So now that the cake is baked and cooled, the next step is to inject it with some amazing premade lemon curd. There are recipes for homemade curd, and I urge you to try them, because at the end of the day, homemade is always best. The only issue that I’ve found with homemade lemon curd is that the recipes typically make a large volume, and then you need friends who are appreciative of lemon curd to gift it to. So for today, we will go with store bought curd to avoid this predicament.
I said in an earlier blog that in order to inject the lemon cake with curd, you needed a long nosed piping tube. Most craft stores in my area carry Wilton products, and Wilton calls this tip a”filling tip”. Here is a picture of it so you’ll know what you are looking for.
You’ll see that there is also a piping bag beside the filling tip. Again, I use Wilton reusable piping bags, largely because that’s what is available in the stores where I live, and Wilton piping bags are also household baker sized, meaning that they come in various sizes to support the batch sizes that most home bakers would be producing. My son (the apprentice chef) does not like to bake so he gifted me with the institutional sized piping bags that he had in culinary school. The next time I have 50 or so people over to dinner, I’ll be able to pipe a lovely potato topping on my very large Shepherd’s Pie that I make them.
The next step is to put the tip on the piping bag and fill the bag with lemon curd. The best way to do this is to put the tip on the bag and then put the bag and tip over an open glass to hold the bag portion open while you fill it up with curd. Some folks use a coupler to hold the bag in place, this is especially helpful if changing the tips out a lot as you do when decorating, but since we are just using curd today, I forewent the coupler.
Here is a picture of the piping bag ready to go. The more experienced bakers following the blog will tell me that this piping bag is not secure enough around tip, and that it’s going to explode. You can see that there’s a bit of curd seeping between the piping bag and the tip. It didn’t explode, but it likely would have had I been working on a bigger cake.
Twist off the top of the piping bag, insert the tip into the cake and squeeze gently until a little dab of curd shows up on the cake. Repeat around the layer for as much as you would like. More insertions of curd means more lemony goodness! Repeat for both layers. If there are small mounds of curd on top of your layers, just take a flat knife and smooth it over the top of the layer. We are going to eventually frost the cake so we don’t want too much visible curd. Next take a small bowl, add the juice from half of a freshly squeezed lemon, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Take a fork, put several fork holes on the top of each layer and carefully drizzle the sugar/lemon juice over the layers over the holes to let it drain into the cake. Try to coat the layers with the rest of the mixture. This helps keep any of the crumbs in place for the final icing, and gives another lemony area to hit your taste buds when we finally get to eat this gem.
Depending on how uniform you want your cake to look, you might have wanted to torte the cake. Torting the cake is simply levelling it off by cutting off the peak that occurred during baking. There are tools that you can buy that make sure you cut evenly. For this cake we are going for the natural look. In addition, there wasn’t a lot of leavening in this recipe (baking soda only, not baking powder) so it is a flatter, denser cake than some recipes. So, we aren’t going to torte it. If we had, then we would have done that before adding the glaze and injecting it with curd.
So what is a naked cake you ask? I’m not sure when and how it all started but the naked cake fad has been making its way onto cake decorating blogs for some time now, and the results are beautiful. The technique looks simple, but it really isn’t as easy as it looks. A naked cake has just a little bit of cake showing through the frosting, and it’s almost like applying just pretty crumb coat of frosting, and then deciding that this is enough. I wanted to try it for this particular cake because the lemon flavour of the cake needs to be front and centre, not the sight and flavour of the frosting. The finished cake is below.
Lemon Butter icing recipe
1 cup butter (room temperature, margarine can be substituted)
1/4 cup lemon juice
rind of one lemon
4 cups icing sugar
Beat butter until light, add icing sugar alternately with lemon juice, add lemon zest. Beat until smooth. Apply to cake on top and side. Let the crumbs shine through! Try to keep your 6 month old Labrador out of the cake until you can take its picture (her teeth marks are on the other side). Enjoy!