It’s my lovely friend Sarah’s birthday on Monday, and tonight we’re all going out to dinner as a group to celebrate by eating our body weights in dumplings. We’ll be heading home for dessert, though, so I figured a birthday cake might be in order.
I was a little slow off the mark today. I meant to be impressively organised and wake up early to have the cake baked and decorated by lunch time.
This did not happen.
I ended up sleeping through my alarm and racing around to the supermarket at 11:30am in a mad dash for ingredients. I wasn’t home until almost half past twelve, and by the time I’d unpacked all the shopping bags and turned the ovens on to preheat, it was creeping up towards 1pm. Argh!
The result is that I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to decorate, and so the icing isn’t as smooth as I’d like and I didn’t spend enough time getting everything to sit perfectly. Never mind, though – I think it’ll still taste pretty good!
I got the recipe out of my favourite recipe book, The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. Jennifer Graham’s recipes are generally so good that there’s no need to change a thing, so here’s how I did it in my own words…
LEMON & PASSIONFRUIT SPONGE CAKE
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup custard powder
1/4 cup cornflour
1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (that’s 340 Fahrenheit) and grease and line three 20cm (8 inch) cake pans.
2. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat on a medium speed for 2 minutes.
Crank the speed up to full power and beat for 15 – 20 minutes until the eggs have become thick and fluffy.
3. Add the sugar gradually in 3 lots, beating for 2 minutes after each addition to allow the sugar to dissolve. Beat on high for a further 10 minutes once all the sugar is in to allow the egg mixture to become thick and fluffy.
4. Mix together the flours, custard powder and cornflour by sifting together three times. Gently fold into the egg mixture until just combined, making sure that all the flour pockets are gone.
5. Evenly divide the mixture between the three cake pans and bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until lightly coloured.
6. Remove from the oven and remove the cakes from their pans immediately and allow to cool for around half an hour before decorating.
Meanwhile, as the cakes are baking and cooling, you can whip the cream and get on with the rest…
LEMON CURD FILLING
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
85 ml lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon essence
70g butter, cubed
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, lemon zest, juice and essence and sugar over a low-medium heat until combined. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened and is starting to simmer.
2. Turn off the heat and add the butter, one cube at a time, stirring to melt and combine.
3. Place in the fridge until cold and firm.
2/3 cup passionfruit pulp
¼ cup orange juice
1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water
1. Mix the passionfruit, sugar and orange juice together in a medium sized saucepan and place over a low-medium heat. In a cup, combine the cornflour and water, stirring until smooth.
2. Add the cornflour mixture into the saucepan and stir continuously over the heat until thick and simmering.
3. Remove from the heat and place in the fridge to cool.
50g butter, softened
½ cup passionfruit pulp
4 cups icing sugar4
1. Make sure the butter is very soft, then add the passionfruit and half of the sifted icing sugar. Beat well by hand until smooth.
2. Add in the remaining sifted icing sugar and continue to beat by hand until thick and smooth. It should be easy to spread.
1. Once the cakes are cooled, place one on a plate and pipe large whipped cream rosettes around the outside edge.
2. Place a heaped tablespoon of lemon curd filling into the middle of the cake and gently spread towards the whipped cream rosette border.
3. Pipe more whipped cream rosettes on top of the lemon curd to cover.
4. Gently spoon some of the Passionfruit Sauce over the centre rosettes.
5. Place another sponge cake gently on top and repeat the process.
6. Then place the third cake on top and gently spread with passionfruit frosting, allowing the frosting to drip over the edge and down the sides of the cake.
7. Sprinkle with coloured cachous and gently press lilies (or a flower of your choice) into the top of the cake.
8. Press halved strawberries into the gaps between the cream rosettes on each layer of the cake.
Happy 24th birthday, Sarah! xxx