, ‘The Sticky Spatula’ is a bit hollow.  I would like a title with meaning, one that’s flexible with the content I want to produce.  I would like to share more of my photography that isn’t strictly baked goods, and I feel my current title keeps me in a box, so to speak.  None of this is in the works yet, but it will be in the next month or so, hopefully.  I’m excited about these changes, but at the same time frightened as I’ll be switching to a different platform.  I can only hope the move will be smooth and without losing any of my current content.

close up flowers on lemon layer cake

top of lemon layer cake

sliced lemon layer cake view

slice of lemon layer cake

slice of lemon layer cake


LEMON LAYER CAKE WITH COCONUT BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

cake

260 grams cake flour ( 2  1/3 cup ) 

30 grams unbleached all-purpose flour  ( 1/4 c )

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

300 grams sugar ( 1  1/2 c )

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp.

2 large, whole eggs + 1 large egg yolk, room temp.

2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

130 mL almond milk, room temp. ( 2/3 c ) 

coconut buttercream

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 cups whole milk

3 teaspoons cake flour

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

METHOD:

for the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and line with parchment paper two, 6-inch (or two eight-inch) pans.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric standing mixer with whisks attached, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes.   Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add the lemon extract and egg yolk, beating on low until just combined.  Add the two whole eggs and beat until combined, about 20 seconds.  Add one-third of the flour, half the milk, the applesauce, and lemon zest; beat on medium speed until just combined, then scrape down the bowl.  Add the remaining milk and another third of the flour and beat until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl once more and add the remaining third of the flour, beating until no flour is seen(about 10 seconds).
  4.  Pour the batter equally amongst the two prepared pans, making sure they’re no more than half full.  Spread around evenly.  Bake for 30-37 minutes, checking for doneness at 30 minutes.  They’re done when the cake springs back up when lightly touched with your finger.  Remove from oven and let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes.  Then, using a sharp knife, loosen the cake from around the edges of the pan and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

for the buttercream

  1. Line a tall baking sheet with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, add the milk, coconut flakes, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, remove from heat and let it sit until cool to the touch.  Once cooled, pour into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the milk through a very fine-meshed sieve or a straining bag over a clean, saucepan.   Discard the coconut pieces(or re-use by toasting in the oven).  Measure out 1/4 cup of the milk and set aside, then bring the saucepan back to a boil; removing from heat once it begins to boil.  
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cornstarch, egg yolk, and the 1/4 cup of cooled milk.  While whisking the egg mixture, pour in half of the hot milk.  Strain the egg mixture back into the remaining milk and continue to whisk over medium heat until thickened and smooth.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.  Cover with another layer of plastic so it doesn’t form a skin.  Place in the freezer until cool to touch(it should not have a hint of warmth to it, nor should it be cold).
  4.  With an electric hand mixer with whisks attached, beat the butter along with a pinch of salt, until smooth.  Add the cooled custard and powdered sugar and beat until pale in color and fluffy.  It may look curdled in the first stages, but continue to beat until it comes together.  

assemble the cake

  If the cakes have a dome, be sure to level it off before commencing the second step.  Once each cake has been leveled off, carefully halve each cake into two smaller layers.  You should have four, equal layers in total.  Place the first layer bottom side down on a cake board/stand/plate.  Spread about 1/2 cup of the buttercream around evenly using an offset spatula.  Place the second layer evenly on top of the first, and add the same amount of frosting.  Continue to frost and stack each layer until all the layers are intact.  Use the remaining frosting to frost the top of the cake and around the edges.  Decorate with fresh flowers and coconut flakes, even dried lemon slices.

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