Monday, August 18, 2008

Triple lemon chiffon cake with strawberries for my little sister’s birthday

Triple lemon chiffon cake with strawberries for my little sister’s birthday

She may not look like me at all, but at least we have one thing in common: my sister loves citrus flavors, too.

Jessica, my brother and I

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 for my little sister’s birthday

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

Lemon buttercream:
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.

Serves 16-20

Triple lemon chiffon cake with strawberries for my little sister’s birthday


The Food Librarian said...

I love it! So beautiful and what a lovely gift to give your sis. Great job!

Anonymous said...

I love how neat of a relationship you and your sister have. What a special cake!

Anonymous said...

So nice to see a picture of you and your little sister :) Happy birthday to your sister!
The cake looks wonderful, love the white chocolate and lemon combination...yum!

Snooky doodle said...

this looks so light and delicious. hmmmmmmmmm

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Lovely post, and a wonderful birthday present for your sister!

pam said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. And the prettiest cake ever!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet post. Your sister is very lucky! Happy birthday to her.

I want that cake so bad...

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

There is no better way to express your love than doing it through food! This cake is the perfect gift Patricia!

LyB said...

I loved this post Patricia! Your family pictures are so sweet and I'm certain you are the best big sis' ever! And that cake, it sounds fabulous! Now, when do we get to see pictures of you as a toddler? ;)

Manggy said...

Happy birthday to Jessica! I think the resemblance is there:
Patricia = cute
Jessica = cute
Patricia = Jessica.
It's simple Math! Har har har. I can't imagine connecting with someone 15 years old! They're so cute when they're kids, but even if you know what it's like to be 15, they seem so hard to read (nor do they like it). You're lucky to have such a close relationship with your sister! And you're so sweet for making such a beautiful cake! :)

jasmine said...

She is so very lucky to have you as a sister. Very lovely cake :)


Deeba PAB said...

What a wonderful relationship with a wonderful sister...& a beautiful cake. I love food memories that can link up to someone & something; makes it all so much more meaningful! Can't imagine how it would feel to connect to a poppet that young! The baby pics are adoreable...she must have been a joy to have around! The cake & the flavours are outstanding; more like a DB challenge if you ask me. I've bookmarked this for cooler days/a special occasion!

Emily said...

Happy birthday, sister! I loved that picture of you two. You're both so cute.

I loved this post, in general. I loved the pictures of her when she was little.

The cake sounds amazing. I can tell, just by looking at the ingredients. Lemon desserts are my favorite.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

love through food is the best way to say i love you! you both are the cutest ever! i also wish i was a part of your family - I'd get a piece of this lovely cake!

Suzana said...

Perfect cake to show how much you love your little sister! Happy birthday to Jessica, and congratulations on having the best big sis in the world! ;)

Katie said...

I bet she loves the pictures you chose to put up! What a nice gift to her and a beautiful cake.

Deborah said...

I don't think I've ever seen a picture of you! I'm going to have to check out all of your flickr photos!

What a gorgeous cake. I could belong in your family - I also love citrus! Happy birthday to your sister!

Anonymous said...

You make the best birthday cakes!!

The picture of you and your sister is adorable and I found myself brushing away tears when you wrote about Jessica being a gift. How lovely.

Happy Birthday, Jessica!

eatme_delicious said...

Not only is that cake gorgeous, but it sounds delicious! Lucky sister. I keep seeing people making yummy cakes from that cookbook - I'm adding it to my list!

Anonymous said...

The cake is beautiful, thanks for sharing! Happy Birthday Little Sis!

Anonymous said... tried the book too!! i bet it's so delicious. you have an adorable sister, happy birthday to her!

Anonymous said...

aww, what a great post. happy birthday to your sister. the cake sounds absolutely amazing!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cake! And such sweet photos- not just of the cake, either. :)

Cakebrain said...

I wish I had a sister growing up! Your chiffon cake looks so soft and delicious! it's my favourite type of cake! What a sweet post!

Peabody said...

Your sister is one lucky lady to have this cake made for her.

Anonymous said...

one more thing, i gave you an award if you want to take a peek in my blog!

lubnakarim06 said...

I too have a small cute sis. Refreshing memories. Cake looks awesome. My belated wishes to her. Flowers look beautiful as always.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Food Librarian, thank you so much!

Kristen, we love each other very much and I'm lucky to have her!

Linda, she was such a fun kid to have around!
I know you like white chocolate, too, sweetie, like I do!

Snooky Doodle, thank you!

Lydia, thank you, darling!

Pam, tks, dear!

Joy, I know that if you decide to make it something wonderful will come up from your kitchen. :)

Pete, I agree with you!
Tks, my friend!

LyB, you are so kind, my friend, thank you!
I'll see if I can find some photos of myself as a kid. :)

Mark, you are so adorable, my dear friend, thank you so much! :D
She's not that close to me now, but I think it's just a phase, because of her age and all. I hope things change, 'cause I miss her a lot!

Jasmine, I'm lucky to have her, too, dear. Thank you!

Passionate, I looked after her, took her to school... Things like that. And it was a lot of fun. :)
She was a very warm and kind kid, but also full of energy, she used to wear me out. :)

Emiline, you are so sweet, tks! I had to scan the photos - no digital camera back then - but they were OK, I guess. :)

Meeta, we would love to have you as one of us, darling!

Suzana, thank you, darling! :D

Katie, she helped me choose the photos and that was a lot of fun!

Deb, now you know me! :)
And we would be lucky to have you in our family, darling!

Julie, and you are far too kind, my friend! Thank you!
I really enjoy making birthday cakes. I was wondering that the next birthday is only in December, now. :S

Ashley, that cookbook is amazing, I truly recommend it!

Eliza, that has become one of my Top 5 favorite books! :)

Karen, thank you for visiting! I'm glad you like the cake!

Hannah, I'm glad to hear that, sweetie. :)

Cakebrain, thank you! I love how light this chiffon cake was.

Pea, and I am lucky to have her in my life, too. :)

Eliza, I'll be checking it out, darling, tks!

Kitchen Flavours, I'm glad you can relate to what I posted. Thank you very much for your kind words!

kellypea said...

I love reading about your memories, and know that your sister must love the relationship you two have. A beautiful cake for a beautiful girl...

Elle said...

What a great sister! The recipe sounds so lemon and strawberries together. So pretty, too.

Anonymous said...

That is such a beautiful cake and you took fantastic pictures of it. I sure would like to reach in and take a bite!

Shari said...

Your sister's very lucky! Looks like a delicious cake!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Ann said...

Happy Birthday to your Sis! What a lovely cake! I love chiffon and your cake looks so elegant. Looks like it was a bit of work too, so what a wonderful gift.

La Tartine Gourmande said...

Cute. A lucky sister !

Elle said...

What a sweet post, and a gorgeous cake for your sister!

Jaime said...

mmmm that looks divine. you should submit it to the "layers of cake" monthly event! i linked to it in my blog post here:

Half Baked said...

Your a great sis! My dad's b-day is coming up soon and he'd love this cake. Maybe I'll surprize him!

Helene said...

The cake is wonderful! Well done!! loved this post Patricia! Thank you :)

Eva said...

What a pretty cake and such lovely flowers! I'm sure your sis loved all of it!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Mmmm! I want that piece!

Anonymous said...

I am baking this recipe as I type!
My family is out of town returning this evening so I thought I would surprise them with a clean house and delicious cake.

Thanks for sharing the recipe!
I can't stop eating the left over white chocolate.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Hey, Batli!
thank YOU for stopping by! I hope everyone likes the cake!

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