Lemon Sunshine Cake

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes I am fully aware that it’s Thursday today, which means I’m a day late from my normal upload schedule of every Wednesday night (Philippine time). There’s a reason for this, because:

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SIX TODAY!

For my new followers and friends who don’t know the story behind my blog, before I got it up and running, I already had an interest in cooking. I was already sharing photos of my kitchen adventures on Facebook throughout my first year in university up until my third year. Throughout these years, I kept getting comments and messages from family and friends, encouraging me to start up a blog and share my recipes online.

Finally, after many years of encouragement and pure procrastination, I started what was formerly known as Kitchen Headquarters back in April 16 of 2014. It happened when I was 2 months into my last year of university and in the middle of my mid-semester Easter break; not wanting to tackle the many assignments I had on my to-do list before resuming classes.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

To celebrate today’s occasion, I’ve baked a Lemon Sunshine Cake. It strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet with homemade lemon curd, a moist lemon cake, and a rich, creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s delicious and sure to brighten your day!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe that I drew my inspiration from over at The Simple Sweet Life by Claire.

Lemon Sunshine Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS & 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 35 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the lemon curd

  • 60g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the lemon cake

  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp baking powder

For the vanilla buttercream frosting

  • 500g unsalted butter (cold), cubed
  • 10 free-range egg whites*
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 10 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

* Don’t throw away the egg yolks! You can keep them in the fridge for up to two days while you decide what you can make with them. I made an easy Leche Flan (Crème Caramel) recipe. If you’re feeling a little bit creative and inspired, try turning them into Crispy Fried Leche Flan instead!

METHOD

  1. Lemon Curd: Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. It should almost have the consistency of a pudding. Once the lemon curd has thickened, carefully remove the bowl from the pot of boiling water and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly incorporate the cubed butter into the slightly cooled curd mixture. Cover and then allow for the curd to cool completely in the refrigerator before use.
  4. Lemon Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Add the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, whip them together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into four 8” parchment paper-lined and greased cake pans. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
  8. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking until the sugar becomes clear.
  9. While the syrup cooks, whip the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
  10. With the mixed running on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites and whip until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature.
  11. Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly incorporate the butter and vanilla extract. Continue beating until the frosting is thick and smooth.
  12. Assembly: If necessary, level your cakes before layering for assembly. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread a layer of frosting on top.
  13. Using an offset spatula, carve out an indent in the frosting and fill with the lemon curd. Repeat with the second and third layer and then top with the fourth. Coat the outside with a thin crumb coat and allow for the cake to set in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes to set.
  14. Optional: Equally divide the remaining frosting into three batches. Tint each batch a different shade of yellow.
  15. Cover the cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smoothen the frosting and remove any excess. Feel free to get creative in how you’re going to use the colours to decorate and present your cake.I topped the cake with the remaining lemon curd and added a few slices of baked/dehydrated lemon slices for that finishing touch.
  16. Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Here are some helpful tips to note when making this Lemon Sunshine Cake:

  1. Make the lemon curd in advance: You can make the lemon curd a week and store it in the refrigerator if you’re looking to save some time when you come around to making this cake.
  2. Crumb coating: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  3. The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  4. Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Before I end tonight’s post, I want to thank everyone for all the love and support. Of course all the hard work that goes into Amcarmen’s Kitchen wouldn’t have been possible without my #1 supporter, my Mom. I asked my Mom to teach me how to cook after trying to survive off regular takeaway meals from the nearest shop or my attempts at home-cooked food of very poor quality during my first year away from home.

I have my Mom to thank for the days she had to put up with my very little knowledge in the kitchen, and my inability to choose the best produce when she would bring me along to her trips to the market. Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching over me.

Lastly, I want to thank a very special someone in my life. Since the day we first started talking to each other, you’ve always been very proud and supportive by sharing my recipes each week. And for that, thank you for encouraging and motivating me to continue doing what I love to do!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! As I already mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have a very special recipe for all of you today as today is my Mother’s 55th Birthday! Not only that, it is also my Cousin’s 35th Birthday! A very Happy Birthday to the both of them! Not only do they share the same birthday, but they also share the same-ish name. My mom’s name is Josephine, while my cousin’s name is Joseph; and my mother is also his godmother in both his baptismal and wedding. So yes, these two people are very important to me.

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine & Kuya JR
Happy Birthday to my mom Josephine & my cousin Joseph Russell! This is the latest photo that I could find of the two of them. This photograph dates back to December 2012 when my cousin JR got married. Kuya J, payat mo oh! Anyare? Hehehe.

To be completely honest, this cake has given me a lot of headaches to the point where I just had to redo everything again. The plan was to bake it the day before so that it would be in the fridge overnight; that obviously didn’t happened. Something went wrong in the batter; it was very pale and it looked like the batter and the eggs whites separated because when I took them out of the oven, the top half was very airy white the bottom half was cake-y. Since I had quite a tiring day yesterday, I gave up on baking the cake and decided to bake it early the next morning (today). The cake this time went well, I just mixed the batter very well and added some food colouring to bring out the purple a bit more.

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

However, today my frosting decided that it wanted to wreck havoc. The frosting was actually an experiment, because I wanted to incorporate mango into the cream cheese frosting somehow. The big mistake that I did was that I mixed the mango purée together with the cream cheese and and butter instead of smoothening out the cream cheese and butter first. I ended up with a mess of what looked like really bad scrambled eggs. I tried so hard to save it, but in the end I started all over again. At one point I kind of just had about enough with this cake… But I told myself to carry on because it’s a special cake for my Mom’s Birthday! The flavours were all there, form the cake in the beginning, and even the frosting, but it would’ve ended up looking like a shit cake if I hadn’t redone the whole thing.

Anyway, all mishaps aside, the cake turned out to be pretty good! But what decided to ruin everything yet once again was the weather. It was pitch black and raining when I was about to do the final touches on the cake and I have no natural light to photograph my cake. I am so devastated. It was as if everything was trying to ruin this cake for me… Thank goodness that it was still a little bit bright outside, but I really had to put my ISO up and decrease my shutter speed to get some light!

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30-35 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 2 & 1/2 cups cake flour*
  • 1 cup ube (purple yam), cooked and finely grated**
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 7 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 7 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup***
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Blue & red food colouring (optional)

For the frosting

  • 1 very ripe mangoes, puréed
  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

*I barely use cake flour, and if you so happen as to not have cake flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup of cake flour with 2 tablespoons of corn flour place into a measuring cup and then filling it with plain flour all the way to the 1 cup mark.

**Place the ube (leaving its skin on) in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how big it is, or until tender. Peel off its skin and then grate.

***If you’re like me and you don’t have corn syrup sitting in your pantry because you barely use it anyway, you can substitute corn syrup by dissolving 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in 1/4 cup of boiling water.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 165C (325F or gas mark 3). Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Ube Cake: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the grated ube into a large bowl and mix together with the milk and vanilla extract; gradually mix into the ube until it is smooth. Then add in the corn syrup, egg yolks, and oil. Mix together and then add in the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar, then red and blue food colouring (optional), while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool down completely.
  7. Mango Cream Cheese Frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar, and then fold in the mango purée.
  8. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and trim the tops so that they are level. spread with about 1/4 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and spread another 1/4 cup of and frosting. Finally, top with the last layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the cake trimmings and store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mom Josephine

Ube Cake with Mango Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Hello Everyone! Today I have a special post for you as today is my not so little sister’s 19th birthday! Today is also the first time in 4 years that I have been home to celebrate with her and the rest of the family. If you have been following my blog since September last year, you would know that I started getting into baking cakes. I never really liked baking cakes to be honest, only because I find it very time consuming and my level of patience does have a limit. Since I started baking cakes, my Mom and sisters now prefer a homemade birthday cake instead of an expensive and cliché store-bought cake. So on Sunday, with the help of the birthday girl, we baked her birthday cake together. We baked it on Sunday even though her birthday is today. Why? Well only because tomorrow we’ll be off for a 1-month vacay to the Philippines, and if we had baked it today, leftovers would be sitting in the fridge until April.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Today’s cake recipe has been slightly adapted from, and can be found on Joanne Eats Well With Others. As you have already read from the title, it is a 3-layer pistachio cake with honey vanilla buttercream. I decided to add the strawberries and crushed pistachios on top to bring some life and colour to the presentation of the cake. I substituted some ingredients, such as instead of using cream of tartare, I used lemon juice instead. I barely use cream of tartare in my baking and buying a jar of it didn’t seem very economical as I know it’ll just sit in the pantry waiting for its expiry date. Also, instead of cake flour, also because I barely use it, I used plain flour combined with cornstarch instead. The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with plain flour and level the top. In addition, I lessened the amount of sugar and butter in this recipe and it still turned out fine for me! I am not a huge fan of overly sweet desserts, and also I had to take into consideration my Mom who is a diabetic.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Before I move on to the recipe, I HIGHLY recommend that you buy shelled pistachios. We went to four different grocery stores and could not find any and so we decided to buy the shelled ones. It took forever to shell just over a cup of pistachios – thank goodness I had my Mom and my sisters to do the tedious job while I worked on the batter. Also, have a food processor handy, but if you’re like me and don’t own one, then all you need is a motor and pestle to bash it all up as well as grinding it. It takes time but it gets the job done. I think that’s why towards the end of this cake I was starting to lose a little bit of my patience because everything took longer to do! But hurray for a gas oven! I cannot stress how much I hated using the oven at the Doncaster Lodge. Everything took at least double or triple the normal time to cook!

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake
  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, plus extra for decorating
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large free range egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 5 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
For the buttercream
  • 300g unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C or gas mark 3. Grease three 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter.
  2. For the Cake Batter: Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until coarsely chopped. Remove half of the pistachios and transfer to a small bowl. Pulse the remaining pistachios until they are an almost powder-like consistency.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk together both the roughly chopped and fine pistachios with the plain flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  4. Cream the butter using an electrical mixer on high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy for about another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add in the egg, mixing until just combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour+pistachio mix to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  6. In a medium, clean bowl whisk together the egg whites with the lemon juice until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let them completely cool.
  9. For the Buttercream: Meanwhile, as the cakes are cooling down, whisk together the flour and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Then, add in the milk and cream, and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil and then thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer the hot milk mixture to a large bowl and mix on high speed until cool, about 9 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, until it is full incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy for a further few minutes. Then add in the vanilla and honey, and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, chill it in the freezer for a while and then mix again.
  11. Assembly: Place one cake layer top side up on a serving platter. Use a long serrated knife to cut the top so that it is flat and even. Spread a little over a cup of frosting on top. Add the next later and, again, trim so that it is flat. Top with another cup of frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and trim the top again. Spread cake with a very thin layer of frosting for the crumb coating. Put in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting and decorate as desired.

Layered Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream

Happy Birthday Alyssa!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

Hello Everyone! Another Muffin Making Monday recipe post for all of you tonight, and why not bake these not so little, but cute muffins for the kids or maybe even the adults this holiday season? Just remember to exclude that hint of vodka in the orange frosting when serving it up for the little ones! These muffins are moist and packed with a spicy sweet gingerbread flavour with that touch of citrusy goodness; not to mention they also create a beautiful gingery aroma in the kitchen. As usual with all my baking adventures, I always look to Sally’s Baking Addiction. Her recipes are straight forward, easy to follow, and really require minimal work in the kitchen (as far as I know from the recipes I’ve tried). I also always try to tweak the recipe myself, which I have definitely done here to make these muffins a little more special for this festive season.

Besides tonight’s muffin post, I also baked gingerbread cookies yesterday to bring in and share amongst my workmates. The recipe for these gingerbread cookies will be up on Thursday’s post. From the dough I had,  I made little gingerbread men to stuff into my muffins. I also topped the muffins with leftover orange frosting. I shall call these Hot Tub Gingerbread Muffins! I actually got this idea from the front cover of the December issue of Coles Magazine. The featured cupcakes were topped with frosting and little gingerbread man cookies. I pre-baked the little gingerbread men before baking my muffins, and my plan was to stuff the muffins with the men while the tops were still moist before completely cooked. But forgetting that I wanted to do that, Jialing had already frosted and decorated my little men, and putting them into the oven would basically just melt the frosting off. Also it meant that the gingerbread men would potentially over bake in the oven. So what I did was once the muffins were ready and slightly cooled, I cut a slit in the muffins and inserted the little men. They were a bit large for the muffins, so I ended up amputating their legs just so they would fit snuggly. I remember when I brought a muffin into work today, one of the managers noticed that his legs were missing and asked where his legs went. I told her the sad story.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I also by the way, did not have any cookie cutters for these, instead I made my own cookie cutter using aluminium foil following this tutorial on wikiHow. I mean, it wasn’t ideal for the foil kept reshaping itself every time I pressed down on it to cut out my cookies, so as you can see from the image above, some were fat, some skinny. Some had one leg longer than the other, one arm higher than the other, big heads, small heads, etc. but as Jialing said, everyone is different in their own way and we don’t discriminate! And of course, being such a professional baker (sarcasm intended), I don’t even own a rolling pin – but who says a bottle of Jack can’t fix the problem and stand in as a makeshift rolling pin?

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

I went ingredient shopping two days before making these muffins, and unfortunately I could not get a hold of molasses which gives the muffins their deep brown colour and rich flavour. I wasn’t able to look at another grocery store on the Sunday because I had my own little adventure kayaking over the Sydney Harbour, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. So I settled with using honey for this recipe, which is one of the various substitutes for molasses. Also, you may notice that the batter is quite thick. Very, very thick. It may make you wonder if you’ve done anything wrong, or if the proportions of this recipe is right. Well, you didn’t do anything wrong, and neither is the recipe wrong. A thick batter helps make a muffin have that beautiful high dome top. So do expect a thick (and lumpy) batter and you’ll be happy with the results of your muffins! In addition, no need to take out your electric mixer for this, because I always dread having to dig for it at the back of the cupboard and cleaning it up afterwards.

Also, just a quick note incase you missed it, the recipe for the gingerbread men will be posted on Thursday – as well as the orange frosting since that came with the gingerbread recipe, so stay tuned for that! Tonight will just be on the Gingerbread Muffins.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15 MINS | MAKES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses (or honey in my case)
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large free rage egg
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Add the honey and unsalted butter together in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for about 1 minute in the microwave. Stir until thoroughly mixed together. Set aside. In third bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, egg, yogurt, and milk.
  3. Pour the mixture into the into the honey and butter mixture and whisk until everything is incorporated. Then pour the wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined, careful to not over mix the batter which will be very thick and lumpy.
  4. Fill your muffin cups tins to the very top and bake for about 5 minutes at 220C. Baking them at a higher temperature right at the beginning will help create a burst of steam inside the muffin and rapidly lift the tops. Then reduce the temperature down to 190C and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes. Muffins are finished when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Once done, remove the muffins from the oven and set aside to cool down for a bit. Cut slits into your muffins and insert a gingerbread man in each. Top with a drizzle of orange frosting. Serve!

Muffins taste best eaten the same day, and can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Breakfast Muffins: Gingerbread

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com