There are three things that inevitably happen when serving a typical frosted cake at the end of an outdoor summer party. One: the cake has been placed out during the entire event and the frosting has melted down the side. Two: No one can locate a cake knife which turns everyone into a problem solver with all sorts of intoxicated suggestions. Three: By the time everyone agrees that the handle of a serving spoon combined with a pair of BBQ tongs will do the trick, half of the guests will starting saying how they can only have “half a piece dear” or “just a little wedge for me”. Ok folks, time to go home now!
My solution to these problems is to make a lighter cake in individual servings using fresh fruit and lemon curd thickened with a bit of confectioners sugar. The individual servings remove the slice size requests and the people who are conscientious of their caloric intake can feel more comfortable with less fat and more fruit. The lack of an entire cake covered with a buttercream or whipped cream covering makes for a better looking presentation with no sagging frosting. If you set them on dessert plate prior to serving, you eliminate the chatter of what to use to cut the cake.
This is a delicious recipe that will help you host a less stressful conclusion to what should be a wonderful time spent with the people you love. T-pum
Mise en place: 350 degree oven
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 Tbs. Vanilla Extract (pure)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup lemon curd (Trader Joes)
1 cup Heavy cream
Fresh berries (Black, Blue, Rasp, Strawberries)
Powdered sugar for dusting
13 x 9 cake pan
Large round biscuit cutter
Let’s Begin: Most cake recipes will tell you to dump all of the dry ingredients into a bowl or a stand-up mixer and add after eggs, but I suggest the first step should be to sift together all of the dry ingrediants except the powdered sugar used for garnish. Do this step twice. Not only does it make for a lighter flour that mixes well with wet ingredients , it also evenly distributes the baking powder, baking soda and the salt. If you were to buy cake flour, it would have the same dry ingredients. Why not just do that you ask? Because I wanted to teach you something. Set this bowl of dry ingredients aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together using an electric mixer for 3 minutes on a high speed setting. After 3 minutes it should appear light and fluffy. (This is called the creaming method). Scrape down the bowl. Start adding eggs to the creamed sugar one at a time and then add the vanilla extract.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Slowly add the cup of milk and blend. Add the remaining flour and beat until well blended.
Grease and flour a 13 x 9 cake pan or spray and line with parchment paper cut to fit. Evenly smooth batter with rubber spatula and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or check with toothpick between these times.
Remove from the oven and let the cake pan cool on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes.
Lemon Curd Whipped Cream:
While the cake is cooling, place an electric mixing bowl into the freezer for about 5 minutes. A very cold bowl helps to whip the cream to peaks faster. Using a whisk attachment, add the heavy cream and starting on a low setting, increase the speed in 30 second increments to avoid splatters. Whipping cream in a mixer is never a perfectly timed task and requires attention for the consistency that you need. You have to eyeball it. I’ve learned to walk away to do something else because I know the sound of the mixer once its to the stage I want. You will see the cream build volume and start to form peaks. Remember that one cup of heavy cream will typically double during mixing. Just after peaks start to form, stop and scrape down the bowl. Again, begin on a slow speed up to a medium speed. Begin adding the lemon curd one spoon at a time until well mixed and the color turns to a pale yellow. This becomes your filling and should stand slightly firm, but not runny. place the bowl into the refrigerator.
By now the cake should be cooled enough to turn out onto a flat surface. Using a biscuit cutter, map out how many cake circles you will have. You need an even number in order to have two layers for each individual serving. Cut rounds as close together as possible. Any remaining heat will quickly cool.
Build each mini cake by slightly opening a paper muffin cup and place the bottom round inside the cup. Add a dollop or two of the lemon curd whipped cream and set the top layer. Another dollop on top. Place berries on the top cream but, do not press them down. The weight of the berries will allow this to happen slightly. Dust the top lightly with powdered sugar and place the mini cakes on a serving platter in a cool place until you are ready to serve.
I know you will love this recipe, it seems slightly difficult, but really it isn’t. Compared to the three inevitabilities I mention above, It’s a piece of cake!!!!