Sunday, June 13, 2010

On Our Own

We ordered some natural food colourings from India Tree and were anxious to give them a try with our own recipes. Mom sort of goes "by guess and by..." with her icing making, so I don't know what recipe she was following, other than using lots of icing sugar, a little butter, a little whipping cream, and I convinced her to use a little lemon juice (given the flavourings of our cake & filling). I can give you the recipes for the cake and filling though:

Lemon Cake

1 cup cream cheese
1 cup softened butter (although when baked, we found this way too much butter for the end result, so I'd suggest half that)
3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sifted whole wheat flour
1 tbsp grated lemon peel (enough from one lemon)

  • Cream butter & cream cheese until smooth.
  • Mix in sugar and beat again until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated well.
  • Stir in vanilla and lemon juice and lemon peel.
  • Combine flour with baking powder, then stir into batter and beat until well combined.
  • Pour into 2 greased loaf tins, or one 7" diameter round cake tin, or (probably) 12 cupcake cups (fill each 2/3 full).
  • Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes (less for cupcakes), or until golden brown and cake tester comes away clean.
Lemon Custard Filling

3/4 cup granulated cane sugar
5-6 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups water
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • In microwave-proof glass measure, combine conrstarch and sugar.
  • Gradually add water, stirring until smooth.
  • Microwave on high (100%) 3-5 minutes until mixture thickens, stirring often.
  • In a small separate bowl, beat eggs. Add small amount of hot cornstarch mixture into eggs, mixing, until bring temperature of eggs up.
  • Slowly pour eggs into remaining hot cornstarch mixture, beating rapidly to prevent lumping.
  • Cook custard on medium (50%) in microwave for 2-3 minutes until custard thickens slightly, and coats back of spoon. DO NOT BOIL or custard will curdle.
  • Add lemon juice and rind and butter, stirring until butter melts and rind is incorporated.
  • Let cool, but not set, if using for cake filling.
To use as cake filling, build a dam of icing about 1/4" in from edge of cake, then pour just enough custard within that dam so that it doesn't exceed the height of the dam.

We stuck the tooth pick into the top half and bottom half of the cake before separating the layers so that we could align it properly after the filling was added. Put the top layer of cake onto the filling, then frost the cake. We used the "blue" straight out of the bottle for the base icing; however, there is no true natural "blue" that you can eat, it was more lavender coloured, which was actually very pretty.

We formed roses using the red and yellow dyes, respectively, which made beautiful colours individually.

You can see that the "blue" is quite lavender, and as a result, the "green" isn't! Next time, we'll start with yellow and add just a hint of blue; this time, we were using the icing from the cake which was "blue" to start with.

The consistency of our icing was also far to thin for the roses; I think next time we'll stick with the Wilton "stiff" recipe for proportions, or use royal icing for the roses. The other problem is that the dyes are very liquid (unlike the artificial colouring that we used during the course), so you have to adjust the recipe to include the amount of dye you're going to use (or add more icing sugar). The butter in the icing also melted really fast in our hands in the piping bags, so it's worth chilling it in the bag first, then doing some icing, and maybe chilling in between once in a while.

As you can see, we didn't spend a lot of patience on trying to smooth the icing on our cake first. We did a little, but not a lot. It still tasted good! We used the "green" for the bottom border, and I placed some yellow and pink icing in one piping back without mixing to get the two-toned star border.

The cake was very rich and moist, and the use of a little whole wheat flour with the rice flour worked really well. The lemon custard could be more lemony, so I'd recommend a little more lemon juice and/or rind.

No comments: