I generally try to offer one dessert that doesn’t have any chocolate in it and I like to pair it with fresh fruit and often use a lemon flavor in the base. This year I made a whipping cream cake and put lemon curd between the layers and started playing with frosting options. I made a mess.
For a few minutes it looked absolutely lovely. I baked the cakes in flower shaped pans and when I spread the frosting on the top I made petal shaped swirls in the frosting. Then I started adding my fresh fruit. That’s when the trouble began.
I sliced strawberries in half and let them sit on a paper towel for a few minutes to absorb the juices and then I put them at the ends of my ‘petals’. Almost immediately the strawberries began ‘weeping’ with the sugar from the frosting and my not-very-firm frosting went all limp and the strawberries began sliding off the edge of the cake. ACK!!!
So the strawberry halves sat around the base of the cake like I planned it that way from the beginning. The frosting stood better after refrigerating but the fruit made a lot of juice and I drained off the platter before serving. Several people really liked it and, again, the guests are too polite their curl up their noses and say, “Fruittart, what did you *do* to this thing?”. The key lime in the ‘lemon curd’ adds a little bite and does taste fantastic. I love the texture of this cake — the whipping cream for the fat with the cake flour makes a nice texture. The picture of the top was taken before I added blackberries to it.
Whipping Cream Cake (from Betty Crocker, 1969)
1 1/2 c. chilled whipping cream
3 eggs (1/2 to 2/3 c.)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 c. cake flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour baking pans.
In chilled bowl, beat cream until stiff.
Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Fold eggs and vanilla into whipped cream.
Stir together remaining ingredients; fold gently into cream-egg mixture until blended. Pour into pans.
Bake 30-35 min or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
4 large lemons
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
8 egg yolks
Grate the zest finely from the lemons, then squeeze and strain 3/4 c. of juice. After juicing 4 lemons I only had 1/3 c. and I didn’t have any bottled juice on hand so I added key lime juice until I got to 3/4 c.
Combine the juice, zest, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Whisk the yolks in a bowl until liquid. Beat 1/4 of the boiling liquid into the yolks and return the remaining liquid to a boil over low heat. Whisk the yolk mixture into the boiling liquid and continue whisking until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Do not allow the lemon curd to boil or it will scramble, although it may come to a slight simmer at the edge of the pan.
Pour the lemon curd into a clean container, press plastic wrap against the surface and chill.
For my frosting I used 4 oz. cream cheese, 1/4 c. butter, 1/3 – 1/2 c. lemon curd, a couple Tbsp. of whipping cream and several (5-6) c. powdered sugar. Because of the moisture from the lemon curd, it turned out rather soft and I really could have added more powdered sugar to get a firmer frosting that may have held up better with the fruit, although it was doing just fine until I added the cut strawberries. I think the whipping cream could be left out entirely. It made more frosting than I needed for the cake.