The Birthday Cake


Last week I attempted something I had never done before – a birthday cake, entirely from scratch. I was very pleased with the results, and of course started out with a Martha Stewart recipe. I made my typical substitutions to decrease the calories and fat while increasing the fiber content. I decided to make a lemon/raspberry birthday cake. The cake was moist and delicious, and people seemed to enjoy it. This isn’t the type of thing you can whip up in one day, but is a very nice option for a special occasion.

1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake with Lemon Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 with two racks centered. Line two 8″ x 2″ cake pans with parchment paper and then spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, sift together 2c all-purpose flour, 1c whole wheat flour, 1T baking powder, 1t baking soda, and 1/2t salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature) on low-speed to soften, then raise speed to medium and add 1/2c unsweetened applesauce, beat until light and fluffy. Keep beating while gradually adding 2c granulated sugar; beat until fluffy. Gradually pour in 2 eggs and 2/3c egg white substitute; scrape down the sides and beat for another 2 minutes. With the mixer on low-speed, alternate adding in the flour mix and low-fat buttermilk (1 1/4c in total). Beat in 1 1/2t vanilla extract and the zest of 2 lemons. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.  I tap the pans on the counter a few times to get all the air bubbles out.

Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for 45 – 55 minutes, until cakes are golden brown. As usual I rotated the cakes and switched the racks (top cake to bottom and vice versa) halfway through cook time. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire rack.

Once the cakes had cooled completely I wrapped them (individually) in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil. I placed them in the fridge overnight, but did not stack them. At this point take out 3/4c unsalted butter; leave it to come to room temperature.

The next morning I removed the cakes from the fridge and unwrapped them about 2 hours before I intended on frosting them. I also brought the raspberry jam to room temperature. Make sure you have plenty of room for this project; I even lined the table with newspaper to make cleanup easier.

Make the frosting. Cream the butter (left out previous night) with 1/2 lb of powdered sugar (about 2c) and 1t vanilla extract; blend until well mixed. Add in zest and juice of one lemon and 4-5 drops of orange food coloring, and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes, until combined and pale-yellow in color. Set frosting aside. * As a way to decrease calories and fat, I made a half recipe (which is what I have instructed you in). The full recipe is simply doubled and will yield about 4c frosting for the cake, which will result in thicker layers of frosting on the finished product.

Now, layer the cake – You could cut the cake in half (hamburger style) and make the cake have 4 layers, but I chose the easier route which is just stacking the two cakes on top of each other. My cakes were very level so I didn’t need to trim the tops or clean them up very much. Lay out the two cakes, coat the top of one with raspberry jam – I used about 1/4c but you will need to eyeball it.

The scariest part, aside from transporting the cake is… Frosting the cake… I watched this video along with some YouTube videos several times to get a grasp on the right way to do this.

I topped the cake with 1/2 pint fresh raspberries and let it chill in the fridge until 20 minutes before serving.


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