Lemons remind me of spring and clear skies – feelings of ease and contentedness. I never really appreciated lemons for what they were, besides its’ cheery disposition of colour, I never understood its’ taste. Often overwhelmed with sourness and a little bitterness, I could not understand its’ appeal. I later learned that it wasn’t the lemon itself that was to be esteemed, but what different flavours the lemon was able to enhance – without the lemon, the taste would not be the same.
Life brings us the good, the bad and the mundane. I think it’s the lemons in our lives that give us flavour and determines whether or not that moment in time is deserving as a memory to be relived upon in years passing or as a memory for us to build upon and grow from. Lemons alter our flavours – our paths, our personalities. These lemons in the end, determine what we taste like, just the perfect amount and we are neither too bitter or too sour – too much and we are exactly that.
With Valentines coming up, I wanted homemade sweets that actually came from a labour of love. There’s nothing fancy about my recipe (I am a complete novice at baking), but as you can guess, the feature ingredient/flavour is LEMON. Everything was made from scratch, from the whipped cream to the shortcake and lemon curd. My darling man (for reference, nicknames I have given him are: darling, boo, hubby, husband…) ate two big pieces after dinner. I was beyond pleased when he made the suggestion of how I should bake cakes and sell them as a living. Completely ludicrous to me, but I’ll take the compliment, also he did later regret eating the two pieces – we were supposed to share, but I only managed a few bites.
Here is the recipe for Lemon Curd Shortcake:
Ingredients for the Shortcake:
- 3 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Grease and line pans of your choosing with parchment paper ( I used three 8″ round pans)
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a second, larger bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until completely mixed and forms a light colour. Slowly add the eggs and beat in the mixture.
- To the wet mixture, slowly beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two, but beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in the vanilla extract and the lemon zest.
- Pour batter evenly into the pans and bake for 25-35 minutes or until cakes are golden and spring back lightly when touched.
- Take pans out to cool. Once cool to the touch, turn cakes out, removing parchment paper to further cool.
- While cake is baking, make the whipped cream.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the lemon curd, or make this ahead of time, as the curd has to cool off in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
- After the cake, whipped cream and lemon curd has cooled, trim cake layers to even out surfaces, place lemon curd in between layers and whipped cream on the tops/outer surface.
- I would let the cake cool down once pieced together in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so and then voila – it is ready to eat!
Ingredients for the whipped cream:
- 2 cups of heavy or whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- Combine ingredients for whipped cream into a metal bowl and whip/beat until ingredients are well combined and soft peaks form.
- Place in refrigerator to cool.
Ingredients for the lemon curd:
- 3/4 cup of lemon juice (freshly squeezed is better!)
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 large eggs + 4 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons of butter (sliced into pieces if using a stick)
- In a saucepan, heat together the lemon juice, sugar and salt over medium heat until everything comes together.
- Whisk together the egg components and slowly add in half of the contents to the saucepan, making sure to be always whisking at the same time.
- Add in the remainder of the eggs, remembering to always be whisking to make sure the eggs don’t curdle (become cooked).
- Continue cooking and whisking the mixture until it has thickened and when you drag the whisk on the top of the mixture, it leaves marks.
- Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer, *I skipped this step, as I wasn’t too picky and did’t see too many clumps of egg pieces in the curd.
- Stir in the butter.
- Cover the lemon curd with plastic wrap, with the wrap touching the surface of the curd, as a film will develop over top of the curd.
- Place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, for it to cool down and thicken.
My darling is my lemon in life and maybe just a lemon on his own (don’t tell him I said that), but I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you been up to any treat-making for Valentines?
Until next time,
Madame [Karen | Yen]