peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 1:51am
post #1 of

Hi all cake professionals, i'm at my wits end here with lemon cake.

 

I have tried three different lemon cake (batter) recipes in all and no luck with any of them.

 

The first was from the famous 1 2 3 4 lemon cake: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/09/layered-lemon-love/

Love the flavour but the cake is too dense and dry.

 

The second was from here: http://sweetapolita.com/2013/03/lemon-meringue-delight-cake/

Very soft and fluffy cake but cake layers shrank into an odd shape. I baked a little cupcake with some batter and the texture is nice.

 

The third was from Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake: http://userealbutter.com/2008/03/30/perfect-party-cake-recipe/

I lessened the sugar 50 grams, baked it in three 8-inch pans. Cakes did not rise much (common problem I read), did not brown unless I let it bake on, past the skewer comes out clean stage. The cupcake I test baked also did not brown, but the texture is ok.

 

Can anybody give me any pointers here??

 

I add lemon juice to whole milk to make buttermilk in all the recipes.

 

Thank you in advanced!

29 replies
cakefat Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:02am
post #2 of

I haven't tried any of those recipes but I love Toba Garret's lemon (coconut) cake..it's gorgeous. You can omit the coconut.

 

Can you try using actual buttermilk and see if that makes any difference, rather than making your own?

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:24am
post #3 of

Hi Cakefat, thank you, I am going to check out the recipe you recommended!

 

I did not use actual buttermilk partly because the recipes also say to use lemon juice + milk for the buttermilk.

FrecklesCakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:59am
post #4 of

I haven't tried this one however it is very popular with Australian decorators...

http://aww.ninemsn.com.au/food/1079147/lemon-sour-cream-cake

 

Good Luck x

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:12am
post #5 of

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/taste/recipes/120789079.html?refer=y

That one is a Rose Beranbaum recipe, I love it, the white chocolate really makes it.

Pearl123 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:56am
post #6 of

I do a lemon chiffon cake, which is always receiving rave reviews. Its probably one of my most requested flavours. Its light and delicious. You can adjust the amount of lemon flavour you want, I pair it with a lemoncurd buttercream filling and its amazing!

AnnieCahill Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 12:39pm
post #7 of

Just take your regular white or yellow recipe, and to it add a couple teaspoons of lemon zest, and three tablespoons of lemon extract.

 

I had a recipe which called for lemon oil and it was absolutely fantastic.  It was a DeDe Wilson recipe I think.

Crazy-Gray Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 2:35pm
post #8 of

I add the zest and a little of the juice to a yellow or pound cake then warm the rest of the juice with a little sugar and spoon it over the cake once it's out the oven :-) mmmmmmmmm

vgcea Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:00pm
post #9 of

I was going to say the same. My lemon cake is basically my yellow cake with lots of lemon zest and some lemon extract. If you have a white or yellow cake that works for you, you can try substituting the amount of vanilla called for with lemon extract and add the zest of 1-2 lemons depending on how 'lemony' you want it.

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:22pm

AHi frecklescakes! Thank you for sharing that recipe! I am looking for something that is softer because it will be made into a layer cake. That cake does look wonderful as a tea cake though!

Lea17 Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:30pm

My last cake was Lemon, Lime & Coconut and it was lovely!!   I just added the zest of a lemon and lime to the mix as well as the juice of both and also added 1tbsp of coconut!   For the filling I done vanilla buttercream with lemon curd stirred in a little so it was marbled!     went down a treat for my mum's birthday :)
 

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:31pm

AScrumdiddlycakes, I have so much leftover egg yolks after making loads of swiss meringue that this cake seems so viable to try out. I have never thought of paring white chocolate with lemon!

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:34pm

AHi Pearline, any chance are sharing the recipe? I totally understand if you prefer not to :)

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:38pm

AAnnie, crazy gray & vgcea, I was hoping to get a real lemony cake. I am planning to fill the layers with homemade lemon curd and frost with meringue and go wild with the blowtorch.

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:39pm

ALea that sounds awesome. I'm going to check out your Facebook page!

peilinl Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:49pm

Ahttp://cdn.cakecentral.com/2/21/900x900px-LL-21f2ada7_IMG-20130409-WA0003.jpeg

Here is a photo of the wonky cake layers that shrank from the first recipe. I have no idea what caused it to turn out this way. Anyone?

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 3:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by peilinl 

Scrumdiddlycakes, I have so much leftover egg yolks after making loads of swiss meringue that this cake seems so viable to try out. I have never thought of paring white chocolate with lemon!


Oooh, you should make a french butter cream with them, it goes really well with lemon cake too :)

AnnieCahill Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 4:15pm

If you use a combination of zest AND extract or oil, you will most definitely get a very lemony cake, especially if you fill it with lemon curd.  That's what I always do and people flip out over it.

dukeswalker Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 9:14pm

I use Sylvia Weinstock's Yellow Cake http://archives.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/02/09/sylvia.weinstock/yellow.cake.html and add in lemon juice & lots of lemon zest.

BakingIrene Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 10:05pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by peilinl 

http://cdn.cakecentral.com/2/21/900x900px-LL-21f2ada7_IMG-20130409-WA0003.jpeg

Here is a photo of the wonky cake layers that shrank from the first recipe. I have no idea what caused it to turn out this way. Anyone?

The cake alternately stuck to the side of the pan and then shrank.

 

I would say that there is too much lemon juice relative to the baking soda (baking powder alweays contains some baking soda).

 

You would be better off using lemon extract (which is based on lemon oil) and some grated lemon zest to form the basis of your "lemon" flavour.  The cake cannot taste sour like lemonade because that would mean that it can't rise properly.  You can sprinkle a very sour mix of lemon juice and syrup (or limoncello) onto the baked layers to boost the lemony taste.

 

If you look at lemon chiffon cake recipes, they call for some lemon juice as part of the water. They have oil and more egg relative to creamed cakes.  You DO NOT grease the sides of the pan for chiffon cake. 

auzzi Posted 9 Apr 2013 , 11:58pm
Just suggestions and ideas ..
 
smittenkitchen - dense/dry - gluten developed/overbeaten
* with butter cake, once the fat a has been creamed with the sugar and the egss added, the flour/liquid should be added by hand. If you beat them in using a machine, you run the risk of gluten developing. This causes a dense crumb with a dry mouthfeel.
 
sweetpolita - collapsed - over aerated/overbeaten
* beat the egg whites until just to stiff peak - watch carefully and stop immediately.. Beating egg white unravels the protein so that it forms a structure that can trap air. If the egg white is over beaten, the structure locks firmly into position, and when it cools, the structure collapses.
 
dorie - didn't rise - under creamed 
* beating fat with sugar requires 5-8 minutes not 3 minutes. The egg is added with the liquid, so it's not going to contribute much to the aeration of the batter. 
It appears that the the reason that you are machine mixing the flour into the batter is so that the gluten from the cake flour  provides the structure for the aeration .. 
I would be tempted to beat the egg white to peak. Cream the fat with the sugar - fold in the flour and the liquid. . then fold the egg white back into the batter. 
peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:40am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 


Oooh, you should make a french butter cream with them, it goes really well with lemon cake too :)


One of these days I am going to try the French buttercream. Have only made Swiss Meringue Buttercream so far.

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:41am
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 

If you use a combination of zest AND extract or oil, you will most definitely get a very lemony cake, especially if you fill it with lemon curd.  That's what I always do and people flip out over it.


I need to get my hands on some good lemon oil / extract. Going to check them out! Thanks!

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:43am
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeswalker 

I use Sylvia Weinstock's Yellow Cake http://archives.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/02/09/sylvia.weinstock/yellow.cake.html and add in lemon juice & lots of lemon zest.


I love cakes that uses sour cream. How much juice and zest do you normally add to it?

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:53am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

The cake alternately stuck to the side of the pan and then shrank.

 

I would say that there is too much lemon juice relative to the baking soda (baking powder alweays contains some baking soda).

 

You would be better off using lemon extract (which is based on lemon oil) and some grated lemon zest to form the basis of your "lemon" flavour.  The cake cannot taste sour like lemonade because that would mean that it can't rise properly.  You can sprinkle a very sour mix of lemon juice and syrup (or limoncello) onto the baked layers to boost the lemony taste.

 

If you look at lemon chiffon cake recipes, they call for some lemon juice as part of the water. They have oil and more egg relative to creamed cakes.  You DO NOT grease the sides of the pan for chiffon cake. 


what bums me is that the recipe works for others. so it must be a problem with my (lack of) skill? But thanks for the insights! I'm going to try other recipes :)

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 1:57am
Quote:
Originally Posted by auzzi 

Just suggestions and ideas ..
 
smittenkitchen - dense/dry - gluten developed/overbeaten
* with butter cake, once the fat a has been creamed with the sugar and the egss added, the flour/liquid should be added by hand. If you beat them in using a machine, you run the risk of gluten developing. This causes a dense crumb with a dry mouthfeel.
 
sweetpolita - collapsed - over aerated/overbeaten
* beat the egg whites until just to stiff peak - watch carefully and stop immediately.. Beating egg white unravels the protein so that it forms a structure that can trap air. If the egg white is over beaten, the structure locks firmly into position, and when it cools, the structure collapses.
 
dorie - didn't rise - under creamed 
* beating fat with sugar requires 5-8 minutes not 3 minutes. The egg is added with the liquid, so it's not going to contribute much to the aeration of the batter. 
It appears that the the reason that you are machine mixing the flour into the batter is so that the gluten from the cake flour  provides the structure for the aeration .. 
I would be tempted to beat the egg white to peak. Cream the fat with the sugar - fold in the flour and the liquid. . then fold the egg white back into the batter. 


Thank you! You are a wealth of information! I actually do like the smittenkitchen recipe. it yields a good height for the cake, good flavour. Perhaps when I have time, I will try hand mixing in the flour and liquid.

 

Chances are I might have over beaten the egg white for the sweetapolita recipe.

 

As for Dorie's recipe, I did cream it for 6 to 8 minutes than the 3 minutes it suggested :(

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 2:13am
Quote:
Originally Posted by peilinl 


One of these days I am going to try the French buttercream. Have only made Swiss Meringue Buttercream so far.


It is so good! Way better than Swiss and Italian, just doesn't pipe as well, it's softer, so you can't use it for everything.

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 2:15am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 


It is so good! Way better than Swiss and Italian, just doesn't pipe as well, it's softer, so you can't use it for everything.


I love to pipe though! It is beautiful and hides the bad frosting skills i have haha 

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 2:40am
Quote:
Originally Posted by peilinl 


I love to pipe though! It is beautiful and hides the bad frosting skills i have haha 


I use it on cupcakes a lot, but it's too soft for detailed stuff or roses.

peilinl Posted 10 Apr 2013 , 6:32am
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes 


I use it on cupcakes a lot, but it's too soft for detailed stuff or roses.


Are those cupcakes photos on your website made with Italian buttercream?

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