Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lemon Truffle Cake

I love the spring.  I love pretty much everything about it.  I love the beautiful colors of the trees and flowers after the dreariness of January, February and March.  I love spring dresses instead of wool turtlenecks.  I love all of the cute little animals that finally come out of hiding.  And of course, I love the warmer weather!  I have been dying to make a Lemon Truffle Cake since I read the recipe on RecipeGirl's blog (Check her site out, it is awesome!!).  My boyfriend, Phil, and his parents and grandmom came over today for dinner so I wanted to make a special dessert.  It seems like the beginning of spring is the perfect time for a lemon cake, so that is what I made!

Here is my very first photo how to:

Can you tell how excited I was?   
I lined up all my ingredients for a photo op. :-)

The first step is to make a vanilla cake.  Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour 2- 9inch pans.  I also lined the bottoms of the pans with wax paper.

Blend together all of the cake ingredients, minus the egg whites, until smooth.

Separate egg whites.  The recipe calls for 5 large egg whites, but I used 6 because I wanted to be sure that I had enough.  Since I put the cake together on Friday and made the lemon truffle filling Saturday, I saved 2 of the egg yolks for the filling in the fridge in a tupperware.  I thought they were so funny hanging out here. Is it just me?  Little yellow eyeballs. ha ha I crack myself up!

Next beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Notice my cute Easter spatula.  :-)

Fold the egg whites into the egg batter gently.

I love the moment when you put something to bake in the oven.  The nervousness and excitement and pride all rolled into one.  I always say a little prayer that not only will my desserts turn out yummy but that all of the love and care that I have taken will bake right in too.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until done.

At this point, the kitchen smelled so good I wanted to dig right in.  Yummm.

The next day I prepared the Lemon Truffle filling.  Here is another cutie pie ingredient shot.

I may or may not have eaten quite a few of these white chocolate chips.

They were just so cute and little... almost like eating nothing at all so it really doesn't matter that I had a few... Ok, Ok I had so many I had to remeasure and add more chips to my bowl.  :-)

To make the truffle filling, first heat the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water on the stove until it boils.

The tricky part is adding the egg yolks.  Add them very slowly so that the eggs don't cook too fast and you end up with scrambled eggs.  I only have two hands, so the pictures I got of this part aren't really demonstrative. 

Next comes the lemon juice.  I needed 1 large lemon for enough rind and juice.

Finally, set 1/2 the hot mix aside and add the white chocolate chips to the other half.  This will become the truffle filling.   Beat the cream cheese until smooth and add in truffle filling.  Beat until smooth.

Cut the two cake layers in half.  I am terrible at cutting even layers, but I did a pretty good job this time with a serrated knife.

Spread 1/3 of the truffle filling onto the first layer.

Repeat with the other layers.  Again I wanted to stop and just dig in!  It was really difficult not to eat all of the truffle filling by the spoonful.

Use the reserved lemon curd mix for the top of the cake.  After this step, let the cake chill in the hour until the curd sets to make it easier to ice the sides.

Finally, ice the sides of the cake with the whipped topping.  *Secret* I used low fat whipped cream instead of doing what the recipe called for.  It was just easier and it was still good. Pipe a pretty border around the top of the cake to make it look finished.  

Even though I loved the cake this way, I felt like it was a little plain.  The same day I made this cake, my mom came home with the prettiest strawberries!  They were the perfect garnish. 

Almost too pretty to eat.

Almost. :-)

Verdict: I will definitely be making this again!! It was seriously one of the best cakes I have ever made.  Everyone loved it and had seconds.  I am still working on making layers straight and perfect, but no one noticed that but me. :-)

Coming up: I saw these two beautiful cakes on i am baker's blog: rose cake and hydrangea cake.  I really want to try the hydrangea cake but I think the rose cake would be easier for me to attempt.  I am thinking about doing the hydrangea technique on some cupcakes for easter for a trial run.  If I totally mess it up, I feel like cupcakes will be easier to salvage.  My friend Ally's bridal shower is coming up in June and her favorite flowers are hydrangeas.  It would be so cool if I could make that cake for her shower!  We will see. :-)

Until next time, happy baking!
Jenna xoxo

P.S. In case you were wondering what a typical Italian Sunday dinner looks like at my house...

P.P.S. Here is the recipe! 


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter or white vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 large egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup water
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup (6 ounces) chopped white chocolate or vanilla baking chips
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Prepare the cake: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and butter or shortening. Blend until the butter is evenly mixed. Add the vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl constantly, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently but thoroughly fold the whites into the cake batter. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are no longer jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Split the cooled layers horizontally to make 4 layers in all. (I use a serrated knife… and gently saw around the center to cut even layers).
5. Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork. Slowly stir about 1/4 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking quickly while adding the hot liquid. (You don’t want to create scrambled eggs, so be sure to add the hot mixture slowly, whisking it into the eggs as quickly as possible). Continue adding ¼ cups of the hot mixture to the eggs until you have warmed up the egg mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back to the mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat until the mixture boils, whisking constantly, then continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice and zest. Transfer half of the hot filling to a small bowl and set aside to cool. Add the white chocolate to the hot filling in the saucepan and stir until the chocolate is melted; set aside. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the white chocolate mixture until light and smooth. At this point, you should have a small bowl of lemon curd and a bowl of white chocolate truffle filling.
7. Spread one third of the white chocolate filling over one layer of the cake. Top with a second cake layer, then spread with one third more of the filling; top with a third cake layer and spread the remaining filling over. Top with the last cake layer and spread reserved lemon curd. Refrigerate, uncovered, until the filling is set (2 to 3 hours).
8. Make the whipped cream: In another bowl, whip the cream and sweeten it with the confectioners’ sugar. Frost the sides of the cake with half of the whipped cream frosting. Put the remaining frosting into a pastry bag and pipe decoratively around the top and bottom edge of the cake. Refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.

Serves: 16
Recipe Source: Adapted from The Great Holiday Baking Book

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