May was a very busy month - lots of fun times, but not too much of it was spent in the kitchen, so it's been a while since my last post! Two completely awesome people decided to get married and decided to ask me to make their cakes in May, so a good bit of my cooking time for a month was spent making practice cakes and figuring out the best baking methods to make large cakes (all on a budget and with a TINY oven). We decided on a lemon cake filled raspberry preserves and vegan lemon curd and a chocolate peanut butter groom's cake...Jack and Dominique seemed to enjoy them! I completely forgot to take a nice picture of the cakes on the serving table, so above is the mutilated version after some tipsy guests and I hacked away at the lemon one!
I'll just be posting the lemon cake today, which is really just the most basic veganization of the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe on the back of the Swans Cake Flour box. For both cakes I made a 12" bottom layer with a 9" cake on top. I baked each cake in 3" deep pans and torted them twice for three medium thick layers for each cake.
Lemon Cake Filled with Raspberry Preserves and Vegan Lemon Curd
1 c. Earth Balance margarine (sticks or tub, not the whipped kind though)
2 c. sugar
3 c. sifted cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs worth of egg replacer
1 cup soy milk
1 tbs vanilla
2 tbs lemon zest
a jar of raspberry preserves (any berry preserve will be good though!)
vegan lemon curd (see below)
Basic decorators "butter cream" icing (the earth balance/powdered sugar/splashes of soy milk and vanilla kind. I've never really paid attention to how much of each of these i use but there's a million recipes for this online)
Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare the pans - I coated them with non stick spray and flour, lined the bottom with waxed paper and put a sprayed and floured flower nail in the middle for even heating in the deep pans. This is actually the first time I've even used the flower nails I bought months ago ha!
Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream the margarine and slowly add the sugar. Cream with an electric hand mixer until it gets fluffy and the color is noticeably lighter. Add the egg replacer in four parts, beating well after each addition. The batter should still be very fluffy! This is key for a light and crumbly cake. Alternate adding the flour and liquids, starting by adding the flour mixture. It is important to do this in sections so the batter doesn't separate! The batter will be pretty thick. Pour all of the batter into a 9x3" deep round pan (or two regular 9" round pans). If you have them, wet and wrap the bake-even cake strips around the outside of the pans. This will help the cakes be level and is more important for pans larger than 9".
For the deep pan, bake for about an hour, but start checking for doneness after 45 minutes. For the 12" cakes, I doubled this recipe and baked for about an hour and 20 minutes. Remove from the pans after at least 15 minutes and let cool COMPLETELY before torting (waiting until the next day is good, and keeping the cakes well wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator is even better). While you wait, make the lemon curd!
Vegan Lemon Curd
This is a pretty thin curd - it was the consistency of a jelly when kept in the refrigerator over night, which was a perfect spreadable consistency for cake assembly! It tastes like a sweet pie filling and could be used as one by upping the cornstarch! It also was safe to use in a cake that was not refrigerated the day of the wedding.
1 c. water
2/3 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 c. sugar
3 tbs. corn starch
1.5 tbs. Ener-G egg replacer (powder, not mixed with water)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs earth balance
1/4 c. soy milk
1/2 tbs lemon zest
Mix the sugar, cornstarch, egg replacer and salt in the bottom of a sauce pan until it looks smooth and there are no corn starch lumps. Add the water and lemon juice and stir cold to further break down any lumps. Cook over medium heat whisking continually. Continue whisking over the heat a couple minutes after it boils to cook out any starch flavor. Turn off the heat and wisk in the earth balance, soy milk and lemon zest. It will look like a translucent pudding.
Stir every minute or so for 5 minutes to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to at least room temperature before using, but over night in the refrigerator worked great!
Now assemble the cake! If your cakes are not flat, cut some off the top just to get it approximately level. Cut the cake horizontally twice to form three even layers (or as my pictures should show evenish is fine!). Cut the top layer off first and slide a cake board under it to remove it and repeat with the second layer:
To fill the cake, pipe a dam around the border of the bottom layer. Spread a layer of curd and jam inside the dam and carefully slide the next layer off the cake board to be even on top of the filled bottom layer. Repeat filling the second layer and carefully placing the top layer of the cake.Ice a thin crumb coat over the entire cake and place it in the refrigerator to crust over a bit. Add a final smooth (or smoothish) layer of icing over the cake and decorate as you like!
To stack the cakes, I presses a 9" cake board into the final icing coat of the 12" cake after it had dried some to mark where to place the top layer. I cut 4 sections of wooden dowels the exact height of the 12" cake, placed one into the middle and the other three as an equilateral triangle, each dowel placed at the midpoint of the edge of the 9" cake mark and the center of the 12" cake. I put the dowel supports in at home, brought the cakes to the wedding in separate boxes and assembled the rest there...i'm WAY too much of a clutz to try to transport assembled cakes! the assembly part took pretty much no time at all since these were stacked, not tiered cakes. I'm not much of a decorator so we got some edible flowers on top of the not so smooth icing....the only picture I took of the final product is on my makeshift assembly space at Jack and Dominique's place! They tasted way better than they look!