Well, hello. It’s been a while, I know, but just wait, I have some great new recipes for you. I can hardly believe that I got married a year ago this May, but between work, teaching, and finishing up coursework for my MFA, time has been flying by. In honor of our anniversary, I want to share one of our wedding cakes.
I have to admit that when I first suggested making our wedding cake, my husband-to-be got a sort of startled, frozen look on his face. To be fair, he knows I’m prone to taking on too much, and I had admittedly never made a tiered cake before. But I was also in love with the idea, and soon Andy was too. We even decided that we would pass the cake out ourselves.
So I began pouring over recipes, blogs, and the indispensable Cake Bible. I’m not fond of fondant, nor, really buttercream. But what other frosting would hold up in the heat? And what flavor for the cake? Almost everyone loves chocolate, but we were enamoured with the idea of lemon. In the end, we decided on not one, but two kinds of cakes – a tiered chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache and powdered sugar, and several lemon layer cakes with lemon curd filling and a stiffened whipped cream frosting.
And the results were just what we’d hoped for. Rather than a sea of plates covered in half-eaten cake, we had a neat stack of empty ones. In fact most people had a slice of one flavor, and then they came back to try a slice of the other. How much cake in all? We made one 12-inch tier and one 8-inch tier of chocolate (each of two 2-inch deep layers, which we then divided to make 4 layers on each tier), and three 10-inch lemon layer cakes, also with two 2-inch deep layers divided so that each cakes were 4 layers tall. Heavenly. I was afraid we would have too little, but we served about 100 people and had about half of the 12-inch chocolate layer, and one lemon cake left over. We declined to freeze the leftovers, and instead ate wedding cake morning, noon and night for several weeks after.
Although both cakes were delicious, the lemon cake was the almost universal favorite. The cake recipe comes from Sara Jenkins and is available online here. I doubled the recipe and baked my cakes in 10-inch cake pans. Then I cut each round in half horizontally to create 4 layers. This makes a beautiful and dramatic layer cake, but it would be equally delicious with two thicker layers, or with two thin layers. If you make four layers, as I did, you’ll probably want to double the lemon curd and whipped cream recipes.
Once the cakes are baked and cooled, divide them if desired and fill with about 1/4 inch lemon curd between each layer. Cover generously with the whipped cream and garnish with lemon zest. Store chilled until ready to serve.
Lemon Curd (makes 1 cup)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- pinch salt
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a heavy saucepan. Make sure the sugar and yolks are well combined; otherwise the yolks will curdle when the lemon juice is added. Add all other ingredients except the lemon zest and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not let the mixture reach a boil. When the curd has thickened and turned an opaque yellow color, remove from heat and pour through a strainer. Stir in the lemon zest and allow to cool. The curd will thicken as it cools. Can be stored for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
Stabilized Whipped Cream (makes 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Chill mixing bowl. Heat sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan and gradually add 1/4 cup of the cream. Simmer for a few seconds, stirring constantly. Cool and add the vanilla. Beat the remaining cream in the chilled bowl until it begins to hold the beater marks. Add the cornstarch and sugar mixture slowly, beating constantly. Continue beating until stiff peaks begin to form. Do not overbeat. Store up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.