My first daring baker’s challenge completed! Since this is my first challenge, I should explain the process. This is a group of bloggers, and non bloggers who “knead to bake!”. At the beginning of each month the host selects a recipe, posts it and sets out the guidelines for what can and what cannot be changed/personalized and also indicated what day everyone will post their final results.

Thank you Morven for hosting this month’s challenge. I was excited to make this cake because I love anything lemon. I made it a few weeks ago for a friend’s engagement party. For the most part it turned out well. Throughout the month on the Daring Baker’s blog some folks were noting that the cake did not rise properly. Morven noted a few changes in the recipe before I baked my cake, but alas mine still did not rise the way I would have liked! I did use cake flour, a different brand than she had suggested, but it was what they had at our local store. As a result I ended up making a second batch of batter after the first had been baked. In the end I had 4 cakes, used 3, and didn’t end up slicing them in half as per the recipe.

A few other things. I left out the raspberry preserves, but used both a lemon and lime curd (recipe’s below – love these!) And I also made a quick lemon syrup that i brushed on each cake before layering the curd.

One final note about the cake – I loved the marshmallowy icing (Swiss Meringue Buttercream)! I think it was beautiful to make and it was much simpler than I thought it would be…so if I walk away with one thing, it would definately be that!

**I wish I had taken a picture of the slices, the alternate between the yellow and the green lime curd was actually very lovely against the white of the cake and the crisp white of the buttercream**

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk (the recipe suggested whole milk as an alternate)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Lemon & Lime Curd
*I made one batch of Lemon & one of Lime*

3 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon citrus zest
¾ cup granulates sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions:
Move oven rack to centre, heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

To Make the Cake

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
  3. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. (I loved this part!)
  4. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
  5. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
  6. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
  7. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
  8. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
  9. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
  11. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
  12. Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream

  1. Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes.
  2. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  4. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
  5. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
  6. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
  7. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
  8. On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
  9. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Make the Lemon or Lime Curd

  1. In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until blended.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or hollandaise sauce). This will take approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour though a fine strainer to remove any lumps.
  4. Cut the butter into cubes and whisk into the mixture until completely melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool.
  5. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
  6. Cover immediately (so skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

To Assemble the Cake

  1. Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. (I didn’t do this part as my cake didn’t rise enough)
  2. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
  3. Spread it with one third of the preserves.Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
  4. Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
  5. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides.
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