Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marshmallow Man Cake

I started looking for recipes to use up my somewhat-canned curd before it had a chance to even think about going bad. And, I admit, I really just wanted to eat it because it's tasty. I found lots of recipes for lemon bars, but all of them called for lemons and sugar, essentially making your own curd for the bars. It hurt my wee little brain to think about how to convert, so I found a recipe that called for straight up lemon curd.

Everything I'm made from Smitten Kitchen has turned out, so I was excited about this cake. It called for self-rising flour, but also gave the conversion for using regular all-purpose flour. I keep cake flour on hand, mostly for red velvet cake, and whole wheat flour, mostly for pizza dough, but self-rising has not quite reached the "Costco closet" (our pantry) yet. Everything else I had in spades, so to the Kitchen-Aid I went.

It turned out great. The batter was SUPER delicious and I really wanted to keep eating it instead of baking with it. The recipe calls for three layers, but I only own two rounds so I made two and cut them in half. All the better to use lemon curd, my dear. I managed to use a whole pint as filling between the layers, plus a little bit to stick the bottom in place. 

Oh, a side note. Have I mentioned my new found love of parchment paper? It's GREAT. Not only do I bake cookies on it so I don't have to scrub the pans, I now use it under my cake batter so the cake doesn't split when you shake it out. And, thanks to Alton Brown, I know that it doesn't burn because it's made with silicon. He's so smart.

You know who else is smart? Smitten Kitchen. She used lemon curd as her crumb layer. Not only more lemony deliciousness, but also another way to use a pint of lemon curd!! YES!!

Okay, it's kind of ugly. Next time I'll strain my eggs, alright? Sheesh, give a girl a break. Or at least wait until you've tried it!

With almost two full pints of lemon curd coating my cake (I ate some on toast, some went straight into my mouth, and some was left over in the jar), I tossed it into the freezer in an attempt to harden the curd before frosting.

Enter the Marshmallow Man. The cake recipe called for a Seven Minute Frosting. I had a wee bit of trouble getting my egg whites to form stiff peaks, but I kept whipping and it eventually turned out. Then I had the great terrible idea of adding lemon curd to the frosting. The 7-minute frosting has zero fat in it so the egg whites make a nice light, frothy frosting. The lemon curd has a ton of butter in it. That means that the curd addition to the frosting made it all oozy floppy instead of fluffy stiff. Once frosted, my cake looked like the Marshmallow Man.

Even after sitting in the fridge for a couple hours the frosting still melted off the cake. There were big oozing puddles on all sides when I took it out of the fridge. Fortunately, it was still delicious so I cleaned it up really really well. With my finger.

1-2-3-4 Cake
From Smitten Kitchen

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour *
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6-8 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.  Divide batter equally among prepared pans.  Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3-4 inches above counter, then dropping flat onto counter.  Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*Self-rising flour has both salt and baking powder in it, but you can make your own at home with the following formula: 1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour, minute 2 teaspoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Seven-Minute Frosting
From Smitten Kitchen

5 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk first five ingredients together in a large, stainless-steel bowl.  Set the bowl in a wide, deep skillet filled with about 1 inch of simmering water.  Make sure the water level is at least as high as the depth of the egg whites in the bowl.  Beat the white on low speed until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F on a thermometer.  Do not stop beating white the bowl is in the skillet, or the egg whites will be overcooked. 

Beat on high speed for exactly five minutes.  Remove the bowl from the skillet and add vanilla, beating on high speed for two to three more minutes to cool.

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