She may not look like me at all, but at least we have one thing in common: my sister loves citrus flavors, too.
When she was little, I’d take her everywhere with me – we were like peas and carrots. :)
Sometimes we’d go out for dessert and among all the decadent chocolate cakes and sweets her choice was only one: passion fruit mousse tart. I used to think that happened because back then she wanted to do everything I did – same clothes, same food... But now she has become a very independent adolescent and her love for citrus and acidic sweets is still there: I told her to choose a cake flavor for her birthday and she asked for some ideas. “How about chocolate + strawberries? Or lemon + strawberries?” I said. And the answer made her big sister very, very proud. :)
I adapted three different recipes from the same book: one for the cake itself, another for the filing and a third for the frosting. The result was a very tender cake – so soft it was almost impossible to slice – with the delicious lemon touch. The recipe I’m posting is for three 9-inch cake pans; I used 10-inch pans and for that I needed to do some crazy Math: I made ¾ of the cake recipe for 2 pans, then half of that recipe for the third pan. For the lemon mousse and the buttercream, I made the recipe below + ¼ (there was ½ cup frosting left).
I think I’m not the only one, but at the age of 15 I felt quite lost and alone. That’s when Jessica arrived in our lives – she brought so much love and understanding to a home that was almost falling apart. She was a gift for all of us and I’ve always tried my best to be a very good sister – so now that she is 15 she doesn’t feel lost like I used to.
Triple lemon chiffon cake with strawberries
from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
8 eggs, separated
¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup (80ml) water
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ½ cups (300g) sugar
1 ¾ cups (245g) cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Lemon white chocolate mousse:
100g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup (180ml) heavy cream
1 egg white
1 tablespoon sugar
zest of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-1 ¼ cups sliced strawberries
3 egg whites
¾ cup (150g) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
9oz/252g unsalted butter, room temperature
candied lemon peel and/or fresh strawberries
Start with the cake: preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with round of parchment or waxed paper but do not grease the pans.
In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, zest and water.
In a large mixer bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually add ½ cup (100g) of the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Sift the flour, remaining 1 cup (200g) sugar, baking soda and salt into a very large bowl. Whisk gently to combine. Make a well in the center, pour the egg yolk mixture, and stir to make a smooth paste. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remaining whites. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
Bake for about 16 minutes or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and let the cakes cool completely in their pans. To unmold, run a blunt knife around the edges to release – I did not need to do this, since the cakes pulled out from the edges as soon as they began to cool. Invert to unmold; carefully peel off the paper liners.
Make the filling: melt the white chocolate with ¼ cup of the heavy cream in a double boiler or in a small metal bowl set over a pan of very hot water. Whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and mix well. Let cool to room temperature.
When it has cooled, beat the remaining ¾ cup heavy cream with the lemon zest until firm peaks form. In a clean bowl, whip the egg white with the sugar until you get a firm meringue.
Fold the beaten egg white into the white chocolate cream, then fold in the whipped cream until just blended – err on the side of undermixing. Refrigerate until needed.
Now, the buttercream: place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and set the mixer up with the whip attachment.
In a nonreactive saucepan, heat the sugar and lemon juice, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, 115ºC/238ºF on a candy thermometer.
Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add the syrup to the egg whites, taking care not to pour it onto the beaters. Beat on medium speed until the meringue cools to body temperature.
With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the butter several tablespoons at a time. Beat until a smooth buttery frosting forms.
Assembling the cake: place one layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Top half the filling and place half the amount of strawberry slices over the mousse. Place another cake layer, spread the remaining filling over it and top with the strawberries. Top with the third cake layer. Frost the top and sides with the buttercream. Decorate with candied lemon peel and/or fresh strawberries.