If you are following Kidspot’s Voices of 2013, you may be aware that five bloggers have a chance of winning The Good Guys Gourmet Gadget Challenge. The prize is a $30,000 kitchen makeover. 30K guys! I swear the moment I caught glimpse of the email advising I’d been selected to take part I left my body, did three laps screaming around the universe ‘The Flash’ style and returned hoarse-voiced and more excited than a kid at Christmas.
I have lived with (and loved) our very humble (and old) kitchen for five and a half years. I’ve created more dishes than I can count, made more family memories than I could have hoped for, and this tiny little space has been my place of comfort and solitude on many a day. But does it function? Barely. An oven door that fell off and is currently propped in place (minus one of two glass plates) with a piece of wire positioned where a screw used to be is an eyesore I cringe at whenever I catch glimpse of it. Which isn’t hard given the space is smaller than my garden shed. Cupboard doors are unhinged, the pantry was designed by someone who has quite clearly never needed to use a pantry, and the original seriously unattractive brown cupboards have been painted a similarly unattractive navy blue at a feeble attempt at ‘modernisation’. Fact is; this kitchen has well and truly had its day. And that day was sometime back in 1982. This chance at a kitchen makeover is, oh I don’t know, phenomenal!
As part of the challenge, I received a Breville All-In-One Stick Mixer from The Good Guys to assist me in making something delicious. I was compelled to whip up something that insights a summery feel, a feeling of celebration. Something eye-catching, something so delicious you’d want to write home about it. Something with various textures and contrasting flavours that come together with the result being unique and perhaps a little whimsical. I wanted something white and yellow.
I only just recently became interested in layer cakes, I have however been a mad fan of citrus for as long as I can remember. Lemon cakes rock my world. So it was inevitable that a lemon layer cake was going to grace my old and beloved kitchen at some point. And now was the perfect time.
Layers of lemon and sour cream sponge sandwiched with deliciously tart lemon curd and frosted with oh-so-delicate meringue. GET OUTTA THE KITCHEN!
Ingredients // Makes 2 x 18cm (7”) cakes
(Lemon sour cream sponge recipe from Women’s Weekly)
250g butter, softened
2 ¼ cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup self raising flour
200ml sour cream
Preheat oven to 160C.
Grease tins and line with parchment paper.
Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind together in mixer until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.
Sift flours together in a separate bowl. Fold sifted flours and sour cream alternately into butter mixture until combined.
Pour batter evenly into both greased tins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake both cakes on middle shelf in moderately slow oven at 160C for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours. Alternate cakes after 30 minutes to ensure even baking. Cakes are baked once an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Once cooked, remove cakes from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes in tins before inverting onto a cooling rack. Once cool, wrap in cling wrap and place in freezer. This will make cutting easier when you assemble the cake.
Lemon curd // makes 2 cups
4 egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)
¾ cups sugar
125g butter, cubed
2 lemons, juiced and zest grated
Place yolks and sugar into the top bowl of a double-boiler, whisk over simmering water until sugar has dissolved.
Add butter, lemon juice and rind, whisk for about 5 minutes until creamy and slightly thickened. Remove bowl from heat, cover and set aside.
** If you have any left over, keeps well in refrigerator for a week. Or you could just eat it with a spoon…although I’d never do that…
6 egg whites
1 ½ cups caster sugar
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form using an electric whisk. Gradually add sugar a spoonful at a time, then whisk for about 10 minutes until meringue is shiny and silky.
Thankfully the Breville All-In-One Stick Mixer comes with a whisk attachment. In the past I’ve had to whisk by hand which probably explains my previous aversion to making meringue. Not anymore, look at me go!
** Tip: Before commencing whisking egg whites, rub the inside of bowl with lemon slice to eliminate any traces of oil and dry the bowl well. Egg whites won’t peak nicely if they come into contact with fat apparently. Gee they’re fussy little things aren’t they!
To assemble this layered lemon meringue delight:
Remove cakes from freezer and using a serrated knife, cut cakes in half horizontally. To achieve equal sizes, you can measure the height of both cakes and mark the halfway point on four sides of the cake with a knife to use as a guide as you are slicing.
Place the first slice of cake onto cake stand or board, flattest side down, and smother a layer of lemon curd over the top. Place the second layer of cake on top, smother with lemon curd and repeat with the third slice. Place the fourth slice on top, flattest side up. Apply a coating of lemon curd all over the cake’s top and sides.
Cover entire cake with meringue, creating little decorative peaks with palette knife. If you’d like to cook the meringue, pop cake into the oven for 3-5 minutes to brown meringue peaks or use a blowtorch to slightly scorch. (I just had a funny image of me in my shoebox of a kitchen with an industrial style blowtorch, scorching meringue.)
Slice and prepare to get tangy! And sweet.
Disclosure: The Good Guys gifted me with a Breville All-In-One Stick Mixer as part of round one of The Good Guys Gourmet Gadget Challenge.