Friday, March 20, 2009

Lemony Baby Shower Cake- Welcome Baby Grace!!

Yesterday, my dear friends Emily and Jeff had their first child, an 8 lb, 4 oz baby girl named Grace Roseann. I am very proud to be a new auntie and as soon as my cold goes away I am going to visit her!  I hosted a small, intimate shower for Emily at the end of February, and I made this deliciously bright pink and purple cake to celebrate the occasion.  I saved posting about it until she arrived, so that I could welcome her to the world in true blogger style.  

What to write on the cake was a bit problematic.  Since her name was a secret, I couldn't put it on the cake.  My friend Marni suggested I write "Welcome to the world."  But I wrote "welcome" too big.  So I left it at "Welcome Baby!"  Apparently my friend Salim liked that so much he has been walking around randomly saying "Welcome Baby" ever since.  (You have to know him to truly comprehend that).

Lemony Baby Shower Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 1 eight-inch-round layer cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 jar of your favorite jam (I used American Spoon Blueberry Lime)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.arrange two racks in center of oven. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with flour; tap out any excess.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating on medium speed until lightened, 3 to 4 minutes; scrape down sides once or twice. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating after each addition until batter is no longer slick, about 5 minutes; stop once or twice to scrape down sides.

On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven for even browning. Continue baking until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 10 to 20 minutes more. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. 

Turn out cakes; set on racks, tops up, until completely cool.

Remove the parchment from bottom of each cake. Using a serrated knife, slice each layer in half horizontally. Set aside the prettiest domed layer for the top of cake. Place another domed layer, dome-side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup of your favorite jam in between both layers. Stack cake and frost with:

Lemony Buttercream Frosing
adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 degrees.on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).

Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.

With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon juice. 

If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth. If this does not work, remove 1/4 of the mixture and warm in a microwave. Add gradually back into the rest of the mixture and beat until incorporated.

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