Lemon Pudding Cakes

It’s the first day of spring and unfortunately the temperatures aren’t spring-like and there’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow. Too bad the weather doesn’t automatically switch with the seasons – of course people would only enjoy that for the warmer months. Not many people would be too keen on frigid temps and snow the first day of winter, although it would make for a white Christmas! I’m welcoming spring today with a lemon treat. I’m not all that sure that lemon is synonymous with spring – I think it more of a summer flavored dessert – but, when I Googled Spring desserts a bunch of lemon ones were the first to come up. So, the lemon treat I settled on was Lemon Pudding Cakes.

I started by making the lemon base of the cakes by mixing together egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and zest. Once those ingredients were well combined, I sifted in flour, sugar and salt and mixed these ingredients until combined.

Next I beat the egg whites until stiff peaks formed. Now, we all have those kitchen tasks we’re not fond of doing. I used to dislike having to mince garlic until I purchased a garlic mincer. Another task I dislike, beating egg whites into stiff peaks, well by accident, well not really accident, I finally realized what I was doing wrong… I was using the wrong bowl. I would normally beat them in a wide stainless bowl and I guess it would take long because of the larger surface of the bowl. I didn’t feel like grabbing that bowl when making these pudding cakes so I grabbed a smaller stainless bowl instead and my egg white were ready in half the time. I apologize to those of you who are like “Duh.” Sometimes we get so used to doing things a certain way we don’t stop to think of a more efficient way to do it.

After the egg white were ready I folded them – a small amount at a time- into the lemon mixture. I then divvied up the batter among 4 ramekins and baked them in a water bath. After letting them cool, I inverted them on a dish and topped them with fresh strawberries and confectioners’ sugar.  I knew these were going to be delicious, but, I was surprised by just how good they are. The cake texture was reminiscent of a ricotta cheesecake and there was a nice layer of lemon pudding on top… Hence, a Lemon Pudding Cake. This was a quick dessert if you are looking for a nice dessert for a small get together or, you just want a dessert that will remind you of the warmer temps that are sure to come.

 

Happy Spring!!!

 

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup superfine sugar, plus more for dusting

2 eggs, separated

2/3 cup reduced fat buttermilk

2 tablespoons lemon juice*

1 tablespoon lemon zest*

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Topping

Fresh berries

Confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly sugar 4 ramekins.**

In a large bowl add egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest and using a hand mixer beat until well combine on medium speed. Sift in flour, sugar and salt into the mixture and beat on low until well combined.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins and bake in a water bath. Place the ramekins in a large roasting pan and fill hallway with water.

Bake for 45 minutes until the top springs back when gently pressed. All the cakes to cool slightly and then invert onto a plate and garnish with fresh berries and confectioners’ sugar.

**I sprayed my ramekins with cooking spray then sprinkled sugar in them.

Recipe from Food Network

Food Network

 

Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake

A great thing about blogging and social media – Instagram in particular – is the chance to discover other bloggers. One blog that I have enjoyed following is The Cake Blog – a blog with amazing cake designs that include tutorials so you can recreate them yourself if you wish. Recently they featured a Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake that I thought was too cute not to try.

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Using one milk chocolate box cake mix I baked two heart cakes filling the pan with about 2 cups of batter for each of the cakes. After letting the cakes cool completely I leveled the cakes using a large serrated knife. I used to use a cake leveler but have found that using a knife allows me to level the cakes more evenly.

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Following that I frosted each of the cakes with vanilla frosting and then placed them in the refrigerator so the frosting could harden in preparation for decorating them with fondant.

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And while I was on a kick making marshmallow fondant recently, I opted to go with store bought fondant to decorate these cakes. I picked up Wilton’s Decorator Preferred Fondant in red and pink and I was pleasantly surprised; it was easy to knead and roll out. I’ve used Wilton’s Rolled Fondant in the past and it wasn’t as easy to work with.

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After rolling the red fondant out to an 1/8 of an inch thick I cut two strips of fondant long enough to wrap around each of the heart cakes, one an inch and half wide – the height of the cake – for the top of the candy box and the other two inches wide for the candy box.

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I rolled up the strips and then unrolled them around each of the cakes.

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Next I rolled out more of the red fondant and using my heart cake pan as a template, I traced out a heart for the cover of the candy box.

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Once I was done with the red fondant I rolled out the pink fondant and cut out two hearts – one smaller than the red cover I previously cut and one to fit inside of the wider red border – the candy box cake. On the smaller of the two pink hearts I used a fondant stitching wheel to etch an angle design.

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Next it was time to make the candy box cake actually look like a candy box and to do that I needed candy, more specifically chocolate candy. I melted some Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts and filled heart & circle swirls molds to create the candy.

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After refrigerating the molds so the chocolate could set I tapped them out onto wax paper.

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I then used some of the melted chocolate to glue two pieces of the candy together so they would have a little height inside the candy box cake.

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To add a little more pizazz to the chocolates I drizzled them with melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with Valentine’s themed sprinkles.

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Then I used more of the melted chocolate to glue the pieces onto the candy box cake.

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On the original cake the edges were painted gold using gold dust and extract. I attempted to do the same with shimmer powder I had on hand…

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But unfortunately I wasn’t too successful as the powder I have didn’t have the same color intensity. It was worth a try though! While there were some imperfections with my final outcome, overall I was pleased with it. I definitely need to work on cutting fondant shapes and making straight lines when etching a design into the fondant.

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Frozen Themed Birthday Cake

Oh, where to go begin! So, unless you have been completely unplugged from the world for the past year or so you most definitely have heard of Disney’s Frozen and the two heroine sisters of the movie, Elsa & Anna. At some point you must have also heard the song “Let It Go,” or the more playful “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” Hence it came as no surprise that when the time came to make a birthday cake for a friend’s daughter the theme would be Frozen. This cake and post is a special one as well since it marks my blog’s third blogiversary! It all started with a 2nd birthday cake for the same little girl this cake was intended for in the shape of Elmo’s head and ever since I have been blogging about other delicious treats I have made and some lovely knitted/crocheted items and handmade jewelry. But, I digress, back to Frozen. By far this was the most ambitious cake I have ever made and required numerous steps over the course of a few days.

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On the first day I made sky blue and violet marshmallow fondant. Thankfully I had done a test run of the process a few weeks prior so I pretty much knew what to do and what consistency the fondant needed to be. I lightly coated the fondant with shortening and wrapped it tightly in clear wrap and then placed it in a Ziploc bag to ensure it wouldn’t dry out. I then put it in the refrigerator so it could “rest.”

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I also made some white chocolate and dark chocolate molds of snowflakes, the number 5 and plaques by melting Wilton candy melts and pouring the melted chocolate into the molds and refrigerating them for at least 15 minutes and then tapping them out on my counter.

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The following day I made hard candy by dissolving sugar in water and light corn syrup by stirring it over medium heat. Once the sugar was dissolved I raised the heat to high and brought the mixture to a boil without stirring it to a temperature of 300 F.

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Once it reached 300 F I added a few drops of blue dye to the mixture and poured it into a greased rimmed cookie sheet and placed it in the refrigerator until it hardened – about an hour.

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I then unmolded the hard candy onto a sheet of wax paper and broke it into pieces so I could use it as a cake topper for Elsa’s ice castle.

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With all of the decorative pieces done it was finally time to bake the cakes. I started with baking the larger of the two cakes – a three-layer 9 inch chocolate cake. The recipe I was following was for a two-layer cake so I whipped up the batter twice and for the second batch I baked one layer and 12 cupcakes.

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For the smaller of the two cakes I baked a two-layer 6 inch yellow cake.

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Once I leveled the cakes I frosted the layers and the sides and tops of both cakes with chocolate frosting. I placed both cakes in the refrigerator overnight so the frosting could harden.

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The next day it was finally time to put the entire cake together! I began by rolling out the sky blue fondant…

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Which I used to cover the 6 inch yellow cake. After rolling out the violet fondant I covered the larger chocolate cake. I did end up with an air bubble on the blue cake and while at first I was upset and frustrated with it I soon realized it wouldn’t be a big a deal as I was going to mask it with the candy pieces and figurines.

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Then it was on to decorating… I wrapped the bottom of both cakes with silver speckled ribbon which I attached to the cake with double-sided tape. Next I attached the smaller chocolate snowflakes to the cake with small dabs of vanilla frosting – I rested the larger snowflakes against the cake. To create the ice castle I pushed down a few pieces of the hard candy onto the top of the smaller cake. And finally I placed the Frozen figurines – which I was lucky enough to find on the Disney Store’s website as they were sold out in all stores – on the cake.

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Here’s a close-up of the top tier of the cake…

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And after carefully transporting the cake – thankfully I wasn’t driving too far – without any of the decorations on it but the small snowflakes I “glued” on  I reassembled the entire cake to perfection once again!

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And of course there were Frozen themed cupcakes that I baked in Frozen themed cupcake liners and then topped them with white decorative sugar and a chocolate snowflake!

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This cake was a hit in appearance and as this picture suggests (and I can attest to as well) in taste!

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And if you are wondering, yes, all of this work was worth it! The Birthday Girl was absolutely thrilled with her cake and she enjoyed a nice slice of the chocolate cake!

 

Marshmallow Fondant

Ingredients:

1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows

2-5 tablespoons water

2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

Directions:

1. To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).

2. Place 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners’ sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn’t stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.

3. It’s best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.

4. When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.

5. To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners’ sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.

 

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan(s)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pan(s)

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter the pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with cocoa, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – approximately 25 to 30 minutes for two 9-inch rounds. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

 

Yellow Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 6-inch round cake pans and knock out the excess flour.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. (If you’re using the organic sugar, the texture of your mixture will be quite gritty.) Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended.

3. Spoon equal amounts of batter into each pan and smooth the tops evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until light golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then unmold onto wire racks to cool completely.