A Lemony 60th Birthday Cake

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My second official order was from a very good friend (thanks to all my friends for their support in this endeavour, couldn’t do it without you!), Bec, a celebration cake for her mother’s 60th birthday. After a phone consultation we came up with a plan: a lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd buttercream and “happy 60th birthday” on top.

As there were several elements to the cake I started the prep a few days before the cake was due for delivery. The first thing to do was to make the lemon curd. I have made this a few times before using a Rachel Allen’s recipe from Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home. Although I have been successful every time I still worry about ending up with scrambled lemon eggs! No scrambled lemon eggs this time.

Next was the lettering. I need to practise freehand icing writing (memo to self, practise freehand icing writing) it is a skill that I need to develop but until then I elect to use fondant and my letter and number cutters. As the cake was a lemon cake and will have pale lemon icing I decided on a bright lemon for the writing. I made up some lemon fondant and cut out the required letters and number (a bit fiddly, I had to do the A’s at least three times each!) and left them to dry over the next couple of days.

The final flourish was some candied lemon peel to decorate the edges of the cake. I found this simple recipe online. Very easy and you end up with a lovely sweet lemon treat. I need to work up batches of lemon, orange and lime candied peel, useful for have around! Now that the embellishments were ready I was all set to make the cake.

I used a basic sponge recipe with the addition of lemon zest at the creaming stage and made a lemon syrup to spoon over the sponges as they came out of the oven. Earlier in the week I was looking up buttercream “designs”, ways to make the top of my cakes a bit more interesting, and came across a youtube video on how to ice a cake with buttercream. Of course I know how to do this already but what was interesting about this was the sponges. She baked two sponges, but rather than halving the batter she put two thirds in one and one third in the other. Then she halved the bigger sponge to give three layers! Handier than baking three separate sponges and so I thought I would give it a go. It all worked swimmingly until it came to slice the bigger one in half, I hadn’t factored in the syrup and the sogginess of the sponge because of it! There was a moment of held breath but it all worked out, with a bit of shoring up!

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Ta da! Very pleased with the finished cake and the use of my new Wilton icing combs although the videos make it look easier than it was but practise makes perfect. It was enjoyed at the birthday celebration too, read the review here.

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