Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lemon Curd Cake

After finally getting the oven to work, I had to celebrate with dessert. First of all, I attempted to make a pavlova but again I had no success. This time it was not because of the oven, but now I have a new recipe and very soon I will be posting about how to make a successful pav. Until then, everybody will have to settle for lemon cake with lemon curd on top. Why? Because after attempting to make a pav, I had a lot of egg yolks left over and seeing as I am not a huge fan of egg, I decided to use it for lemon curd, because lemon curd would have to be one of the yummiest custard-like substances around. So I had lemon curd and I had to make a dessert, and I couldn't quite decide on what I wanted. A friend of mine makes the most delicious lemon curd cake, which I think may simply be plain sponge cake, cut into four quarters and stacked together with lemon curd sandwiched in between. However, I wasn't sure and would rather wait for a recipe than take a guess, so I made up my own cake instead. I didn't actually make it up entirely, first I checked out and took inspiration from the first lemon curd cake that I found. I had to change it because I didn't have all the ingredients that I needed, but the final product turned out really well.

Lemon Curd

I had never made lemon curd before, in fact I never really knew what it was until I moved to Ireland, although I love lemon meringue pie, the filling of which turns out to be lemon curd. I've been putting off trying to make it myself for no real reason, I just hadn't gotten around to it. Now, however, I had egg yolks to use and an urge for lemony goodness. I found this recipe on another blog, Cook Almost Anything, and chose it because it was really simple. It took a bit longer than what the recipe implied, but perhaps that was just me.

4 egg yolks
150 grams caster sugar
100 mL lemon juice
70 grams butter

First, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk or beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are really pale and thick. The original recipe said to beat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is not grainy but I found that there was far too much sugar, relative to the amount of yolk, and the mixture did not become smooth. This, however, was no cause for concern as I figured that as soon as I began to heat the mixture the sugar would dissolve.

So the next step was to squeeze the lemons until I had 100 mL, which was about 2 lemons for me but they may have been extra large and juicy because the recipe specified about 4 or 5 lemons. Or you could buy lemon juice. Add the lemon juice to the egg mixture, then weigh the butter, cut it into small pieces and add that to the saucepan aswell.

Heat the mixture on a medium-low heat, stirring continuously or as much as you can be bothered. This part took quite a while but eventually the mixture began to thicken, then after a bit longer it got really thick. Basically, what you are making here is lemon flavoured custard so it should get to a custardy consistency. It would be faster if you turned the heat up but then it might also burn, or the egg will cook too much and it won't taste good. So be patient, keep stirring, don't let it boil.

When the curd is thick, remove it from the heat and give it a good whisk. This recipe should make about 400 mL, so you can either pour it into sterilised jars or into a large enough serving jug or cup or gravy boat (anything really), because if you are anything like me you will eat it so quickly that there is really no point in sterilising jars.

Lemon Curd Cake

150 grams butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup lemon curd
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Now I have already rambled on for far too long and I really have other things to be doing so I'm going to try make this one quick and to the point. First, as always, preheat the oven. I can't quite remember at what temperature I cooked this but I'm going to guess at the usual, standard temperature of 18 degrees celsius. I used a bundt tin because that was all I had but you could also use a small square or round tin - about 20 cm would do. Grease the tin and set it aside.

Now, soften the butter and beat in the sugar until the mixture is pale and creamy. Then add the egg and lemon curd and beat well.

 The last step is to add the flour and milk and mix well. I used self-raising flour but instead of this you could of course use plain flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until it is done, about 30 minutes.

To finish the cake, drizzle or spread your lemon curd over the top until it is dripping down the sides. My picture above looks a bit goopy because I mixed my lemon curd with some whipped cream, to try and make it sort of light and fluffy, but I had only a little cream and the curd is so heavy that it just liquified. So I would not suggest trying to make lemon whipped cream. Just stick to plain curd. It's so good left the way it is. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, because cold cake can be really good on a hot evening.

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