This lemon & apple curd cake is a basic sponge sandwich but with the addition of fruit curd. It’s filled with white chocolate and lemon & apple curd buttercream and topped with lemon icing. It’s a lovely fresh and lightly fruity cake which is perfect for Easter, but just as good at any other time of year.
Not being especially thrilled by my chocolate and cheddar biscuits (cheecolates), I thought I’d have another attempt at a chocolate and cheese combination for this month’s We Should Cocoa. This time, I took a slightly safer route by going for a tart with a mascarpone and fruit curd filling. The curd in question was some apple and lemon curd I’d recently made to which I’ve become rather addicted – it is so delicious. The bit that was slightly risky was making pastry with an egg white. I’ve never done this before and nor had anyone else according to google. But I had an egg white lurking in the fridge from making the biscuits and I didn’t want it lurking there anymore. The chocolate addition, I took from my surprise cheesecake and made these three layered tarts.
This is what I did:
- Rubbed 40g unsalted butter into 100g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 20g cardamom sugar (caster) until the mixture resembled bread crumbs.
- Added the egg white and a splash of water and mixed with a knife.
- Bought the mixture together to form a dough.
- Being too impatient to hang around (to my cost), rolled the dough out thinly and cut circles just big enough to fill a 9 cm tart case.
- Pressed the pastry circles into 4 buttered tart tins & trimmed the tops with a knife.
- Reformed the remaining pastry into a ball and rolled into a circle.
- Shaped into a freeform pastry case & placed on a baking tray with the other tarts.
- Pricked the bottoms in several places with a fork.
- Baked for 10 minutes at 180C then left to cool. Oh dear the pastry had shrunk hugely – my own fault for not putting it into the fridge before rolling probably.
- Removed the pastry from the tins.
- Melted 50g milk chocolate (Green&Blacks 37%) in a glass bowl over a pan of not quite simmering water.
- Left to cool a little.
- Spread a couple of teaspoons or so of chocolate around the bases of the tart cases.
- Mixed 125g mascarpone cheese with 3 tbsp of lemon and apple curd.
- Divided this mixture between the 5 tarts.
- Sprinkled the tops with grated dark chocolate (Green&Blacks 70%).
The pastry, I was pleased to find, worked well – apart from the shrinkage). It was easy to roll, which always gets lots of points in my book and being rather plain, offset the richness of the filling nicely. I now have another use for left over egg whites. CT pronounced these delicious, but I was disappointed by the pastry shrinkage and didn’t think the pastry worked as well as the shortbread I’d used for the lime curd mascarpone tarts I made last year. Nor did they look as striking. However, I was quite happy to polish off my share of the tarts and they didn’t last long. The chocolate layer gave a pleasant surprise snap to the experience as our teeth sank in.
A take on Dan Lepard’s coconut milk layer cake. It’s not overwhelmingly coconutty by any means, but it is delicious. I guess that’s not surprising with the addition of rum, mascarpone and lemon curd.
Fitting nicely into this month’s We Should Cocoa theme, this cake was actually designed to be the piece de resistance at the cake fest last month and luckily it proved to be so. I wanted something rich and chocolatey yet fudgy with a contrasting flavour. I’d already decided to use my apple and lemon curd to fill the cake and then when I spotted the Treacle chocolate fudge frosting in Short & Sweet, I was away!
Recipe – this is what I did:
- Creamed 225g unsalted butter with 125g cardamom sugar (caster) and 100g molasses sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs, alternating with some of the flour.
- Sieved in 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white & a tbsp mesquite powder), 25g cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda and a pinch of salt.
- Stirred this in with 100g fat free Greek yogurt and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- Spooned into two 22 cm sandwich moulds and baked at 180C for 23 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
- Left in moulds for 10 mins then turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Wrapped in greaseproof paper and left to finish off the next day.
- Heated 50ml milk, 1 tbsp treacle, and 50g light muscovado sugar in a pan.
- Whisked I heaped tbsp of custard powder (I didn’t have any cornflour) and 1 heaped tbsp cocoa into another 50ml of milk until all combined.
- Poured this into the hot milk mixture and whisked until smooth and thick.
- Removed from the heat and stirred in 90g of chopped 60% dark chocolate.
- Beat in a bare tsp of vanilla extract and a bit more than 15g of unsalted butter.
- Carried on beating until smooth and lush – mmmmmm!
- Sandwiched the two cakes with a generous layer of apple and lemon curd.
- Topped with the treacle icing.
- Sprinkled white chocolate stars over the top.
- Sat back and felt smug
Smugness, it seems, never pays. On the rather tortuous journey to the cake destination, the top slid off the bottom! Luckily, I managed to rescue it before it fell on the floor and a near disaster was overted, although it didn’t ever look quite as good as it had once done. As all I got was oohs and aahs, I don’t think anyone noticed!!!
I have a commission to make the cakes for a friend’s Open House weekend. This feels quite a responsibility and is taking some planning, but it’s also fun as I’ve been given free rein to bake what I like. The only specific request I’ve had are for some of the apple rock cakes I made back in August. I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do yet, but with an ongoing apple glut, it seemed timely to prepare some apple and lemon curd to be used as filling or topping or both. The idea for this came when browsing through the excellent Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No 2 by Pam Corbin. I followed the spirit of Pam’s recipe but not its exact method or quantities.
This is what I did:
- Peeled, cored and roughly chopped 5 windfall Cornish apples (variety unknown) to give just over 350g flesh.
- Simmered this in a pan with a splash of water until soft then blitzed to a smooth puree with an electric hand blender.
- Put this into a Pyrex bowl and placed over a pan of simmering water. Added 200g cardamom sugar and stirred until the sugar had dissolved.
- Grated in the zest from one organic lemon (reasons for using unwaxed lemons can be found here), then squeezed in the juice.
- Stirred in 80g unsalted butter until it had melted and all was smooth.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs (large hens eggs would have been fine) and whisked until all smooth.
- Gave an occasional whisk over the next 15 minutes until the mixture had thickened.
- Pressed through a sieve. This probably wasn’t necessary as the mixture was perfectly smooth and creamy looking at this point, but I’m a bit particular when it comes to eggs and can’t stand any “bits”.
- Poured into 3 sterilised jars, covered with waxed discs then screwed on the lids.
- Left to cool and stored in the fridge.
This set really well and was buttery, smooth and soft. It was lemony for sure, but with noticeable fruity overtones – delicious. This was sweeter than either the lime & ginger curd or apricot curd I made earlier in the year even though I used less than half the amount of sugar stated in the recipe with 2/3 of the apple. It was also creamier and less sharp so will hopefully make a good stand alone filling for a cake.
Susan, whose blog title splendidly encapsulates the essence of her blog, A little bit of heaven on a plate, is running a home made and well preserved challenge. This is my entry.