By KARON LIU Food Writer
Royal Inspired Wedding Cake
The Lemon Cake
I prefer using deep, aluminium cake pans that have straight, non-sloped edges (as opposed to the stackable cake pans found at supermarkets) because the straight edges make them easy to stack. I got mine at Canadian Tire. If you do not have three cake pans, bake one or two cakes at a time.
Cooking spray or butter, for greasing pans
4 cups (1 L)all-purpose flour
4-1/2 tsp (22 mL)baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL)kosher salt
4large eggs, room temperature
2large egg whites, room temperature
1-3/4 cups (435 mL)unsalted butter, room temperature
2-2/3 cups (660 mL)granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL)vanilla extract
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp (50 mL)lemon juice
2-1/4 cups (560 mL)whole milk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease three 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and egg whites.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add beaten eggs a third at a time, mixing well after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to mix until combined.
Turn mixer to low speed. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk a third at a time. Mix until batter becomes thick and smooth, careful not to over mix.
Divide batter among cake pans, about 2 1/3 (580 mL) cups in each pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth batter to edges of pan. Gently tap pans on table to get rid of any excess air in batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes on middle rack or until cake tops begin to develop a golden colour and a toothpick inserted in cake centres comes out clean. For even baking, rotate pans at 15-minute mark.
Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Use an offset spatula to gently loosen the edge of cake from pan. Carefully turn cakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove parchment paper. Refrigerate cakes for at least an hour to firm up before assembling layer cake, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Makes 3, 9-inch (23-cm) cake layers.
Elderflower Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This recipe gave me enough to make the crumb coat, a thin layer of buttercream to seal in the crumbs before adding a second decorative layer, though your mileage may vary depending on how thick you apply the buttercream. Serving the cake with just the crumb coat was actually a wedding cake trend a few years ago (remember “naked cakes?”). If you like that look — or don’t want to eat that much buttercream — leave the cake as is and finish it with the flowers. If you’re like me and found yourself short on buttercream after the crumb coat,make a second batchwhile the cake is chilling after applying the crumb coat.
2/3 cup (160 mL)egg whites, about 5 or 6 large eggs
1-2/3 cup (410 mL)granulated sugar
3/4 tsp (3 mL)kosher salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL)cream of tartar
2-1/2 cups (625 mL)unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes (5 sticks)
1/4 cup (60 mL)elderflower drink concentrate, plus more as necessary
Fill a medium-sized pot with at least 2 inches (5-cm) water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium and reduce to a simmer. In a large heat-proof bowl, add egg whites, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Place bowl over pot of simmering water making sure bowl does not touch bottom of pot. Stir constantly with a flexible spatula until sugar has completely dissolved and mixture reaches about 185 F (85 C), about 10 to 12 minutes.
Pour mixture into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at high speed for about 10 minutes, or until meringue doubles in volume and develops stiff peaks and a glossy appearance. With mixer still running, add butter a few cubes at a time to achieve a thick and creamy texture.
Add elderflower concentrate and continue to mix until well-incorporated. Taste. Add more elderflower if necessary.
Assemble crumb coat. While cake is chilling, repeat above instructions for decorative layer.
Assembling and Decorating Cake
To assemble the cake, first level each chilled cake layer with a serrated knife to create a flat surface for stacking. Place the first cake layer on a plate (I recommend using a cardboard cake plate if you’re travelling with it). Place plate on a turntable or large serving platter. Using a long offset spatula, place a heaping dollop (about 1 cup) of buttercream in centre of cake and spread it into an even layer where the buttercream reaches beyond the cake’s edges. Place the second layer of cake on top and spread the same amount of buttercream. Repeat with the third layer. Smooth out any buttercream that has spilled out the sides to create a thin layer of buttercream around the cake (add more buttercream if there isn’t enough). This creates the crumb coat. Chill the cake for 30 minutes.
If you want the “naked cake” look, decorate the cake now with flowers. If you want a second layer of buttercream, make a second batch of elderflower buttercream while the cake is in the fridge.
When the cake is chilled and firm, add a second layer of buttercream. First add a heaping dollop of buttercream on the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, smooth out the top and let excess buttercream go beyond the cake’s edge. Generously add buttercream along the side of the cake. Smooth out with offset spatula. Remove excess buttercream accumulating at the top edge of the cake by making a sweeping motion up towards the centre of cake with the edge of the spatula. Decorate the cake with flowers and serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to four days — though the cake is at its best when served fresh — and bring back to room temperature before serving.
Makes 12 servings.
Karon Liu is the Star's food writer and is based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @karonliu