The Perfect Celebration Cake
I keep a large Pinterest board full of cake recipes that I save for special occasions. That’s not a surprise, I guess, since that is entirely the purpose of such a Pinterest recipe board. What is surprising is that I hadn’t yet found a special occasion to make this Lemon Meringue Cake until now. This last weekend marked three years of Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen.
I took some time this last week to think about how far this little blog has come in those three years; about all the delicious food I’ve created, eaten, and shared with you. This blog has taken me to places that I never, ever thought I’d visited both figuratively and literally. I feel like I’ve become part of something bigger than my own little space on the internet. Probably the best thing I ever did for myself and the blog was to join up with Food Bloggers of Canada. Through FBC I have met like minded, kind people who are always willing to answer any sort of technical question regarding cooking, blogging, photographing. Many have become mentors, friends, and inspirations.
There are Many Reasons to Start a Blog
Since most of what a blogger does takes place at home in the kitchen or in front of a computer, loneliness can often become a factor, especially for someone like me who is so often introverted. Yes, staying in where it’s cozy and warm is nice and safe, but the city of Calgary has so many great food events and people who share my passion for food. This blog has given me a reason to get out more often to enjoy the company of others.
There really are so many things this blog has given me over the last three years. It’s served as a creative outlet…which is important if you are nerdy and practical as I am. It’s helped me grow closer to my daughter (we’re now doing our second food project together…a sourdough starter named Pierre) and has helped us to deal with her eating disorder and explore vegan cooking. This blog has helped me remember where I’ve come from and an idea of where I am going in life.
And, this blog has given me a reason to eat cake.
Lemon Meringue Cake
Lemon Meringue Cake
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 3/4 cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tbsp teaspoons poppy seed
- 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup canola oil or another neutral oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 1/4 cup boiling water
- FOR THE CURD
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup + 4 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, diced
- FOR THE MERINGUE FROSTING
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- FOR THE SIMPLE BUTTERCREAM
- 1/2 cup unsalted soft butter
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp milk
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9″ round cake pans and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poppy seeds and cardamom.
- In a large measuring cup or mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Add the boiling water and stir to incorporate. Don't worry if the batter looks quite thin, just make sure it's well mixed.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the three prepared pans. Bake for about 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
- If the tops of the cakes have domed, carefully even out by cutting away with a level knife.
FOR THE CURD
- Place the juice, zest, yolks, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine over medium heat.
- Continue to stir until mixture begins to thicken, about 6-8 minutes.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Stir to combine.
- Strain curd into a heat-safe container. Discard the zest.
- Cover curd by placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until cool and thick.
FOR THE MERINGUE FROSTING
- Place the whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine.
- Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over medium heat.
- Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler.
- Whisking constantly, heat the egg white mixture until the sugar dissolves and it is warm to the touch.
- Transfer the bowl back to the mixer and whisk the egg whites on high until medium-stiff glossy peaks.
- Add in the salt and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Mix up a simple buttercream (1/2 cup unsalted soft butter, 2 cups icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp milk) and spread some in a very thin layer over the tops of the bottom two cake layers.
- Add the rest of the butter cream to a piping bag with medium tip attached and pipe a line of buttercream along the edges of each layer (except the top layer) so that it makes a 'containment system' for the curd.
- Spread half of the curd on one layer, and repeat with the other layer.
- Assemble layers, spread the meringue over the sides and top of the cake, and use a kitchen torch as you like.