Monday, November 16, 2009

Lemon (Meringue?) Cake (Part 1)

Mr Pancakes wanted to eat lemon meringue cake and so he asked Mrs Pancakes to make one. Thus started the journey of lemon meringue cakes. There were 3 different versions of the cake but till now Mrs Pancakes still isn't satisfied with any of them. However, she(or I) shall share the 3 so far.

First try was a couple of months back, where Mrs Pancakes got a recipe from Martha Stewart's website. As it is the first time she tried to make this cake, she decided to stick by the recipe.

Firstly, the cake!

Makes one 9-inch layer cake

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups Lemon Curd
2 recipes Meringue


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Flour pans, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and the lemon zest. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand in pans until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove cakes from pans. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes. Slice each cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd. Top with second layer of cake. Spread with 1/4 cup curd. Repeat with remaining cake and curd, finishing with a layer of cake. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to use, at least 2 hours.

Remove cake from refrigerator. Spread a thin even layer of meringue over sides of cake. Mound the remaining meringue on top of cake. Use a handheld torch to brown meringue.

As the Pancakes did not have a blow torch, Mrs Pancakes tried to blast the cake in the oven to get the meringue brown. However, the meringue did not turn out as she wanted :(

Next, the lemon curd!
The lemon curd was a success as Mr Pancakes loved it! Ha!
Makes about 3 cups
16 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

Prepare an ice water bath; set aside.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium heatproof bowl. Add the lemon juice, butter, and lemon zest.
Place over a pan of simmering water and cook, whisking occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes.
Transfer bowl to ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Transfer to refrigerator until completely cold, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

And lastly, the meringue.

Makes about 12 cups
2 cups sugar
8 large egg whites (1 cup)
3 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to the mixer stand fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes. Increase to high speed and beat until stiff glossy peaks form, 10 to 15 minutes more.

The lemon curd was perfect!  However, the cake a tat too sweet and the meringue grew watery very easily in Singapore's humid weather :(
Not completely satisfied with the first cake, Mrs Pancakes decided to make a second one....
Lemon Meringue Cake (Part 2) .. to be continued

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