Archive | November 2011

Layered Lemons

I found recipe number 1 to use up my left over lemons. I had to look long and hard for something that required more lemon juice than zest. I was worried that the obviousness of the lemon would be overpowering, leaving a soggy, sour cake. I was totally wrong! The actual cake has a subtle vanilla twinge and there is only a light lemon flavor in the filling and frosting. Because I was forced to used a square pan, I had a shortage of frosting. I tried to cover the unseemly naked cake with strawberries, which added contrasting color and flavor. I think I’ll bring this cake back around for easter or during the summer. The recipe I tweaked from didn’t really have a title so i’m calling it..

Layered Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling & Lemon Butter Frosting
Originial recipe yields: One 4 layer 8 inch cake 


Cake –

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 1/4 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

 Filling –

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (*I used abt 2.5 lemons)

1 tbsp cornstarch

6 tbsp butter

3/4 cup white sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten

Frosting –

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup  butter, softened

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon zest

2 tbsp milk

* I added about 1/2 a pkg of strawberries for contrasting flavor & color


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans (I only had 1 available so I ended up settling for a square one). In a bowl mix together the flour, baking power, and salt. Then set aside.


2. In a large bowl, cream (beat) together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (abt 5 minutes). Then beat in each egg one at a time, then add the vanilla. Take your flour mixture and add it alternativly with the milk (add a little bit of one, then a little bit of the other). Combine well.

3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Removed and allows to cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert and allow to cool completely on the racks.


4.  In a medium saucepan, mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch until smooth. Mix in butter (I zapped it in the microwave), sugar, and then bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep the mixture at a boil for 1 minute now stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with a wire whisk until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Then, beating rapidly, add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until thick.

5. Pour this mixture in a medium bowl, then press plastic wrap tightly around the stop to avoid filming while it cools. Cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator for 3 hours (*I left it in for about 5 hours while I went to work, then nuked it in the microwave so it spread more easily).


6. In a large bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.


7. Using a long serrated knife, split each cake horizontilly, resulting in 4 layers (*I had 2 round and 2 square, but you should have 4 nicely matching round layers). Place 1 layer, cut side up, on the serving platter of your choice. Spread the first layer with half of the filling (the stovetop mixture). Add the second layer, then spread with 1/2 cup of frosting (I didn’t really measure, just used enough to cover). Add the third layer and spread with the remaining filling. Add final layer and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate until time to serve.

* For the future: Having 2 square layers stretched the filling out too much. I either have to make more filling or use only circular pans. My frosting wasn’t soft enough so I should probably either add more milk or beat for a longer period of time.


Weekday Finds

I found a few new pieces from my impromptu visit to the mall one afternoon. I was glad that could find some of the styles I had been looking for. It was also good practice in the subtle art of self control. I had to stop myself from buying up the whole store.


This shirt reminded me of Courtney Kerr’s outfit. While I liked that she pair it with the thick rimmed glasses I love, I’m not sure I am so daring.

I found this shirt in brown and mustard. I was compelled to pick up something mustard since I saw Kourt Kardashian in that mustard cocktail dress. I know it’s not a color for everyone (my mom hated it) I think my tan skin gives me a little leeway.


Not all of these are brand new but they are the “looks” I have been going on. I seem to have a favorite size, not too small and not too large. I usually gravitate toward medium-large, heavy, metal rings. The only shiny bits on me will be found on my fingers. Some rhinestones are allowed, but they must be offset by a pop of color. I like light pastel colors and bronze, slightly distressed metals. That mustache caught the corner of my eye and I had to snatch it up. I’ve seen a big increase in mustache art and jewelery lately.

Limoncello & a broken wrist

My wrist isn’t exactly broken, but It might as well be. I guess I didn’t think properly about how much effort it would take to zest 15 lemons without an actual zest-er. I had to resort to a peeler that has its fair share of use. Using my thumb to hold the utensil in place and my remaining digits to hold and peel the lemons, I managed to get enough for my first limoncello try!

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liquor, served chilled as an after-dinner “digestivo”. I first tried it at my grandmother’s house and thought it would be a good gift to give my aunts and uncle when they come over for Thanksgiving dinner. I finally settled on a recipe that called for 15 lemons and two 750 ml bottles of vodka. The reciepe calls for 100 proof vodka, but being on a college budget, I settled for 80 proof Absolute. I am going to add extra sugar and hopefully that will offset any lingering alcohol taste. I went in search of empty clear bottles to properly showcase my product and was totally frustrated by the lack of selection at my local stores. I had to choose between large plastic modern pitchers and glass wine decanter without lids. So instead I went to the internet and found these simple, vintage looking bottles for a just over $2 a bottle, excellent. So as I wait for those to arrive, I started on my concoction because it takes 10 day to finish the first step.

At the end of phase 1, I have come the relization that I now have to find something to do with these naked lemons.

Triple Berry Tart Break

Hard at work or hardly working? It’s been a little of both. However on my off time, I’ve managed to stumble upon quite the little treasure chest of desserts for the holidays. Of course there is no shortage of anything Christmas themed, but I don’t want to jump the gun. I love Thanksgiving and I believe it deserves its own time and affection. I haven’t been able to narrow it down so I suppose I will end up making a couple of desserts for the table.

In the mean time, my mother asked me to whip up a Triple Berry Tart for her book club meeting. Only problem being the recipe calls for a tart pan with a removable bottom, which we don’t own. My mom has never had any love for better-than-basic cook wear. Being the amazing daughter that I am I endeavored to help her out anyway and I was very pleased with the results.


Triple Berry Tart (Pie)


Makes one 9 inch Pie



1/2 (15 oz) package of refrigerated pie crust (*I used Pillsbury)

1 cup mascarpone cheese (abt 8 oz), room temperature (* I used Bel Gioioso)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon zest (or rind)

3/4 cup strawberries, quartered (*I used 2 cups)

1 pint (2 cups) raspberries

1 pint (2 cups) blueberries

1 pint (2 cups) blackberries


1. Prepare pie crust according to the instructions found on the box. Instead of the bottomless tart pan I used a regular 9 inch pie pan and had absolutely no problems with sticking. Make sure you poke hole in the bottom and sides with a fork to avoid bubbles (mine had more than I would like). Bake in the oven (temp on the box) until golden brown (about 8 to 10 minutes). I immediately thought of a ritz cracker the second it popped out of the oven. Then I realized that I definitely need to figure out the proper way to put holes in the crust because the bubbling pulled the sides away from the pan. I also found the tucking and bending of the edges tedious and must find a more efficient way to achieve that look. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

2. In a large bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and grated lemon zest. Beat with an electric mixture at medium speed until stiff peaks form. At this point I checked the crust to make sure it wasn’t stuck to the pan. Spoon the cream mixture into the now cool crust, spreading evenly.

3. Gently combine the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I couldn’t find fresh raspberries so I had to settle for semi-solid frozen raspberries. Because I had less to work with I added more of the strawberries (they are my favorite) to fill out the pie. I also put the raspberries at the bottom to add red throughout the pie, but also to hide their mushy-ness.


*It can be assembled beforehand, refrigerated, and brought to room temperature before serving.