Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lemon Bavarian Cream Cake

This is a lovely dessert with potential that's yet to be realized. I was drawn to the cake by this photo, and it led me to the recipe for a Lemon Curd Mousse Cake that you can find
here. The cake first appeared in Bon Appetit magazine, and if you read the reviews that accompany the recipe, you'll find that while most people like the cake, they had some reservations about the way it was constructed. I, too, like the cake, and plan to make it for our dessert on Easter Sunday, but only if I can do more testing and correct the problems I've encountered with it this week. I want to start my critique with an observation. This cake is far more like a Bavarian cream than a mousse. The filling lacks the velvety smoothness that's associated with mousse, and while its frothy lightness is quite pleasant, the cake is poorly named. The original recipe includes instructions for making lemon curd. If you purchase commercial curd or already have a recipe that makes one that you trust and enjoy, there is no reason to use the developer's recipe. It makes a nice, not exceptional filling. Whatever its source, you'll need at least 3-1/2 cups of lemon curd to make the cake filling. You'll also want to take a look at pan size and the type of crumbs you use to make the bottom crust. I suggest you use a 9 or 10-inch springform pan. The 8-inch pan that is recommended is way too small to handle all the filling the recipe will produce. Unless you are particularly fond of shortbread, use graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs to make the crust. There is nothing exceptional about the shortbread crust and the cookies are an unnecessary expense. You might also want to use pasteurized egg whites for the filling. While the yolks are cooked long enough to kill bacteria, the whites are not. If you cook for the very young or very old or any member of your family has a compromised immune system, pasteurized eggs are worth every cent they cost. The cake sounds more involved than it actually is. There are several steps needed to make it, but none of them are difficult. Time may be a problem. If you make your own curd, you'll need two days to make the cake table ready. Most of that time is passive chilling and final assembly is relatively easy to do. It is very important to serve this at room temperature. The texture of the cold cake is almost rubbery, but if it can sit for 30 to 45 minutes before serving, you'll have a confection that is light and frothy and melt-in-your-mouth good. Here's the recipe.

Lemon Bavarian Cream Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine



2-1/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (about 7 1/2 ounces)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted


5 tablespoons water

4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

6 large egg whites (pasteurized if possible)

3/4 cup sugar

1 -1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream


Lemon slices, cut into quarters


1) To make the curd: Mix sugar and cornstarch in heavy large saucepan. Gradually add lemon juice, whisking until all cornstarch dissolves. Whisk in eggs and yolks. Add butter. Stir over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Chill until cold, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface of curd and keep chilled.)

2) To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom of 8-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick spray. Blend cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom of pan. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool.

3) To make mousse: Pour 5 tablespoons water into small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over water. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1-3/4 cups lemon curd in large bowl. Stir 3/4 cup curd in another small saucepan over medium-low heat until very warm. Stir gelatin mixture over medium-low heat until dissolved and liquid is clear (do not boil). Whisk warm gelatin mixture into 3/4 cup warm curd. Gradually whisk gelatin-curd mixture into curd in large bowl. Remove 3/4 cup of curd and set aside for final assembly. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until whites are thick and glossy. Fold whites into curd mixture in 3 additions. Using same beaters, beat cream in another medium bowl until peaks form. Fold into egg white-curd mixture in 3 additions. Pour enough mousse over cooled crust to fill pan completely. Pour remaining mousse into small bowl and reserve. Cover and chill mousse cake, reserved mousse, and remaining curd overnight.

4) To serve: Using long thin knife, cut around cake to loosen. Remove pan sides. Gently spread 3/4 cup of remaining curd over cake. Transfer reserved mousse to pastry bag fitted with small star tip. Pipe rosettes of mousse around top edge of cake. Chill cake until ready to serve. (Can be made up to 8 hours ahead.) Arrange lemon slices between rosettes. Cut cake into wedges. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Lemon and Poppyseed Cake with Yogurt Glaze - Kitchen Wench

Lightened Up Lemon Bars - Half Baked

Meyer Lemon Tart Topped with Lightened Lemon Cream - Food Lover's Odyssey

Lemon Cakes - Pastry Studio

Lemon Tart Brulee - Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy

Lemon Gingersnap Icebox Cake - Bittersweet

Lemon Strawberry Ice Box Cake - Two Kitchens

This post is being linked to:

Smiling Sally - Blue Monday

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