Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

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We were invited to my boys’ Nana’s house for Easter this year. Her birthday always falls close to Easter and every year I’ve ever spent it with her I’ve made her a cake to celebrate. She’s in luck now because I’ve been improving my baking steadily over the years and I do make a pretty badass nice cake if I do say so myself.

I just bought a new cook book and this recipe in particular jumped out at me. It was described as ‘sunshine on a plate’ um…yes please!!

I have to say, I’m usually not a huge fan of lemony desserts but Nana is not a huge fan of overly rich desserts so I wanted to make something I thought she’d like. I had no idea I’d end up loving it as much as I did.

I found a bunch of beautiful ripe, organic Meyer lemons that I was super excited to use for this cake. The smell of them always takes me right back to when I lived in Berkeley, some of the best times of my life. I was so worried I’d eff the cake up, I wanted so much for it to be perfect.

The night before Easter Sunday I baked the three cake layers. The batter was easy and fragrant and baked up perfectly. The cake seemed springy and moist but also a bit delicate. I was so excited to wake up and make the curd and the lemon-scented vanilla buttercream frosting.

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The cake came together perfectly, and right in time for us to leave. It was a pretty humid day, rain was in the forecast. I would have preferred to refrigerate the cake for a few hours to set a bit but there was no time and there is something amazing about room-temp buttercream melting on your tongue.

After a lovely frittata and an antipasti platter it was onto the cake. It slid against the cake-taker on the drive over which stressed me out to no end but after a few mimosas I wasn’t so concerned. When we went inside to grab it the top two layers were trying to escape: they had slid away from the base layer. No worries, we just scooted them over with a spatula and the cake still looked great.

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When I took my first bite I swear I heard angels sing. There is something so miraculous when all components of an untested recipe come together well. If I had have not been a guest I would have definitely did some sort of happy dance. It was amazing. Delicate/tender crumb, sweet/tart curd, perfect, delicate lemony-vanilla frosting. Holy cow.

The (belated) birthday girl enjoyed it too. I thought she was going to take the whole thing inside with a fork for some alone time but she managed to restrain herself. šŸ˜‰ We left half of the leftover cake there and ate the last of our half this morning with coffee.

I was right: a few hours in the fridge made it all come together beautifully. This recipe is a keeper!!

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