Sunday, May 22, 2016
Lemon Icebox Cake
If you don't have a stunning picture of the cake of the week, the next best thing is a picture of a kid happily eating said cake. There was nothing wrong with the cake, except that it had been sitting at room temperature for a few hours before I sliced into it, so it turned out not to cut in defined pieces. More like, as we affectionately called it, "cake soup."
As I was making my grocery list for this cake, the first thing I wrote was "eggs." Then I turned the page and wrote, "more eggs." Yes, 16 egg whites for the cake itself. One egg white for each one-cup capacity of a 16-cup angel food cake pan. This is very good if you have a large stash of frozen egg whites, but I used mine up making Meringue Birch Twigs. Now I have a large stash of egg yolks in the refrigerator, which I have to use up before we go on vacation.
I believe this is what's known as a first-world problem. Scrambled eggs for lunch!
16 egg whites make a powerful lot of meringue!
All white except for the vanilla. The last time I bought vanilla, I got something called Pure Vanilla Plus. I thought the name "plus" was just a gimmick, but it turns out to have specks of vanilla bean in it, which still surprises me every time I pour it into a measuring spoon. It's not like King Arthur hid the addition of vanilla bean; I just failed to read the description. It's pretty good vanilla. What's your favorite vanilla for baking?
Spreading some of the cake batter onto the sides "to ensure smooth sides." I appreciate the goal of this instruction, although my cake removal technique left something to be desired, so I didn't exactly good smooth sides anyway.
This is the first time I've used the cup and rack cooling method. I usually use the Riesling wine bottle method, but I didn't have any wine with a narrow enough neck. Also, the wine bottle method brings back bad memories.
And on to the lemon curd. And more dishes. Yes, friends, this is one of those recipes where you end up with a massive pile of dirty dishes. Nothing is really hard to do though.
And here's the angel food cake, which would have had a lovely even exterior if I hadn't hacked away at it instead of "slowly and carefully" circling the pan with a sharp knife. I think a thin spatula would have worked better.
And now, on to the Light Italian Meringue. I'll confess that at this point I turned the pages to see how many steps were left. Still quite a few, I'm afraid.
If you look in the background of this picture, you can see the warning "Caution: Sharp Blade." That warning isn't for my bread knife; it's for the plastic wrap cutter. My bread knife is one of the oldest knives I've had, and it's due for replacement. When I saw Hanaa's new, very sharp bread knife, I was filled with knife envy.
I did manage to get the top and bottom layers sliced off, which left me with the middle part to either cube or tear. I opted for tearing. When I get my new serrated knife, maybe I'll cube.
Then the cake pieces are layered with the Lemon Curd-Cream-Italian Meringue mixture, AKA Lemon Mousse Filling. Very good stuff.
Here's the final result. It only took me 6 or 7 hours, plus another 14 overnight to set it. Not too bad. I guess. There must be worse ways to spend 6 or 7 hours. Like exercising.
Because I made this cake before we went on vacation, I was actually able to make it for Mother's Day, for which occasion it is the perfect cake. I took it to my daughter's house for brunch. Imagine, she doesn't have a cake plate, so it had to go on a regular plate, which is why it looks stunted. I was able to cut it into pieces, but, as I said, the pieces did not come out intact. Jim was happily taking pictures of the cake soup, and the glops of lemon mousse that fell on the floor. I told him to go away and take his camera with him.
Although there were a few who eyed this dessert suspiciously, everyone agreed that it tasted great. My advice is to keep it chilled until just before unmolding it. I didn't serve it with anything. The filling is quite creamy, so I don't think it needs any whipped cream (and I'm a person who thinks that almost anything can be improved with whipped cream). Raspberry sauce would have been nice, and pretty, but not essential.
If you added the raspberry sauce and the whipped cream, however, this would make a stunning trifle! And that just may be what I'll do the next time I try this. Even more dirty dishes!