lemon cream cake

lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake

There is a trifecta of celebration cakes that are my go-to’s for occasions with family: black forest cake, glazed lemon loaf, and this lemon cream cake. They are all cakes that we used to buy from bakeries, but if I’m around, I’ll now usually make it. The lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and covered with whipped cream is what we used to get for my sister’s birthday. I’ve made it many times and it’s finally now on the blog!

It is, as the recipe title suggests, a very straightforwards cake – and just as with the other two. When it comes to family celebrations, it’s better not to be too stressed with a pretentious bake. And somehow my family seems to not want for novelty despite having these cakes year on and year out (…maybe because my more creative bakes always need some trial and error!).

lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake
lemon cream cake

This cake is all about bright tartness with plenty of minimally sweetened lemon curd between the layers and light fluffy textures with a lemon chiffon cake and piles of whipped cream. The thing I love about chiffon cake with whipped cream is that chiffon cake stays soft and moist even when cold from the fridge, so it better handles the refrigeration required by whipped cream than a butter-based cake.

lemon cream cake

(utterly straightforwards) lemon cream cake

  • Servings: 7-inch round cake
  • Print

lemon chiffon cake

Adapted from Make Fabulous Cakes. It was a fabulous cake, which fit very well in two 7″ round springform pans.

  • 140g flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6g)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 90g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar, divided
  • 90g milk
  • 75g (90mL) neutral oil
  • 4 eggs, divided

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter two 7-inch springform cake tins. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and flour the sides of the tins.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small dish, rub together 50g of the sugar with the lemon zest until fragrant. Measure out the milk and oil in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, then add the yolks and whisk to combine.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and begin to beat with the whisk attachment until the egg whites are foamy. Slowly add in the remaining sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add in the egg yolk mixture, and whisk until fully combined. Whisk one scoop of egg whites until fully incorporated to lighten the batter. Follow this with the rest of the egg whites, folding with a rubber spatula until just fully incorporated.

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread into an even layer. Tap the pans on the counter in order to pop any large air bubbles. Bake for around 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer into the centre of each cake is removed clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

lemon curd

Adapted from All Recipes. This makes a very tart lemon curd so I note in the recipe a good time to taste it and add additional sugar as per your liking. You’ll have some extra lemon curd leftover, but that’s not exactly a bad thing!

  • 180g (3/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 113g (1 stick) butter

In a small saucepan (or, if you’d like to be very careful use a bain marie by placing a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water), whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, salt and eggs. Whisking constantly, place over medium heat and add the butter a bit at a time, allowing it to melt in. Continue to whisk constantly and gently cook until thickened; you’ll know it’s thick enough when the whisk begins to leave lines in the curd. For those that like temperature, look for 165C or higher to ensure the eggs are cooked. Immediately remove from the heat and pass through a sieve (in case there are any eggy bits) into a container or bowl.

While still warm, taste the curd – if you would like it to be sweeter (this makes a rather tart curd as per my tastes), whisk in some more sugar while the curd is still warm and the sugar will easily dissolve. Cover and chill the curd completely.

assembly

  • 350g whipping cream
  • ~3 tbsp whole milk
  • optionally to garnish: another 100g whipping cream and lemon slices

Whip the 300g of whipping cream until just stiff, and add a couple tsp or so of sugar to sweeten to taste. Transfer a dollop of cream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip ~1.5cm in diameter; leave most of the cream in the bowl.

Slice the two cakes in half. Place one piece down on a plate or turntable and brush the cut side with milk (this helps make the cake extra extra moist). Pipe a ring of cream on the top of the cake, around the edge to create a border. Fill with centre with lemon curd. Repeat two more times with the next two cake layers. Then place the final, fourth layer of cake on top. Covering the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

For garnish, whip 100g of whipped cream with 1 tsp of sugar (I find this helps keep the cream smoother for piping purposes) and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large french star tip and pipe swirls of cream around the edge of the cake. Garnish with lemon slices.

Chill the cake completely, at least a few hours, so the lemon curd has time to firm up to make for tidier slicing. I think this cake is even better the next day once the moisture has had time to equilibrate between the lemon curd, cream and cake – it makes for a super moist cake (and slices super cleanly too!).

Updated Sept 2022.

coconut, matcha & strawberry layer cake

genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake

What is a weed? If one cared to ask the right people with the right intonation (and maybe a single, raised brow), it could elicit a plethora of answers – do we consider intention, indigeneity, utility?

My favourite is a succinct and pragmatic definition from an expert with the local horticultural society: a weed is anything that you don’t want growing there. It’s a definition that allows for flexibility, including both intention and allowing some spur of the moment impulse. Hence the reseeded spinach crowding out other seedlings, yes, can be a weed. And, alternatively, something you didn’t intend to grow, but that you’ve become rather fond of, can stay.

For instance, bright pink, miniature peony-like poppies first began appearing in the community garden a few years ago, and each year they grow more numerous. This year they’ve gone rogue – you can find them spindling up through the canopy of potatoes, growing alongside peas, and in some plots, even an entire patch.

genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake
genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake
genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake

They’ve given our typically homogenously green and slightly drab plot a startling amount of colour. And so I can’t say that I haven’t done my part to enable the takeover – and given their ubiquitous presence in the garden, perhaps some others have been doing the same. In adolescent form, they sprout as tufts of sage-toned ruffled leaves, ones that I’ve grown familiar enough with to avoid pulling out. The buds hang their heads like streetlamps until they bloom and curve upwards; later the petals drop, and by now most of them have become woody pods which release their seeds with the slightest shake. Last year we may have also helped out by sprinkling poppy seeds all over our plot.

By some measures, and perhaps in some numbers, they are a weed, but they do seem to have “weedled” their way into our hearts (I never ever make puns so I am ever so slightly proud. But yes it’s probably best that I don’t try again…)

genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake
genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake

I’ve been wanting to try a floral layer cake (inspired by Constellation Inspiration – see this, this or this – whose sense for florals is so impressive, she wrote an entire book on it!). I realised that the storm of garden poppies was my chance to work with an abundance of flowers, and especially flowers that are not either pansies or herb flowers. While the colour of the poppies is a bit garishly sweet-sixteen/barbie-theme, as I was working with what we had in the garden I couldn’t be that picky! (Edit: in a more recent re-test and re-photograph of the recipe, we actually weeded the garden a bit much and only had a couple slightly withered – but still blinding barbie-pink – poppies. So most of the white flowers are balcony-grown begonias (which are edible!). Another advantage of balcony plants: they tend to have less bugs in them…)

Flower arrangements are pretty fun if you have access to them – I randomly piled flowers on the cake and it seemed to turn out okay! The cake itself is a fun combination: coconut cake, strawberry compote, and a matcha cooked flour frosting. The strawberry filling is cornstarch-thickened compote – the cornstarch gives it a bit of extra thickness so it isn’t too runny for a cake filling. Meanwhile the pale green matcha colour is lovely against the white and pink flowers, and I do always love matcha flavoured desserts. It’s a slightly reduced sugar frosting, but with enough sugar to balance the bitterness of the matcha for a mildly sweet and buttery frosting.

Update notes: updated July 2022.

genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake

coconut, matcha and strawberry cake

  • Servings: one 16cm or 6 1/2-inch cake
  • Print

coconut layer cake

Based on the coconut cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I love her recipes!

  • 137g cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 60g greek yoghurt, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 127g coconut milk, at room temperature
  • 85g softened butter
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 75g (2 ½) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 40g unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350F. If using 16-cm diametre cake tins, line the bottom with parchment, butter the tin and the parchment, and lightly flour. If using 16-cm diametre cake rings, butter and flour the rings and then place them on a piece of buttered parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate cup or small bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, vanilla extract and coconut milk.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Add the egg whites a bit at a time, whisking in each addition until smooth. Add the flour mixture and the coconut milk mixture to the bowl at the same time and stir until just combined. Lastly, mix in the shredded coconut.

Divide amongst the three tins/rings and spread evenly with a small offset spatula.

Bake until an inserted skewer is removed with a few crumbs clinging or clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Once cool, place the cakes in the fridge so the layers are less delicate when assembling the cake.

strawberry filling

Adapted from this Food.com recipe.

  • 250g chopped strawberries
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar if your strawberries aren’t very sweet – if they are quite sweet, I find no sugar is needed
  • 8g (1 tbsp + 1 tsp) cornstarch

Place the strawberries, sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan along with a tbsp of water. Heat up the mixture over medium to medium-high while stirring and crushing the strawberries with the back of a spoon. As the mixture becomes more liquidy, bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for 1 minute while stirring to cook the starch.

The filling will go from cloudy to more clear and deeper red as the starch cooks. Transfer to a dish, cover and chill completely.

matcha ermine frosting

Adapted from Stella Parks ermine frosting recipe.

  • 170g milk
  • 28g all-purpose flour
  • 70g granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 160g butter, softened but still slightly cool (if you can’t be bothered – I’ve found straight room temperature is fine too. The icing may be slightly less voluminous but still fluffy!)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp matcha whisked into a smooth paste with 2 tbsp boiling water

Place the milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened into a pudding-like consistency, around 5 minutes.

Transfer to another bowl and whisk in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Cover and let cool to room temperature.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a standmixer with the paddle until light, around 5 minutes. Beat in the pudding, a spoonful at a time, and then the matcha paste. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Switch to the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, a few more minutes.

assembly

Trim the tops of the cakes to level them if needed. Transfer about 1/4 cup of the icing to a piping bag fitted with a ~1cm round tip (I used Wilton 2A).

Place one cake layer on a turntable or plate. Pipe a ring of icing around the edge. Dollop half of the strawberry filling in the centre and spread into an even, thin layer. Top with a second cake layer and repeat the icing ring and strawberry filling. Place the final cake layer on top.

If there is any remaining icing in the piping bag, add it back to the rest of the icing. Dollop icing on top of the cake and along the sides. Use a large offset spatula to smooth the icing over the cake. Garnish with flowers and strawberries as desired.

Store in the fridge, but allow the cake to warm up to closer to room temperature before serving.

genmaicha, coconut & strawberry layer cake

blueberry layer cake

SAM_4369Picture4SAM_4431

Currently in Toronto there is motion that has been put forth by Councillor Josh Matlow and seconded by Kristyn Wong-Tam to reduce the police budget by at least 10% and invest in community resources. Mayor John Tory then submitted his own motion (which as mayor, appears directly on the agenda) in order to bypass defunding of the police, taking the sympathy of councillors that may have otherwise supported the motion to defund. Unfortunately, this is not an acceptable compromise and one that will likely lead to an increase in police budgets if body cameras are implemented. Read Anthony Swan’s breakdown of Tory’s motion here and act now by referring to his page here. 

Again and again advocates have been hitting a wall of reluctance to defund the police by those in political power. Why do people have such differing opinions on defunding the police? I found one answer articulated by Sandy Hudson’s (co-founder of BLM Toronto) article in the Huffington Post –  much of it has to do with different communities have fundamentally different experiences and relationships with police, first of all in the quantity of interactions, and secondly in the nature of those interactions.

Continue reading “blueberry layer cake”

black sesame & chestnut layer cake

a light black sesame and chestnut layer cake –  as simple as possible with sponge cake and whipped cream

SAM_4345SAM_4398

Today we are keeping it simple with only two steps to what is best described as a very fulfilling experience. Step 1 is to find a low traffic hallway – most promising are uppers floors or the dead-ended hallway adnexa. Step 2 is to seat yourself down with your back against the wall and enjoy the wonders of having such an expanse of space to sit (you can cross your legs or even stretch them out if you’re really feeling ambitious) – as well as to pile up the requisite winter combo (i.e. the coat + the mitts + the hat + the scarf + …) that the weather requests you carry with you everywhere. Feel immensely comfortable – until your back begins to ache a bit – because while simple, it is one of life’s finest pleasures.

Somehow, until yesterday, I think it’s been years since I’ve sat on the floor in front of my locker. I keep the instructions general to facilitate sitting on the floor even in situations without lockers, but while secluded hallways are good, it is the locker that is essential for peace of mind. The proximity of the locker gives you a sense of belonging and ownership over the four vinyl floor tiles that you occupy. As inconvenient as it may be for locker neighbours and passer-bys in the case of narrower hallways, you can feel steadfast in your randomly assigned administrative-given right to root yourself in place. (I imagine that even if an adjacent locker is not yours, if you have enough self-confidence to project the possibility that it could be yours to those passing by, that would also suffice).

Continue reading “black sesame & chestnut layer cake”

strawberry cake with browned butter cream

strawberry chiffon layer cake piled with browned butter whipped cream – the most intensely browned butter-flavoured cake that I’ve made by far

SAM_0024browned butter strawberry cakeSAM_0092

The transformation of browned butter is a heady aromatic experience: first of melted butter, like popcorn, then as it cooks and the solids break down a bit more, of all the good things fried in butter like eggs and pancakes and toasted bread, finishing on an intense concentration of toast and caramelization.

I find it comes out immensely in butter-heavy financiers and is a fair contributor to other cakes and cookies. Though as intense as brown butter is in its unadulterated form, sometimes I struggle to coax it to step beyond team player (which it is terribly wonderful at) to be a primary flavour.

This cake is the most intensely browned butter cake that I’ve made. It doesn’t appear so at first – a soft elderflower chiffon layered with strawberries and piles of cream. However, it has no problem in demonstrating its browned butter allegiance through the piles of cream being piles of browned butter cream, made using an old Bel cream-maker.

Continue reading “strawberry cake with browned butter cream”

roasted rhubarb & strawberry layer cake – tentimestea turns 5!

tentimestea turns 5: a birthday cake, obligatory autobiographical ramblings (which I enjoy far too much) and tips on making a lower sugar layer cake with moderated sweetness

SAM_1680Version 2SAM_1530SAM_1694SAM_1636

As with every most blogiversaries, another year another cake – as well as uber-sentimental musings (replete with pretentious writing as usual) on how much I love baking and some more soul searching to try to figure out how to balance blogging with other priorities.

Continue reading “roasted rhubarb & strawberry layer cake – tentimestea turns 5!”

tiramisu cake

SAM_9376
SAM_9372
SAM_9370

This cake is tiramisu rendered in a slightly more celebratory form. If the black forest cake is what I make for my family, this tiramisu cake is what I make for my friend who adores tiramisu.

My university cafeteria had two coffee shops – the omnipresent Tim Hortons (obviously) and then the “fancy one.” I’ve completely forgotten the name now but it felt rather out of place at the time – serving belgian waffles, and carrot and tiramisu cake slices, alongside considerably more price-y espresso-based drinks. On occasion, when we had a long break between classes, we would treat ourselves to tea. The food on the other hand was a bit too much a drain on the wallet to try.

This cake is well, superficially, modelled after the tiramisu cake in the shop case – as we never ended up trying it, I’m solely working off of its exterior.

Continue reading “tiramisu cake”