“Robin’s Egg Blue” Lemon Cake With Lemon Curd and Buttercream

Lemon Cake: The Briarwood Baker

Hello, blogosphere, long time, no talk. A crazy semester naturally results in no time for baking and blogging, so I apologize for the extended absence. On the bright side, I finally got a chance to bake this weekend for Easter, which resulted in this pretty, pastel-y, spring-y cake.

Lemon Cake: The Briarwood Baker

After making carrot cake year after year for Easter, I was ready to try something different. And a little more creative. When searching “Easter desserts” on Pinterest, “Robin’s egg blue” cakes appeared multiple times which look like a beautiful speckled robin’s egg (both real robin’s eggs and those delicious malted milk ball egg candy things). I originally was just going to do a plain white cake filled and frosted with buttercream, until I came across this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Hummingbird High. Instead of a standard white cake, I opted for the lemon cake, which is filled with homemade lemon curd and frosted with a rich buttercream.

Lemon Cake: The Briarwood Baker

I dyed the frosting a light blue and used chocolate “paint” to recreate a speckled, blue robin’s egg, which is completely appropriate for spring and Easter. You can choose to fill the cake with store bought lemon curd, but I highly urge you to make it homemade. It’s easy and the tanginess from the fresh lemon juice and zest adds a nice contrast to the frosting. Of course, the decorations are completely optional; you could opt to not dye the frosting and omit the speckling and call it a day. It was Easter though, and I was feeling creative, hence the end product. Nonetheless, this recipe is phenomenal and makes a wonderful dessert in celebration of spring.

Lemon Cake: The Briarwood Baker

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“Robin’s Egg Blue” Lemon Cake With Lemon Curd and Buttercream*

For the Lemon Curd:
(makes about 2 cups, enough for one cake)
8 large egg yolks
Zest from 2 large lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the White Lemon Cake:
Zest from 2 large lemons
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
1 cup milk, divided into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup portions
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting and Speckles:
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of regular salt
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
7 drops blue food coloring, 2 drops green food coloring
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
 
For the Lemon Curd:
In a medium, heavy bottom sauce pot, combine 8 large egg yolks, lemon zest, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 cup granulated sugar. Whisk to combine and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches a temperature of 160 (F). When the curd is ready, it should be able to coat the back of a spoon.

When the curd is ready, remove the sauce pot from heat. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter one cube at a time, whisking until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, before transferring to an airtight container. In the airtight container, the curd will last up to 1 week. 


For the White Lemon Cake:
In a small bowl, combine the zest of 2 lemons and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar — this will release lemon oil from the zest and make your sugar more fragrant and flavorful. Set aside.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 F. Prepare 3 six-inch cake pans by spraying generously with cooking spray and lining the bottoms with parchment circle rounds; spray the parchment paper as well.

In a small bowl, gently whisk together 4 large egg whites and 1/4 cup milk. Set aside.

In the bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar (from the first step) with 3 cups cake flour, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add 3/4 cup unsalted butter and the remaining 3/4 cup milk, mixing on low speed until the ingredients are moistened, before increasing to medium speed and beating for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides, before turning the mixer down to its lowest speed and gradually adding the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and mix into the mixture by hand.

Transfer the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, before inverting onto the racks to cool completely.


For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting
:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat 6 ounces cream cheese and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup butter and a pinch of salt and beat, scraping the bowl as necessary, until mixed.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add 1 pound confectioner’s sugar a quarter cup at a time, beating on low speed until blended. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Once the frosting is light, creamy and fluffy, reduce the mixer speed to its lowest setting. Color your buttercream frosting with a few drops of food coloring. When tinting buttercream, be sure to add just one drop of color at a time until you reach the right shade. Remember that buttercream naturally darkens slightly as it sets.


Assembly:
Place the first cake layer on a cake plate and spread 1/2 of the lemon curd over the top of it. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining 1/2 of the lemon curd over the top. Place the third layer on top. With an offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with the buttercream, making sure to smooth the surface.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract. Stir well until the cocoa powder is completely dissolved and you have a thin, chocolate paint.

Cover your work area with wax paper. Lightly dip your new paintbrush into the chocolate “paint” from the previous step. Holding the paint brush with one hand, gently flick the bristles with your index finger to splatter the chocolate paint onto the cake. Be sure to hold the paintbrush fairly close to the cake. It also helps to practice first onto your wax paper until you get the hang of it. A little chocolate paint goes a long way, so dip your brush lightly!

If desired, garnish with malted milk “robin’s egg” candies.

Serves: 12

*Recipe from Hummingbird High
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