Saturday was my hubby’s birthday. We don’t go in for giving each other big gifts any longer as we are old. If we want something we either save up and buy it or think long and hard as to whether we really need it. So my gift to him this year was to cook him a delicious birthday dinner.
It was an all day in the kitchen affair but it was well worth it. I’ll post all the components but not all at one time. I’ll start today with dessert! Why not eat dessert first, right? We didn’t but I just feel like going down that route….
I made miniature vanilla cakes with whipped cream cheese frosting filled with lemon curd.
Isn’t that just the cutest little cake you have ever seen? For size comparison it is on an 8″ plate.
The hubby said he didn’t want a big cake with leftovers lying around. I think I complied….I made one for each of us.
The recipe came from my Small Batch Baking cookbook. It called for commercial lemon curd.
So first I had to make the lemon curd.
It is really quite easy to make. You will need:
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 TBS lemon zest
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
pinch of salt
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and heat over med-high heat. (This was a new recipe for me. In the future I will beat the eggs first.)
Mix well. It looks a bit, well disgusting at this point but have patience.
Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon or spatula and doesn’t run back together when you pull your finger through it. Do not boil and do not over cook!
When working with anything egg based I always strain it before storing.
Place the curd in the refrigerator to cool.
Now on to the cake. I used the recipe for the Old Fashioned Yellow Cake but of course I made a couple of changes ’cause I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand. I’ll post the recipe and note my changes.
1/2 cup all purpose flour sifted (I used White Whole Wheat)
3 TBS buttermilk (I used heavy cream mixed with vinegar)
1/8 tsp baking soda
Yolk of one large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
The recipe calls for using tin cans as baking vehicles. I just used ramekins. I had them on hand and felt they were a better vehicle. If you don’t have ramekins and feel comfortable using cans the recipe calls for 2 – 14.5oz cans, buttered and floured.
Preheat the oven to 350°
Mix the buttermilk and baking soda. Whisk until the baking soda is dissolved.
Add the vanilla, egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, mix well.
Add the buttermilk mixture.
Stir gently until just mixed.
Divide the batter between the two cooking vessels be they ramekins or cans. Place the ramekins or cans on a baking sheet and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Remove the cakes from their containers and cool completely.
For the frosting – I improvised. I know. You are shocked!
I put 1 1/2 oz of cream cheese in my KitchenAid and beat it with the paddle. I added 1/2 tsp lemon extract. I scraped it down with a spatula and added 1/2 cup heavy cream. I put on the whisk attachment and let it rip. When the frosting started to thicken I added 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and a pinch of salt. I beat it until it reached slightly past soft peak stage.
To build the little cakes:
Cut each cake in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
When I am frosting a cake I always put down four pieces of waxed paper so I can keep the plate clean. Then I place the bottom later of the cake. Then I added the lemon curd.
Then the top layer of the cake.
Then I frosted the cake. First I went around just to cover it and then I added a thicker layer making it look nice and fluffy. After I was satisfied I pulled the pieces of wax paper out one by one.
I wanted to decorate the little cake but also keep it simple so I took a kiwi fruit and cut it into wedges. I cut the white piece out of the center and cut the wedges into small triangles.
I put them around the bottom of the cake. I then chopped a wedge into little pieces and put them on top.
There you have it – a mini vanilla cake with lemon curd filling and whipped cream cheese frosting.
The cakes were very tasty; they were VERY rich but the lemon curd helped with cutting through that richness. The frosting was quite light and the tart kiwi was a perfect accent.
Tomorrow I’ll show you another piece of his birthday dinner.