Leaning Tower of .... Lemon Cake?

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th weekend is full of pitch-ins with the family. This 4th of July, Jordan and I were invited to a family flag raising to honor his Grandpa & Grandma Whitt who served in WWII and Grandpa Thompson who served during the Korean War. We were asked to bring a desert and side dish -- so I went all out and used this opportunity to try a cake recipe from cooksillustrated.com. It took approximately 7 hours from start to finish ... and was worth it!

Lemon Layer Cake -- doesn't it just look like heaven... Until you see the recipe -- There are 3 parts to the recipe. 1) Lemon Curd - Filling 2) Cake Batter 3) Icing Then you must carefully assemble the entire thing.

The Lemon Curd - Filling went pretty well, the Cake Batter was fun to mix (and would have gone a bit quicker if I had pulled out the milk and eggs ahead of time so they could have been at room temperature when I wanted to get started. I was going to wait until Saturday morning to assemble and make the icing - but since we happened to be up till 2 am watching a redbox movie I thought - what the hell, I'll give it a go. . . big mistake.

I had never cut a cake in half (horizontally) but I had my big tupperware bread knife ready to go. While I butchered the first one making the bottom layer only 1/4 an inch thick, the second cake went much better. I decided to put the tiny layer near the top and began assembly. The first two layers went together without a problem...but then came the butchered layer -- and well it seemed to go ok, so I added the rest of the filling and the final layer of cake.

I was rinsing dishes when Jordan walked in to admire my work .... he then kindly let me know it was falling apart -- I shot him a dirty look and told him it was fine... fine until he pointed out that the third layer had torn in half and was sliding down and it wasn't just a bit of lemon curd oozing out of the layers like I had assumed. I grabbed the cake at the sides and shoved the layer back in place while frantically yelling at Jordan to grab the "stick thingies" (skewers) out of the top left drawer. We were both laughing uncontrollably but he some how managed to find the sticks -- and then, of course, he insisted on snapping a photo before (much to my chagrin) jabbing them in the middle of the cake. Needless to say, I then asked him to move them to the edges to help hold the cake in place.

I decided that was enough and to put the cake in the fridge for the night so I could just deal with it in the morning. Luckily, it was all in one piece. I still needed to make the Icing -- which seemed like it was going well until I realized I had used 2 large eggs and not 2 large egg whites and had to start over. The second batch tasted delicious! I iced the cake hiding any drooping layers and carefully loaded it into the car. Some how it made it all the way to Grandma & Grandpa Whitt's with out falling apart or touching the glass lid.


editor's note: besides jabbing the sticks in the middle of the cake, I did make some positive contribution by squeezing the lemons for the filling and creating a crapton of lemon zest (which Jennie totally forgot to use). Just wanted to point out that I'm not completely worthless :)


Rachel said...

Oh, my... this looks so yummy. Might have to try this IF I can find 7 hours of free time. :)

Jennie Whitt said...

I made it again -- It took about 30 mins for prepping and cooking the filling (then 4 hrs of waiting) - I used that time to mix the cake (10 mins), and 20 min to cook the cake, assembly was about 5 mins.

I'll be making the icing tonight -- I'm guessing I can cut it down to 20 mins.

So total time 5 hrs ... a little better ?

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