Happy Birthday to Me!
My husband decided that for my birthday this year, he would make something from this blog for me. I couldn’t let that go without some documentation.
He chose to take these Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes, and turn them into a cake.
I have to tell you, it’s really, really hard to stand by and watch while your non-baker (though decent at cooking) husband follows a recipe I made! But I mostly stayed out of his way… other than with a camera.
(For the complete tutorial on making these recipes, I highly recommend checking out the Recipe for Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes)
What You Need:
To Make 20-24 Standard Cupcakes (6-8 dozen minis):
For the Lemon Curd:
1-2 Tbsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-4 lemons)
6 egg yolks (reserve the whites for icing and cake)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (cut into chunks)
For the Cake:
White Cake Mix
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg (reserve the yolks!)
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup milk (whole milk preferred)
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2-4 lemons)
2-3 tsp. lemon zest
For the Strawberry Lemonade Icing:
4 egg whites (yolks used in curd)
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lemon curd (see above)
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 1 cup frozen)
– 7 eggs
– 5 sticks of butter
– 4-8 lemons
Make the Lemon Curd
Place the yolks from six eggs into the bottom of a small saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Whisk to combine, and set over medium-low heat.
Stirring constantly, allow the mixture to thicken. This takes me about 10 minutes. (And you really do have to stir constantly.) You know it’s ready when it coats the back of your spatula.
Remove from heat and add the butter a few chunks at a time, stirring until the chunks melt each time.
Once all of the butter is added and melted, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (to get the zest out, and any other various not-smooth bits).
Lay plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming.
Allow the lemon curd to set up in the refrigerator at least 3 hours to overnight. It keeps for about one week in the refrigerator.
Make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees (F) and grease cake pans. (Jason used three 6″ round pans, lined with a circle of parchment paper at the bottom, and greased on the sides.)
Whip the two egg whites and one whole egg in the bowl of a stand mixer for about a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on medium for two minutes.
Divide into pans, and bake according to pan directions. (For the 6″ pans, it takes 25-30 minutes.)
Remove from the pans and let cool completely.
Make the Icing
!!Wipe down all of your tools with lemon juice or vinegar before starting this icing. You need to keep all grease out of the icing before you add the butter.!!
Combine remaining 4 egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or other heatproof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water, and whisk until the mixture gets to 160-degrees. (This takes 5-15 minutes depending on how cold the egg whites are to begin with, how simmering your water is, etc.)
When they reach 160-degrees, whip the egg whites (with the whisk attachment) until a stiff peak forms- this takes again 5-10 minutes, depending on the strength and speed of your mixer.
Switch stand mixers to the paddle attachment. Add the butter, cut into chunks, lemon curd and strawberry puree.
*I usually use frozen strawberries that have been defrosted, then use an immersion blender to puree them.
Mix, starting with medium, because this will turn to soup, and if you turn it up too high, will splash out all over you. When it begins to come together again, turn it up to medium-high and mix until it is soft and fluffy. (The time on this varies from 4-10 minutes, again depending on your mixer, the temperature of your butter, the temperature of the egg whites, etc.)
*Note: This is where Jason had some difficulty. He had a hard time getting the icing to the right thick consistency. This icing can be a challenge. See my complete tutorial on Swiss Meringue Buttercream to do some troubleshooting.
Assemble the Cake
First, level the cakes, so that when you stack them, they sit evenly on one another.
Using a piping bag and tip #12, make an “icing dam” around the outside edge of the cake, to keep the lemon curd filling from oozing out of the cake.
Spoon in the lemon curd, being sure the filling is lower than the dam– or it will overtop it.
Spread the icing on the cake in a thick layer. Start with the top, then do the sides.
(You can see in this picture a little bit that the icing being too thin caused the dam to smoosh, and the filling to squeeze out of the sides.) But he recovered.
To ‘roughly ice’ the cake, take a large spoon and make “waves” in the icing to give it some texture.
To finish it off, Jason added a drizzle of some strawberry sauce, which he made by heating the juice he poured off of the defrosted strawberries with about 2 Tbsp. of sugar on the stove until it got thick.
It was fantastic! And he even said he enjoyed doing it. I wonder if that’s really true??
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