When Helen of Tartlette announced that she was hosting this months Sugar High Friday and that the theme was citrus, I knew I was in. I love desserts that are light and citrusy but what to make? I have a few lemon standbys that I always go for but this time I wanted to try something a little different. My mother-in-law has been talking about Olive Garden's Lemon Cream Cake a lot lately, so this post is dedicated to her and my attempt to recreate it. I think it turned out pretty darn close and boy was it delicious.
I decided to use the cake form Dorie Greenspan's party cake recipe since it had a nice crumb and was light. The filling I just kind of improvised as I went along, it's kind of a lemon and cream cheese mousse. The topping is just a crumb topping with powdered sugar, flour, butter and vanilla. Altogether delicious!
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites (save the yolks for the lemon curd)
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).
1/3 cup simple syrup (you will need more simple syrup to brush on the cake)
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1 batch of lemon curd (recipe follows)
1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup whipping cream
1. Bloom the gelatin in a few Tbs. of water for about 5 minutes. Heat the simple syrup over medium heat and add the gelatin, bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
2. In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
3. In the mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and the lemon curd until it is well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the cooled simple syrup, scraping down sides as needed. Add the whipping cream and beat with the whisk attachment until incorporated.
4. Chill the mixture until slightly thickened.
2 large lemons
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold
1. Zest the lemons and set aside. Juice the zested lemons and strain the juice. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Stir in the zest and lemon juice.
2. Pour the mixture into a non-reactive saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer into a glass bowl. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cool to room temperature then press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface and chill in the fridge until completely chilled and set.
Vanilla Crumb Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
5 Tbs. chilled butter cut into small pieces
1 tsp. vanilla
1. In a bowl mix the flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the chilled butter until small pea sized balls form. Drizzle the vanilla over and mix to combine. Chill the mixture until needed.
Assembling the cake.
When the cake cooled, slice in half horizontally. Brush the cut sides of the cake with the remaining simple syrup. Spread 2/3 of the filling on the bottom half of the cake. Top with the other layer of cake. Frost the top and the outside of the cake with the remaining filling and then press the crumb mixture onto the sides and top of the cake. Dust with powdered sugar. Chill for several hours or freeze to firm up the filling. Dust extra with powdered sugar before serving.