Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Naked Lemon Cakes

Naked Lemon Cakes

Wow, where does the time go? I swear spring just started and then I blinked and now we're just a little over a week away from Memorial Day weekend. Somebody please slow the world down because I can't catch up! Still, the arrival of the first official / unofficial weekend of summer always makes me happy because it means grilling, BBQ and outdoor party season has arrived.

Naked Lemon Cakes
OK, what are we serving? Let's start with dessert because life is short and uncertain and we don't want to miss out on cake. And I know I don't normally associate cake with outdoor parties. I'm usually more the pie and ice cream type. But I thought it might be fun to have a little cake DIY style.

Since I'm not a huge fan of gobs of sweet frosting, I like the idea of naked cakes. There's some frosting in the middle and a bit that spreads out over the sides but still way less than a typical frosted cake.

I baked a couple of simple sponge cake layers and decided to cut out rounds. This way I could serve the rounds on a big tray along with my homemade buttercream, fruit and knives for everyone to assemble however many layers they wanted with however much frosting they liked. Fun, right? But the key to getting great flavor from simple dishes is that all the ingredients need to be the best. Sweet, creamy butter, high quality flavorings and the all important vanilla. I'm addicted to the Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste with its flecks of vanilla and great aroma. See the flecks in the photos? That's what you want to see for amazing flavor. So, go, make DIY cakes, have a BBQ and enjoy the start of summer. Because according to my calculations, it will be over before we blink!

Naked Lemon Cakes

Naked Lemon Cakes
by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ingredients (8 Servings)
    • 4 Eggs
    • 1 1/2 Cups sugar
    • 2 Sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 Teaspoon lemon extract
    • 2 Cups all purpose flour
    • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 Teaspoon salt
    Lemon Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
    • 1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon milk or cream
    • 1 Stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 Tablespoon Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste
    • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Nielsen Massey lemon extract
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    Naked Lemon Cakes
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two 8" round cake pans.

    Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until lightened in color. Beat in the butter, vanilla and lemon extract.

    In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet and pour the batter evenly into both prepared pans.

    Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the pans.

    Make the buttercream by beating together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, vanilla, salt, lemon extract and lemon zest until creamy and thoroughly combined

    When the cakes are cooled and out of the pans, level the tops with a serrated knife and either leave whole or use 3 1/2" cutters to cut out rounds. Place each layer on a serving plate and add about 2 teaspoons of buttercream to the center. Place a second layer of cake over top and the buttercream will drip slightly over the edges. Repeat with as many layers as you like. Using a pallet knife (even a butter knife will work), gently scrape the excess buttercream around the sides of the cake. This will give you a lightly coated or naked look. Top with fresh cherries or any fruit you like.

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    This recipe is sponsored by Nielsen Massey Vanilla. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

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