Sunday, August 22, 2010
SMS: Sweet Almond Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting (All-Homeade, Semi-Fail)
Sweet Melissa Sundays has had a nice variety of recipes for the month of August. This week’s selection is an absolutely delectable sounding layer cake, Sweet Almond Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting. This is one of those recipes that would seem pretty time consuming and leave you with quite a heap of dirty dishes if you made all three components at the same time. I ended up dividing it over the course of the weekend. I started with the cake yesterday morning when I was busy with a couple other non-SMS kitchen projects and was considering buying a jar of lemon curd to save a bit of time (not just making it, but waiting for it to cool). Frugalness won out, though, and I made the lemon curd this morning.
I made a half recipe of the cake in my (favorite!) six-inch cake pans. The whole recipe used 12 egg whites, plus three whole eggs for the lemon curd. I made my half recipe of lemon curd with one whole and most of the two leftover yolks. I used the other four egg yolks to make some fantastic lemon gelato. So, cake? No Problem. Lemon Curd? Surprising simple. Now we get to the frosting, where somehow all went wrong. The recipe advises to mix the frosting until the ingredients are just incorporated and to not over-mix. Well, mine looked incredibly lumpy after that and very watery. I tried to “troubleshoot” and add more sugar, more butter, cream cheese (I was out of mascarpone at that point) – anything that might help get it to come together. The frosting started to look a bit better and I refrigerated it for about half an hour, hoping it would set. Unfortunately, it was still pretty watery and lumpy, but I went ahead and slathered it on.
Despite looking terrible, the frosting was sweet and tangy and a lovely complement to the almond cake, which was a scrumptious as I thought it would be. We rated this cake an 8 for Deliciousness and I gave it a 5 for Effort, for an EDR of 1.6. A big thank you to Katie of Katiecakes for giving us the opportunity to eat cake! You can find the recipe here on Katie’s lovely site visit the Sweet Melissa site to see if the other bakers had better luck with the frosting.
Lemon Gelato from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 egg yolks
¼ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
graham cracker crust pieces (optional)
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over a medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form. Around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil. (The recipe specifies to cook over low heat, but I felt the custard was taking a very long time to come to temperature that way, so I turned up the heat a bit.)
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool completely, stirring often. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight.
Remove the custard from the refrigerator and gently whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the graham cracker crust crumbles five minutes before the churning is completed, if using. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least two hours before serving.