Saturday, June 20, 2009

Heavenly Lemon Cloud - Meyer Lemon Filled White Cake

White Cake - The mere mention of it causes some cake lovers’ blood to run cold with dread. Plagued with memories of this usually dry and crumbly, though very "white", vehicle of frosting transportation. Most seek solace in "yellow" butter cake or even cross over to the “dark side”, reaching for that ever dense & moist, rich deep devils food.

Thus was the conundrum I faced this week. I had promised that I was going to bake a cake for Patricia, one of my coworkers. So in order to keep it a secret, I had asked Diana to perform a little reconnaissance to find out, secretly, what Pat's favorite cake was. When I received the news that a lemon filled white cake was her favorite I was a aghast. I had never made a white cake before. Although my resistance to white cake had nothing to do with it's dryness..... Every "White cake" recipe I had seen always used shortening, so I had completely written them off... I understand why shortening was used, as it does not brown the way butter does, but I do not cook or bake with Shortening...

This is a personal health choice that has become somewhat of a soap box for me. Shortening is an unnatural and synthetic product not only by way of it's manufacturing, but it is foreign to the body as well. I am not going to go into too many details, but I learned this long ago, because my mother was a member of the Women's Home Extension. (back in my "knee-high to a grasshopper" days) I remember when she gave the class on synthetically hydrogenated oils and, consequently, switched from Crisco/Shortening/Margarine/Oleo back to butter for all her baking needs. The short story is this.

Unsaturated fats (which your digestive system CAN identify and break down) are bombarded with hydrogen, in the presence of nickel, until they become partially saturated, making them more solid at room temperature. The problem is, these fats do not occur in nature, your digestive system cannot recognize the "synthetic" fat and sends it to the liver just as it would for a short chained fatty acid. The liver is then forced to store it as a polymer (for all intensive purposes - a plastic) because it is incapable of breaking it down as well. Oh sure, shortenings are "Trans-Fat Free" now, which is great, but the underlying evil of what shortening is, still remains.

The point is, this is why I had never make a white cake. This is also why BakeSpace is the most awesome place on the net. You see, I had begun to panic, and had actually bought some Crisco, resigning myself to the fact that, to make her birthday cake, I was going to have to use it.

Then I was suddenly struck by an idea. I know that part of the reason for the cakes white-ness (and dryness) is the lack of egg yolks, so does butter really make THAT much of a difference? Do I REALLY need to use shortening? Cow butter is dyed with annatto seed, because it is a weird grayish ivory color. Goat butter, on the other hand, is naturally snowy white.

Was it simply a matter of using "white" ingredients to make a white cake? So I tracked down some goat butter at Whole Foods just in case and put a call out on BakeSpace, asking these questions.

Sure as the sun rises in the East, one of my BakeSpace buddies (beeps) came to the rescue. Spryte, from Spryte's Place, pointed me to the perfect recipe, which included butter instead of shortening. Not only that, but it promised to be moist with a tender crumb. Awesome! So I need to shout out to another fellow BakeSpacer.... Piday, your white cake recipe was awesome!!!

I only made 2 changes to the cake, one out of paranoia and one out of necessity. I did use the Goat butter, instead of Cow butter, and I used Lemon oil instead of lemon zest (cause I used all my lemons making the Honeyed Lemon Pine Nut Tart the other night) So I am going to post the recipe, on here, as I made it. Piday's original white cake recipe (Sorry, as of 2013, this link is broken). I did make a single batch 2 layer cake, and then decided I needed 1 more layer so I made another 1/2 batch of the recipe.

A word of caution with Goat butter - it melts at a slightly lower temperature than cow butter. This is due to it's larger percentage of short/medium chained fatty acids. (Capric, Caprylic and Caproic). Cow butter fats (Butyric, Myristic) have a higher melting point. So in order for it to "cream" with the sugar properly, it must be slightly colder that room temperature. (I didn't figure this out until I was making the third layer)

White Cake

2 1/4 cups (7.9 oz) (225g) Cake Flour
1 TB Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 cup (8 oz) (240 ml) Whole Milk
1/4 cup (2 oz) (60 ml) Buttermilk
4 large Egg Whites
1 1/2 cups (10 oz) (285g) Granulated Sugar
10 TB (5 oz) (142 g) Unsalted Goat Butter, slightly colder than room temp
1/4 tsp Lemon oil
1 TB Simple Syrup
2 tsp Canton (Ginger cognac)

1 cup (8oz) Meyer Lemon Curd or Plain Lemon Curd
1 recipe 7 Minute Frosting
Zest Lemon mixed with 2-3 TB Granulated sugar for Decor
1 Lemon; Sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment, then rub the parchment with butter as well. Do not grease the sides of the pan. (OK, I have to admit, that I DID use the Crisco for this, just because shortening doesn't brown like butter, due to lack of protein. So yes, I am a hypocrite)

Sift the Cake Flour, Baking Powder and Salt together.

Whisk the milk and egg whites together in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for a 3 minutes, until they are very light and slightly fluffy. (but not too fluffy)

Mix in the extract/oil, 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 remaining milk/egg white mixture beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients and continue beating the batter for 2 more minutes to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Divide the batter between the two pans; lift and drop the pans to force any bubbles to the top then smooth the tops with a spatula

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly touched; toothpick inserted in the center comes 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 parchment.

Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up and gently brush away any crumbs.

I then made a 1/2 batch so I would have three layers (my oven is not big enough to fit 3 cake pans)

Mix Canton and Simple syrup, brushing the cakes while still slightly warm, on the top sides only.

Begin making 7 minute frosting.

The cakes should be cooled by now, so arrange the first layer, fastening to the board or plate with a little dollop of frosting.

Pipe a boarder around edge of the cake, then fill with 1/2 cup Meyer Lemon Curd.

Place second layer, pipe a boarder and fill with remaining Meyer Lemon Curd.

Place the third layer and empty the pastry bag over the top of the cake (just cause, I didn't want to waste any frosting)

Cover cake with the remaining 7 minute frosting (Don't bother with a crumb coat, because 7 minute frosting cannot be refrigerated)

Combine the zest of 1 lemon with 2 TB of sugar and rub together to coat, them sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Slice a lemon, then cut slices in half and place decoratively around the base of the cake.



Unknown said...

Wow!! that really does look incredible! Soo...what does goat butter taste like?

Shane T. Wingerd said...

To me, it tastes more like the European Cultured Butter.... It has just a slight tang to it... But it's VERY faint. Personally, I cannot taste it at all once it's in baked goods.

Dajana said...

Why don't I know anyone willing to make a birthday cake for me?
I can imagine how good it was.

Heather S-G said...

Wow, it turned out so beautiful! I'm not much of a cake person in general...I like it, but I don't love it. I think that the lemon in this would make it pretty darned addicting, though! Great job. Goat butter? I'll have to keep an eye open for that one.