Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring in action: Lemon mascarpone layer cake

lemon-cake (1)

The coming of Spring means different things to different people. In our family it means a lot of celebrating. There's Easter, Mother's Day, and birthdays galore. Both of my nieces have Spring birthdays, as does my brother-in-law. This year was a perfect storm of sorts with Easter falling on my brother-in-law's birthday and just 3 days after my youngest niece's 1st birthday.

Easter weekend - always full of food and treats - was especially celebratory this year. We attended a 1st birthday party for little Catie on Saturday with 2 cakes and then my sister baked a cake on Sunday for her husband's birthday. Her lemon mascarpone layer cake was a hit with everyone and the lemon was perfect for an unseasonably warm Spring day.

Given how yummy this cake was and how beautiful, I thought we'd give a guest spot to my sister for today's post. I plan to file this recipe away for future use so it only seemed fitting to share it with everyone. Enjoy!

Note well, to save time, you can substitute good quality store-bought lemon curd for the homemade. You'll need about 16 ounces.

lemon-cake

Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Lemon curd
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Cake
6 large eggs, separated
14 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese

For lemon curd:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with parchment paper. Using electric mixer (hand mixer recommended here since you'll need it for several different items, and a stand mixer with only one bowl would be problematic) beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean and dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy, at least another 4 minutes. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.

Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto rack, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin). Peel off parchment and set layers aside while you make the syrup and filling.

For syrup:
Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/3 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice.

For filling and frosting:
Beat cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until well blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with syrup (do not drench the cake). Spread a thin layer of lemon curd over it, then about 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with syrup and spread with lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with syrup, then spread lemon curd over. Spread the lemon-mascarpone filling over the cake top and sides to coat it (like a crumb coat). Fill pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes) with filling. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake until covered. You may not use all of the filling so keep it for another use if you want. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.If your filling is too soft to pipe the rosettes, just put the bowl of filling in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes until it firms up a bit.

Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

lemon-cake (3)

9 comments:

Rochelle said...

That cake looks so fresh and with the lemon I bet it was quite the spring b-day cake! I took just celebrated my b-day on Easter, and I'm half wishing I had made one like this instead of my death by chocolate :D

Kathy Gori said...

Your house sounds like ours with all sorts of holidays and celebrations in one month!
the cake is absolutely lovely, I'm going to have to try this.

s. stockwell said...

WOW! This looks gorgeous!

Chef Dennis said...

OMG....you have me drooling....what a beautiful cake and the thought of that lemon curd and that soft moist cake and that marscapone...sigh.....it must be heaven

lisaiscooking said...

This is a beautiful cake, and I love lemon desserts!

bunkycooks said...

What a beautiful cake for Spring! I love lemon and mascarpone...it must be good!

Flavoursome Delights said...

That’s one impressive cake. Well done, I like it.

SashaInTheKitchen said...

That's one amazing cake. Absolutely beautiful - you did a great job decorating the cake and it looks and sounds like it tasted pretty light, lemony and amazing!

Miss. Tarrah Dame said...

this looks and sounds amazing! I might have to try it out as I LOVE lemon and marscapone!
http://cuppycakebakes.blogspot.com

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