Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cake

Today's my birthday and it started with a long day but wonderful and lovely with lots of people closest to me. Before the DAY, I was busy preparing a birthday cake for myself and ended till the wee hours. Although I had in mind a cake to make, I was deliberating whether to bake or not to bake. Ended up I started baking preparation late in the night (like 9.30pm). So I was practically still baking the cake when the clock striked twelve i.e. on my birthday! And the cake was only frosted in the morning, just before the time we were supposedly to leave the house and picked up my family members for brunch! I was rushing. TL commented that I must have rushed to come to this world. Period.

Being a super inefficient and bad planner me, this was a tedious birthday cake to make. If any other bakers were to see me in this state, they would probably looked in exasperation. One thing for sure, I can't bake for a living, hah!

Anyway, whilst planning for my own birthday cake, I was flipping the new recipe book I got last month - "My Birthday Cake" by Kevin Chai. The pictures are all alluring but I finally decided on a Lemon Meringue Cake because I was left with 3 lemons sitting in the fridge for ages. Ironically, I did not followed the recipe in the book, the final cake was an assembly of various recipes.

Lemon Curd
(Recipe adapted from The Little Teochew)

60g unsalted butter
200g sugar
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
120ml fresh lemon juice (from 2.5 lemons)
1 tsp grated lemon zest, or more if you like (depending on how strong you want the flavour of lemon)

1. In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients except the butter*. Mix well. Place the bowl over a bain-marie** (water bath) and stir constantly. The mixture may look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
2. If you want a more subtle taste of lemon, do not add the zest at this stage. Set aside with the butter.
3. Once the mixture thickens - it should leave a path on the back of a spoon - turn off the flame and add butter in 2 or 3 additions. If you have not added in your lemon zest, add it in now and stir to mix well.
4. Allow the curd to cool slightly before transferring to a clean jar or bowl. Strained the curd to get a smooth curd. Make sure it is covered to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

Genoise Cake Batter
(Recipe adapted, doubled and slightly modified from Honey Bee Sweets)

86g clarified butter (or unsalted butter)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (100g + 18g)
100g caster sugar
66g cake flour
66g corn flour

1. Preheat the oven to 175C.
2. To prepare the butter, in a microwavable bowl, warm the butter until hot. Stir in the vanilla bean paste, cover and keep warm.
3. To prepare the egg mixture; in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs, yolk, and sugar until just lukewarm to the touch, stirring constantly with a long handled whisk to prevent curdling.
4. Immediately remove the bowl to the stand mixer and attach the whisk beater. Beat on high speed for a minimum of 5 minutes. It will more than quadruple in volume and very thick and airy.
5. Remove almost 1/2 cup of the beaten egg mixture and whisk it thoroughly into the melted butter.
6. Sift about half of the flour over the remaining egg mixture, fold it in gently but rapidly until almost all the flour has disappeared. Repeat with the remaining flour until all traces of the flour have disappeared.
7. Fold in the butter mixture until just incorporated. Make sure you reach into the bottom of the pan to be sure to moisten all the flour.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared 7" cake tin.
9. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the skewer inserted into the cake came out clean.
Note: To prevent the collapse of its delicate foam structure, while still hot, the genoise must be unmould as soon as it is baked.

(Recipe adapted from My Birthday Cake by Kevin Chai)

70g egg whites
60g caster sugar (reduced from 70g)
40g ground almond
25g dessicated coconut
10g plain flour

1. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
2. Gradually add in sugar, continue beating until stiff peaks form.
3. Combine ground almond, dessicated coconut and flour, and fold into egg white mixture.
4. Spread meringue onto 2 sheets of 7" diameter of round greaseproof paper.
5. Bake at 170 deg C for 25 mins or until golden brown.

Crystallized Lemon
(Recipe adapted from My Birthday Cake by Kevin Chai)

Half a lemon (sliced) - this is what I had left
50g caster sugar
25ml water

1. Bring sugar and water to boil.
2. Add in lemon slices and continue to cook on low heat until sugar thickens.
3. Remove and leave to cool.

Lemon Curd Cream
1 cup whipping cream
Slightly more than 1/4 cup lemon curd

1. Whisk whipping cream until stiff peak.
2. Add in lemon curd into whipped cream and continue to beat at low speed until well combined.
3. Stored in fridge until ready to use.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Slice the cake into 3 portions.
  2. Spread lemon curd cream onto a slice of cake and sandwich with meringue.
  3. Continue step (2) and cover with another slice of cake.
  4. Coat the entire cake with remaining cream.
  5. Decorate crystallized lemon slices onto the cake.
  6. Pipe lemon curd on the cake in any design.

Unfortunately, the genoise sponge cake did not work for me this time and I strongly believe it's because I didn't manage the techniques required. The texture was densed although not dry. I must work very hard to get THE sponge cake. Overall, the combination of lemon curd/cream, genoise sponge cake and meringue is a twist to a conventional cake, rather refreshing I would say. As usual, my family members are very supportive and finished up the cake!

I'm submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #5: Fruity March hosted by Jess of Bakericious.


Cooking Gallery said...

Happy Birthday! The cake looks very very pretty!

CaThY said...

Happy birthday! Your birthday cake is lovely ;)

j3ss kitch3n said...

Happy Birthday beautiful Mummy!!! the cake is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. Thanks for the detailed recipe. Lovely cake though.

Best regards,

Hooney said...

Your Birthday cake and family picture look good. I rarely attempt to make cakes here because I doubt they will turn out like the ones in Singapore. The frosting cream recipes here are usually heavy in taste, overly sweet and buttery for me. Happy Belated BirthdAY!

The Sweetylicious said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (: the cake look extremely lovely! but i guess you'll gasp when you see me assembling layered cakes! so, GREAT JOB! (:

Janine said...

happy birthday to you and the cake looks beautiful, esp with the tiny dots on the side :)

quizzine said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely well-wishes! Much appreciated and it definitely made my birthday even better (@@,)