Lemon Meringue Cake

One cake flavor I’ve been dying to make is lemon meringue! Since it’s finally starting to feel like summer, I figured it was time to test it out. To make this cake reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie, I filled it with lemon curd, frosted it with a lemon buttercream, and topped it with toasted meringue. The decorations on this cake is really easy and simple, making it the perfect cake to whip together for a summer get together.

This cake is much smaller compared to my normal cakes! It is made using a half batch of my go-to layer cake recipe, and feed around 12 people.

Lemon Cake Batter:

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon Buttercream Frosting: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp  salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice 1/2 large lemon

Yellow Ganache Drips:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (9 oz.)
  • yellow gel food coloring

Lemon Curd (sourced from the Food Network):

  • 4 large egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringue)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), room temperature

Meringue (sourced from the Food Network):

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 7” round pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process.

Once the layers have fully cooled, trim the caramelized bits from the sides of the layers using a serrated knife.

As the cake layers bake, prepare the lemon curd. With a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in each egg one at a time, allowing them to mix completely before beating in another egg. Beat in the lemon juice and zest, until incorporated. Over medium heat, in a double boiler, stir the mixture. Stir mixture frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken (about 15 minutes). Pour into bowl and let cool in fridge. If you have any left overs, place them in an air tight container, and use within a week.

Next, make the lemon buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of the cream and lemon juice. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla, lemon zest, and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Make the yellow ganache drips next, to allow the mixture to cool before adding to the cake.  Heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute, until bubbling. Gently pour white chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until the cream and white chocolate are combined, then heat again for 20 seconds and stir. Repeat as necessary until all the chocolate bits are fully melted and incorporated. Then add gel food coloring if desired. Allow to cool until desired viscosity is reached.

If it seems too thin or thick, you can add a touch more chocolate chips or heavy cream! The type of cream and white chocolate that you use can affect the consistency, so feel free to adjust as needed. I like to put my ganache into plastic squirt bottles when decorating cakes, but you can also use a spoon to drizzle it over cakes.

The last component is the meringue. Whisk the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) until the mixture is warm and the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan; add the cream of tartar and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stack and frost layers on a 10 inch, grease-proof, cardboard cake round. Frost a ring of lemon buttercream around the perimeter of the layer, and add a generous scoop of lemon curd into the center of the layer. Spread evenly over the cake layer, then repeat with remaining layers, being sure it stays within the frosting boarder.

lemon merinuge adding lemon curd

Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat with remaining lemon frosting, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second layer of frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

smoothing lemon cake

Once the frosting is chilled, add on the yellow colored white chocolate ganache drips.  Always be sure to do a test drip, to ensure that your ganache is at the right temperature. Scoop meringue onto the top of the cake, shaping into a swirling mound using a small offset spatula.

toasting the merginue lemon cake

Brown the meringue using a kitchen torch, then enjoy!

me with lemon cake

Pink Lemonade Cake

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I felt compelled to make a pink lemonade cake before summer comes to an end! I’ve always wanted to make a strawberry cake, but really struggled getting a strong strawberry flavor in my cake layers! Most strawberry cake recipes use strawberry jello, and while I was extremely hesitant to try it, it truly is the best way to incorporate a bright, vibrant strawberry flavor into cake. You have to try it to believe it!!

I made this cake using two strawberry cake layers, and two lemon cake layers. I frosted it with a lemon buttercream, and used dehydrated lemons and fresh berries to decorate this cake.

Strawberry Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jello mix (1/2 package)
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree (I blended frozen strawberries)
  • 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Lemon Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 drops yellow gel food coloring

Lemon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • pink and yellow gel food coloring
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of 1 large lemon

Decorations:

  • dehydrated lemon slices
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh raspberries
  • pink sprinkles

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7″ round pans.

First, make the lemon cake better. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in lemon extract, lemon zest, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Next, make the lemon cake better. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, strawberry jello mix, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined. Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in strawberry puree and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, pouring half of each batter into a pan. Bake for 35-38 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the layers bake, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the lemon extract, lemon zest, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Divide the frosting, place 3/4 in one bowl, and 1/4 in another. Color the bowl with 3/4 yellow using a few drops of yellow gel food coloring, and color the other bowl with pink gel food coloring.

To assemble the cake, frost each cake layer with buttercream. You can also add some of the fresh berries between each layer. Alternate yellow and pink layers, then apply a crumb coat.

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Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting using piping bags. I cut my bags to have an opening of about 1.5 cm.

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Smooth with a bench scrapper. Add fresh berries, citrus accents, and sprinkles in a semicircle around the top of the cake.

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Arnold Palmer Cake

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In homage to one of my favorite summer drinks, I made an Arnold Palmer cake! It’s made with tea flavored cake layers, and a fresh lemon buttercream. I used my go-to vanilla layer cake recipe, and incorporated some iced tea powder into the cake base. For the frosting, I added some fresh lemon zest and juice to my favorite american buttercream. The full recipe can be found below:

Iced Tea Cake:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 2 Tbsp Lipton lemon iced tea powder
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Fresh Lemon Buttercream:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • juice of 1 large lemon

Sugar Ice Cubes:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • dash of cream of tartar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans.

Begin by making the cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix iced tea powder into the buttermilk, and add in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the sugar ice cubes! Mix water, corn syrup, white sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil until temperature reaches 300 degrees (hard ball), being sure to stir constantly. The mixture will thicken as water evaporates. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour into silicone ice cube trays. Cool until completely hardened.

Next, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: When are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Divide the frosting evenly between three bowls coloring once bright yellow, one pale yellow, and leaving one uncolored. Place frosting into piping bags.

Once layers are fully cooled, begin to assemble the cake. Pipe rings of frosting in a repeating color pattern. Stack layers and continue to pipe until all 4 layers are stacked. Place cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the layers and buttercream are firm.

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Using a serrated knife, trim the layers in a tapered shape, to resemble a cup.

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Once trimmed, color remaining white buttercream with some brown food coloring. Cover the bottom third of the cake with this brown buttercream. Pipe pale yellow buttercream into the middle third of the cake, and bright yellow buttercream onto the top third of the cake. Blend together the different color gradients using an offset spatula in a zigzag motion.MVI_9055_Moment (2)

Once partially combined, smooth using a bench scraper. Place an additional cake round onto the top of the cake, and gently flip the cake over, so that the smaller side of the cake is the base of the cake. Gently removed the original cake round, and smooth additional buttercream onto the top of the cake.

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Add the hardened sugar ice cubes to the top of the cake, and add a straw if desired. I added some blue fondant around a dowel, and gently inserted it into the cake.

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Easy Pineapple Cake

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For this week’s live stream with the Food Network, I wanted to make something summery! I’ve recently started a food-themed cake series on my YouTube channel, so I thought a pineapple cake would be perfect! The design is inspired by Lyndsay (Coco Cake Land). The recipe used can be seen below:

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • yellow gel food coloring

Pineapple Frosting:

  • 8 sticks (4 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pineapple reduction (pineapple puree, strained and reduced over medium heat to half of volume)
  • yellow gel food coloring

Additional items:

  • green fondant
  • black fondant
  • white fondant
  • tooth picks
  • Wilton 4b decorating tip
  • piping bags

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans, and one 6″ cake pan.

Begin by making the cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla, yellow gel food coloring, and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers bake and cool, make the fondant details for the cake decoration. For the eyes and face for the pineapple, use the white and black fondant. Mix tylose powder into the green fondant (speeds up the drying process). Roll the green fondant to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into the shape of pineapple leaves. Make 4-5 tall leaves, 8-10 medium sized leaves, and 12-15 smaller leaves. Insert toothpicks in the base of the leaves, and place on parchment paper to firm up.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the pineapple reduction, vanilla, and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Color 2/3 of the frosting yellow with gel food coloring.

For the cake assembly, stack and frost cake layers with the pineapple buttercream. Stack the 7 inch cake layers, then top the cake with the 6 inch cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat, rounding out the top of top of the cake with frosting. Chill cake in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply a thick, second layer of frosting with the yellow buttercream. Smooth with a bench scraper.

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Using a bit of frosting, secure the fondant eyes and smile onto the cake. Place the remaining yellow frosting into a piping bag with a Wilton 4b tip, and pipe frosting points onto all around the cake.

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Add some extra frosting to the top of the cake, and insert the hardened leaves onto the top of the cake. Begin with the largest leaves at the very top of the cake, then make a circle with the medium sized leaves around them.

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Using the smallest leaves, circle the larger leaves. And just like that, the pineapple cake is complete!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

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Tonight on my weekly livestream for the Food Network, I wanted to embrace the warm weather we’ve been having and incorporate some fruit into my cake!! My first thought was a chocolate covered strawberry, and that’s as far as I got 🙂 I made a miniature version of this cake ahead of time, as shown above. The recipes used in my live stream can be found below:

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil

Strawberry American Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree (1 cup blended strawberries, cooked over low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup of puree)

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (about 4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (3 oz.)

Additional components:

  • 1 container of washed strawberries
  • wilton 1M tip

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer on low (with a paddle), until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

While the cake layers cool, prepare the strawberry puree for the frosting. Puree 1 cup of strawberries in food processor, then pour into a pan over a low medium heat. Stir frequently, and cook for roughly 20 minutes, until the puree has reduced in size to half it’s original volume. Remove from heat and place in fridge until fully cooled.

Next, make the strawberry buttercream.Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Mix in (fully cooled) strawberry puree.  If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

NOTE: When making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

For the chocolate ganache, heat heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until gently bubbling. If you don’t have a microwave or prefer to use the stove top, you can heat the cream over a medium heat in a pan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl.

Gently pour chocolate chips into the heavy cream, making sure they are fully covered with cream. Allow mixture to sit for 2 minutes. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate are fully combined combined. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes (or place in fridge for about 15 minutes), then pour into a squirt bottle for easy application.

Once the cake layers are fully cooled, assemble the cake. Stack and frost layers with buttercream. Apply a thin crumb coat, and chill the cake in freezer for 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, apply, a second, thicker coat of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. If you want to see a full tutorial for how I get smooth sides on my cakes, you can click here. Place cake in freezer for 15 minutes. Once the cake is fully chilled, remove from freezer. Dip washed strawberries into the ganache, and place around the the top edge of the cake, leaving about 1.5 inches between each strawberry. Allow some of the ganache to drip over the edge. Use a squirt bottle to add the ganache drips to the areas where the strawberries are placed. And that’s it!!

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If you want to learn the tips and tricks I use to add drips to a cake, you can see a full tutorial here.