In the meantime, my father actually just had his birthday 10 days before my brother's. Like what I said before, my family doesn't really celebrate birthday. A birthday is just like any other day--we're good and satisfied as long as we're still one family together. On top of that, we value practicality haha ...! Birthday cakes aren't going to last us through the week and leave us filled ... sort of unhealthy. In other words, I didn't make any "grand" cake again for both the occasions ... just like what I did to mine a month ago. =)
Nonetheless, my dad didn't mind at all. He just ate whatever I came up with in the kitchen last weekend. (They were this, this, this and this. Have yet to blog about them though ...) My dear brother even told me that he's fine and happy with the vanilla bean cookies and some plain, simple banana chiffon I made this past weekend. (He doesn't like bread LOL!! Strange huh?) Well, dad and bro ... When you're happy, I'm just as happy as you guys are! Love you!
BUT, but ... I've decided to mark these two important days in my life with the lemony layered birthday cake I made four days before waving goodbye to the States for good. It was actually meant for the birthday of my family friend's the then-7-year-old son. Together with his family, we celebrated Jonathan's eighth year on Earth in late August with this simple and yet delicious gateau! So Jonathan, would you mind sharing your cake with us here in Malaysia LOL!!?? (I do miss you guys!! Stay warm yea in the harsh winter of northern Minnesota!
LOL! Jonathan was so nice that he let me cut his cake first
for photo shooting even before he blew his candles! =P
for photo shooting even before he blew his candles! =P
My original idea for the birthday gateau that time was a Swiss roll of lemon cake base with lemon curd as filling, and coated with sweetened whipped cream and desiccated coconut. A chiffon (cake) base is no doubt a great choice with its signature light, fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Too bad, my underestimation of the recipe wrecked the plan!
I baked the lemon chiffon cake batter in a huge baking tray ... But with the extra batter that I stubbornly risked pouring onto the tray, the chiffon rose WAY too high ... more than I'd desire for the rolling and assembling of a Swiss roll =_="". Because the situation couldn't be reverted, I decided to make a rectangular layered cake instead hahahaha ...! Oh, well ... Learning along the way ...
But boy, this lemon chiffon recipe was sure good! One of my good baking friends Happy Homebaker, from Singapore, was kind enough to share her recipe here. It was REALLY soft, fluffy with melt-your-mouth texture! You won't even realize how many slices you've been stuffing yourself with ... EXACTLY what you'd want in a good chiffon! Its lemony smell and flavor was strong enough for you to sniff and taste, ... but not too powering at the same time.
Lemon curd in the making
And the day before, I had prepared lemon curd using the recipe from none other than Joy of Baking. For the sake of convenience, work with cold lemons for grating and lemons that are at room temperature for juicing. Because I worried about it being too sweet, I reduced the sugar again by about 40 grams. Oh, dear ... It was really creamy and rich, sweet and yet tangy! Thinking about it makes me want to whip up another batch this weekend for my bread toasts next week hahaha! This recipe is definitely a keeper, too. (Of course, feel free to use the quantity of sugar indicated in the recipe if you have sweeter tooth.)
Next, it was time to assemble the gateau! I laid the sheet cake horizontally and sliced evenly in thirds. Then, I smothered generous amount of the lemon curd in between these layers except for the surface of the top most layer. Speaking of a "good and simple" whipped cream-only cake decorator, I'm the best candidate around LOL! (Because I have zero idea on fondant decorating!!?? Youfei, you've got to teach me someday man!)
For a good and simple approach, I made some sweetened whipped cream and AGAIN--smothered the entire surface of the layered cake with it. Figuring that coconut and lemon make a heavenly pair, I decided to cover the cake--from top to bottom--with desiccated coconut. But, that wasn't it! As I was pretty desperate in getting rid of the remaining lemon curd, I "dumped" and spread it over the top of the cake. ... Ha ... Nice and simple way to go about, and yet an absolutely sinful way to indulge yourself in some cake! *giggling*
For some reasons, the cake slants once I've sliced it
What more can I say!? This gateau au citron was truly refreshing! Light and so moist, sweet and yet tangy! The whipped cream and coconut made it an even more sinful indulgence!!!
Lemony Layered Birthday Cake/Gateau d'Anniversaire au Citron
Lemon Curd (Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's, of Joy of Baking)
Makes about 360ml
3 large eggs, at room temperature
80ml lemon juice
110g sugar (was 150g)
56g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 Tbsp (approximately 4g) finely grated lemon zest
- In a double boiler that's placed over simmering water, whisk (A) together till blended--stirring constantly as you cook to prevent scrambling the eggs! Cook till it's thickened up with the consistency of hollandaise sauce, i.e. creamy and thick with a still-pourable consistency--may take about 10 minutes
- Remove the mixture immediately from heat and pour through a fine strainer to remove lumps. Then, whisk in the cubed butter to the lemon curd till melted and just combined; mix in the zest. Set aside to let cool completely--it will further thicken up as it cools.
- Once cooled thoroughly, store the curd in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
Lemon Chiffon (Adapted Happy Homebaker's)
For one 10.5(W) x 15.5(L) x 1(H)-inch / 27(W) x 39(L) x 2.5(H)cm sheet pan
270g cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp salt
8 egg yolks, at room temperature
135ml neutral-tasting oil (e.g. canola, corn, vegetable or rice bran oil)
25ml fresh lemon juice
finely grated zest of about 3 lemons
8 egg whites, at room temperature
- Grease and then line the sheet pan with parchment paper; combine (B) together and sift once, set aside for use later
- Whisk (C) together till pale and sticky, then mix in (D) to blend well along with the lemon zest
- Fold in the sifted flour mixture till incorporated by hand using a rubber spatula or balloon whisk; set aside
- Whip the egg whites together till foamy in a clean, grease-free bowl, then gradually mix in the 108g sugar as you continue whipping the egg whites till you reach the stiff-peak stage.
- Fold in 1/3 of the meringue to the egg yolk mixture till combined to "lighten up" the batter, then VERY GENTLY fold in the remaining batter in two portions until just combined--DON'T OVERMIX; or else, you'll risk deflating the air in the meringue ... ended up with hard, dry and crumbly cake!
- Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, then smooth out the surface of the batter evenly and make sure that each corner of the pan is filled with the batter. Gently and briefly tap the bottom of the pan on the counter to get rid of large air pockets
- Bake it at 170C/340F for 20-25 minutes or until the surface looks golden brown and toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into the center of the sheet cake
- Immediately remove the chiffon from the hot sheet pan by lifting the parchment paper along the sides gently. Peel off the parchment paper and let the cake cool over a wire rack completely before assembling
Sweetened Whipped Cream
250ml cold heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
- Whip (E) together till almost stiff-peak stage, then keep it refrigerated till use later
**Please don't prepare it way too early only until you're ready to assemble the cake.
Enough desiccated coconut, for coating
To assemble the gateau:
- Lay the sheet cake horizontally across you and slice to divide it equally in thirds
- Lay one of the thirds onto a cake tray/stand or something similar and flat to accommodate its size, then take some lemon curd and spread it evenly all over the top of this particular cake layer--of course, be wise with the amount of curd as you apply onto the cake as you may risk having it oozing out in between the cake layers later on
Top it with another third of the cake and repeat the same as the process mentioned above. Once you're done there, top it with the last third of the cake.
- "Frost" the cake with the chilled whipped cream evenly all over its surfaces--from left to right and top to bottom, make sure the surface is fairly smooth though if you're concerned about presentation. =P
- Coat the whipped cream-frosted cake with enough desiccated coconut till the cake's fully and evenly coated.
- For the final touch, pour and spread the remaining lemon curd onto the top most surface of the assembled cake--do it however you like to give some aesthetic value to the gateau LOL!
- Chill it for about 6 hours before cutting to serve. Bon appetit!