Sunday, August 31, 2014

When You Have Lemons, Forget The Lemonade, Make Cake!!!!!

It's no secret that I truly enjoy Design Sponge, the blog for all things design related, written by Grace Bonney. They recently posted a Lemon Cake and Pistachio Cream Trifle that sounded absolutely delightful. Since my mother's birthday was coming up, I was looking for something new and interesting and this seemed to be perfect. You can read the article and find the recipe here.
One of the special ingredients in the cake is Limoncello, an Italian liqueur made from lemons. A splash of Limoncello in a glass of sparkling water makes the most delightful summer time drink. Make it pretty with a slice of lemon :)  

Here's the recipe, but be sure to stop by Design Sponge and read the entire article.

Lemon Cake and Pistachio Creme Trifle
-serves a crowd
-you will need two 9-inch cake pans and one 8- or 9-inch glass trifle bowl
For the lemon cakes:
  • two tablespoons of butter, melted, and a tablespoon of flour for dusting the cake pans
  • half cup almond flour
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • half cup whole milk
  • ⅛ cup limoncello (to brush the cakes with once they’ve cooled)

For the Pistachio Creme:
  • 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup mascarpone
For the Whipped Cream layer:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ⅛ cup raw unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Butter, line with parchment paper, and flour your cake pans, being sure to tap out all excess flour.
Mix the flours and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together with a mixer until very white and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and milk and blend. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle is set and the top is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in their pans. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely before composing your trifle.
Make the Pistachio Creme:
Grind the nuts and sugar in a food processor until fine. Add the lemon zest and pulse. Add the lemon juice and pulse. Add the mascarpone and pulse until smooth. The pistachio creme should be at room temperature when assembling the trifle so that it is spreadable.

Make the Whipped Cream:
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assemble the trifle:
Trim one cake to fit the bottom of the trifle bowl. Reserve the cake trimmings for the topping. Brush the cake with half of the limoncello. Spoon half of the pistachio creme on top of the cake, using the back of the spoon to spread it into an even layer. Spoon half of the whipped cream on top of the pistachio creme layer. Trim your remaining cake layer as necessary, and brush with limoncello, then repeat the layering of the cake, pistachio creme and whipped cream. Crumble some of the reserved cake trimmings and chopped pistachios on top of the final whipped cream layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve
And here's my finished creation.
My bowl was a little large, so the cake did not come all the way to the edge, but that's okay. We are celebrating my mother's birthday today, so I have yet to cut into the trifle, but I will admit to tasting along the way and if the sum of the parts tastes as good as the parts, this is going to be one over the top cake! One note, I brushed my cake with about twice the amount of limoncello that the recipe called for.
The cake is easy to make and it smells heavenly, that is if Heaven smells like lemons ;) I think this is going to become a new favorite recipe. The cake is by no means a diet cake, but hey, no one should be on a diet on their birthday or any special occasion for that matter!

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  1. I made a double batch of lemoncello this year so this will be perfect & yes it's a wonderful summer drink with sparkling g water or processeco . Beautiful presentation on cake :)