Mini Lemon Cakes | Showstopper Bake by Cameron
The day has finally arrived! I get to share my friend Cameron with the blogging world! I've known Cameron for almost a decade through my college friends, but we've probably only spent a handful of times together in person. We've bonded over weird Facebook posts and memes, and more recently, over our shared love of The Great British Bake Off. Just looking through Cameron's Instagram will show you that she challenges herself to master not only taste, but technique and creativity. She is a true Star Baker and I'm so happy to have her here today. Also, keep an eye out - I think Cameron may be catching the blogging bug and she's going to hopefully have a blog up in the future for you to follow! :) Okay, and read everything below because I swear Cameron is like a super interesting person. AND she got noticed by one of the bakers on the show on Instagram and I'm SO jealous!
I was always the kid in school who had cucumber sandwiches for lunch instead of peanut butter and jelly. I had fairy cakes at my birthday parties instead of store bought ice cream cake. I left shortbread for Santa instead of iced sugar cookies. None of these statements are complaints by any means, I was always lucky to be in a household that embraced food from all over the world. My mom is Canadian, by way of California, and the daughter of a Scottish Australian mother and a Canadian father. These influences have always left me with a strong attachment to my British heritage and its culture. This obsession with all things British has been a strong undertone in all my cooking. I began taking baking seriously about five years ago. It started off with mastering the family shortbread and then moved along to pavlovas and then down the rabbit hole of pastry and a stack of cookbooks and baking textbooks as tall as I am.
I first discovered The Great British Bake Off in a deep dive of English TV shows. I grew up watching Keeping Up Appearances, Monty Python, Absolutely Fabulous, and Fawlty Towers. As I got older I started finding all sorts of new shows I loved, both scripted and reality, on BBC and Channel 4. I found an extension to run on my laptop that allowed me to access to the BBC iPlayer, that was it.... I was obsessed with Bake Off. I thought about it all day, I couldn't wait until the next Wednesday when a new episode would air. Besides the interesting recipes and challenges, what I loved most was how genuinely kind the contestants were to one another all while remaining fiercely competitive. I have my own opinion on the Diana vs. Ian bin-gate drama. Many of my bakes are inspired by the contestants. I once recreated Chetna’s white chocolate and pistachio cake. She liked it and commented on it on Instagram.....you better believe I screenshot it!
When Joy approached me about contributing showstoppers for her blog I was instantly on board. I loved her idea of including her mom's feedback as well and challenging herself to creatively bake outside her comfort zone. I wracked my brain deciding what to feature for this first showstopper bake. I bounced back and forth between mini British bakes and bread. In the end it became clear….an homage to my British heritage... a classic lemon drizzle cake with my own twist... homemade lemon curd (a family favorite) and a honey goat cheese mascarpone filling.
"My friends poke fun at me for being pretentious... “honey goat cheese mascarpone filling”....I can see the eye rolls! I promise it's totally worth it."
Now let the baking begin! For this recipe start by making the lemon curd. Give the filling enough time to cool and set before filling the cakes. Once it comes together put it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the cakes. There are several different methods for making lemon curd. I prefer using a bain-marie, placing a sauce pan on the stove top with water on low heat. I then float a bowl in the water filled pan and begin adding the ingredients. Sugar, eggs, zest, and lemon juice are added to the floating bowl and whisked until the mixture begins to thicken. Ideally, the objective is to reach a temperature of 165F without boiling the mixture. Once it has reached the desired temperature, begin adding the butter in small amounts at a time. If you are not getting the thickness you need, you can add more butter. Once it has come together you can sieve the curd to get eliminate the zest, however I like to leave it in.
Now the “pretentious” as well as rich and delicious goat cheese mascarpone filling. Best to prepare this before the cake batter so that the rich flavors have more time to fully set. Begin with heavy whipping cream in a tall narrow glass bowl and a hand mixer. I've always found that the cream whips better if it has less space to escape the beaters. Once I get a nice amount of volume I add in the sugar and continue beating until the cream is smooth and the sugar granules are no longer detected. Once the cream looks set I add the mascarpone by gently folding it in to keep as much air in the cream as possible. Finally add the honey goat cheese. I recommend allowing the goat cheese to reach room temperature. Once it's all combined allow it to set in the fridge.
Now we get down to the star of the show. This cake utilizes the creaming method. This means that you start by creaming your butter and sugar together first, doing this produces a fine crumb with a dense and rich texture perfect for slicing. By fitting your mixer with a paddle attachment and continually scraping down the sides will produce an evenly creamed mix. You are looking for a smooth texture, and then begin slowly adding your eggs. Allow your eggs to come up to almost room temperature. You will notice that if the batter or eggs are too cold the mix will begin to look like it’s curdled. Don't panic... just keep mixing until the batter becomes smooth again and add another egg. Once that is done fold in your dry ingredients as well as the zest. I used an ice cream scoop to measure out my batter into the square molds, but traditions round cupcake tins or other shaped tins work as well.
Once the cakes are done in the oven, you are looking for the cake to spring back when you touch it and the sides of the cake have come away from the tin. Let them cool a bit in the tin and then place them on a cooling rack. Once they are cool, slice the cakes in half and using a wooden skewer poke holes on the inside of both sides. This will allow the syrup to be absorbed into the cakes. Make sure the cake is cool before doing this step. Once the syrup has set you can start to assemble. Using a piping bag, pipe five dollops to lemon curd on the bottom half. Then follow up with four dollops of the goat cheese mascarpone mix.
Typically, a lemon drizzle cake has a sugary crispy top, however mine did not achieve the desired level of crispiness. Shifting into problem solving mode, I diverted from the traditional and created a mixture of leftover lemon syrup and lemon curd and brushed in on the top and finished it with Swedish pearl sugar for a sweet, delicious, and eye pleasing finishing touch.
Overall these little cakes are begging to be center stage of any tea party. In my opinion they are the perfect marriage of sweet with a juxtaposition of savory tartness from the goat cheese and lemon. The end result is balanced perfection. These little bakes make me yearn for a cup of tea, some sunshine in an English garden, and good friends to share with!
Mini Lemon Cakes
- 285g sugar
- 4 range-free eggs
- 2 large lemons, zest and juice
- 140g of butter
Honey Goat Cheese and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- 237mL heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 4 oz honey goat cheese
- 175g butter (room temperature)
- 175g sugar
- 3 range-free eggs
- 175g all purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 lemon zested
- 100g sugar
- 1 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Make lemon curd by whisking together sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and zest in a bowl over boiling water. Allow the mixture to thicken, ideally reaching 165F; do not allow it to boil. Then add butter in small pieces until the mixture is thick enough.
Honey Goat Cheese and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- Whip cream in a bowl until cream begins to form.
- Add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, and beat until sugar is fully incorporated and you are unable to feel granules of sugar in the cream.
- Add the mascarpone cheese by folding it into the cream, being sure not to over mix and loose the air in the cream. Once incorporated add the room temperature goat cheese in the same manner.
- Set your oven for 350F, use convection mode if available on your oven.
- Using a paddle attachment combine room temperature butter and sugar. Blend together until the sugar is incorporated completely and the mixture is pale in color and fluffy in texture. Again, you should not feel any granules of sugar left.
- Gradually add room temperature eggs.
- Once the eggs are incorporated, sift in the dry ingredients of flour, salt, and baking powder. Then fold in lemon zest.
- Coat baking tin with butter or cooking spray and fill according to how you would like to enjoy your cakes. In this case I used an ice cream scoop per square muffin cup.
- Bake for 15-20 mins, remember your looking for the cake to begin coming away from the sides of the tin and a spring back texture.
- Combine sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and a syrup forms.
Don't forget to follow Cameron on Instagram for more mouth-watering bake photos!