Even though our wedding was a total cake-fest, I barely had time to eat any. I was too busy cutting a rug out on the dance floor, chatting with all our guests, and attempting to shuffle.
The one cake I really wanted to try, but didn’t get a chance was the Lemon cake. What’s a girl to do? Read about it > Make it > Do it. Obvz.
I’m always trying to improve my cake-baking skills, and I wasn’t satisfied with how my attempt at an ombre cake turned out last time. This time, I decided to make a true ombre-colored cake, but also try to ombre the flavor a bit too. Girl, what??? You’re thinking. Chill, I got this.
My goals for this latest ombre cake were to:
1) Make it even more delicious (and try ombre flavoring).
2) Cut the layers to fit (which I’ve always been too scared to do before, which has led to some wonky cakes)
3) Improve my icing skills. (Read tips here).
To start, I based my recipe off of one from Martha Stewart (because let’s be real, Martha knows what’s up), but I skipped the part about coating it with a lemon glaze and used a lemon curd filling instead. You can find Martha’s recipe here. Then I made icing from my own recipe. For a great, super easy icing recipe, check out this classic one from Magnolia Bakery. (For this recipe, sub out the vanilla for lemon curd!).
In order to achieve an “ombre flavor” effect, I divided up the lemon zest into 1 tsp, 3/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, and then just a pinch. I added the zest to bowls of divided up ingredients. I also washed a lot of bowls after this project was done.
Then I mixed the “wet” ingredients, and divided them into 4 parts (for 4 layers, if you haven’t caught on yet..). I also added proportional amounts of lemon juice to the wet mixtures, and food coloring. The most food coloring went into the layer that had the most lemon flavoring, which was my bottom layer. Again, lots of bowl washing.
Stir stir stir. Bake bake bake. Cool cool cool.
After allowing the cake layers to thoroughly cool, I cut the tops off so they would be even. Then I cut a round template out of cardboard, and used that as a guide to help me trim the edges of the cake.
I assembled the cake layers with lemon curd as the filling (delicious), and then popped it in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the filling set. (This was something new I learned!)
Next, I lightly covered the cold cake with room-temperature icing. This layer is called a crumb layer, and it is meant to trap all the crumbs, then you chill the cake again before putting the final layer of icing on. This explains why every single one of my previous cakes has been hella covered in crumbs. Knowledge is power.
Do your thang, crumb layer. I ain’t gonna rush you.
After giving the crumb-layer of icing a while in the fridge to set (I gave it about an hour), I applied my final layer of icing. *ANOTHER COOL TIP* – I used a cup of hot water to dip my icing knife into every time before I loaded it up with icing. This encourages the icing to melt a little bit and go onto the cake smoothly.
DANG! So smooth! Okay not perfectly smooth, but considering how janky my previous cakes looked, I was pretty proud. Now time for the money shot:
HELLO LEMON CAKE! <3
Not to hype this cake up too much (I know, I hype cake up a lot), but everyone who had some said it was my best cake yet. The flavor-intensity effect really came through, and was definitely a success. The cake had the perfect amount of lemon-y goodness, without being too sour or overwhelming.
It was such a hit, my friend Empe asked me if I’d make one for her graduation party that’s coming up. Really excited to see how I can continue to improve this recipe. GO CAKE!