Friday, June 7, 2013

triple lemon cakes for a kid's birthday : the kind of cakes that spread sunshine...

Yes, a triple lemon cake with lemon glaze and another triple lemon cake with quark and cream filling and frosting. And the cake frosting was decided by the kid herself. She had told me her choice of lemon 2 weeks in advance. That's how a cake like this is born. I have been in love with lemons too, another lemon cake with zucchini has been a perennial favorite, a lemon pound cake with butterscotch sauce has been missed for long. But this one just beats everything else lemony. Even the lemon tarts that I used to bake using gondhoraj lebu long back.Yes, that good.

And why triple lemon? I used the fragrant grapefruit leaves, Indian lime zest and juice (common Indian nimbu is a lime not a lemon) and zest and juice of calamondin limes. The lemon flavor gets a really nice and refreshing depth and it's just not a tart flavor that hits your palate with a zing. The depth of lemony flavors is accentuated by quark cheese and cream frosting on one of the cakes and a lemon glaze in the second. This cake will let you know limes don't make tart cakes, they make fragrant refreshing cakes with the tingling flavors and just a hint of tartness that lifts up the sweetness of a cake.

ingredients...for the cake...
(this recipe made 2 medium sized cakes)

maida (all purpose flour/white flour) 2 cups
cold pressed sunflower oil or olive oil 1 cup
(I prefer using pure oil for citrus flavors as I feel the citrus flavors blossom nicely with oil, use butter if you wish)
sugar 1 cup scantly filled (say 1 cup - 2 tbsp)
3 large eggs (or 4 small)
baking powder 1.5 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
grapefruit leaves 2
Indian lime juice 1 tbsp (or lemon juice 3 tbsp)
salt 1/2 tsp
freshly zested lime peel (from whole limes)1/3 tsp zest

ingredients for the lemon glaze
lime juice 2 tbsp
water seeped with finely chopped grapefruit leaves 3 tbsp (I microwaved the water and chopped leaves in MW)
powdered sugar 1 cup

ingredients for the quark and cream frosting

*quark cheese (homemade) 1 cup
amul fresh cream 200 ml
sugar 3 tbsp and lime juice 1 tbsp ( I used 3 tbsp of the lemon glaze)


Start with sieving the flour along with salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Start to preheat the oven at 180 C. Line the baking pans of suitable size with butter paper, no need to grease. I used 2 pans, one 7" and another 6" diameter. Keep the lines pans aside.

Finely chop the kefir lime of grapefruit leaves (or any lemon leaves you can get) and mix it with the flour. Make sure the leaves are completely dry before you roll them up and chop them in chiffonade.

Break the eggs in a deep mixing bowl, add the sugar, lime juice and zest, calamondin juice and zest and the oil and whisk till homogeneous.

Add the flour mix and fold gently till homogeneous. Pour into the pans and place both the pans into preheated  oven. On the middle rack these two cakes take 45 minutes to bake. But be careful after 40 minutes as the baking time and browning depends on your individual oven as well.

Do the skewer test and take out the cakes when done.

 Cool the cakes a bit and then invert the pans to take out the cakes. Peel off the parchment or butter paper and let the cakes cool of wire racks. If you don't have wire racks, use the atta chhanni (the sieve used for atta in every Indian home), or the perforated plate used to cover milk pan, for cooling the cakes.

One of the cakes was sliced horizontally using a large bread knife when cool. The kido wanted a sandwiched filling. She loved watching the cake being made and I loved seeing them so curious.

Let the cut halves of the cake cool completely before smearing the quark and cream frosting. I drizzled the lemon glaze mix in the cut side of these cake slices to make them taste richer.

See I used some confetti as well over the lemon frosting. The kids tasted it and declared it tastes like atta. Wow I say. Real ingredients always win. Confetti is not real. Quark and cream frosting was loved so much more than any bakery frosted cake.

Mean while make the lemon glaze and the quark and cream frosting.

For the *quark and cream frosting, just whip them both together till firm and homogeneous. Add powdered sugar and lime juice or just the lemon glaze as I did. Taste and decide how much sugar and lime you want. Keep it minimal.

For lemon glaze just mix the lime juice with sugar and mix till it looks like a thick slurry that can be poured on to the cake. I used some water seeped with grapefruit leaves too, do so if you are using the leaves.

I used the large grapefruit leaves in the base for one of the cakes. Just a crafty idea that made the kids delightful, tiny young lime leaves were used on the quark and cream frosted cake as well.

Nothing complicated, just the frosting sandwiched between the two layers, then the cake covered all over with the same and a fork run around to make a ziggly pattern. Slapped on some more frosting as the kids were feeling happy by doing so. The leftover cream was licked right away. And then the cake was cut without delay. I hurried to take a picture..

See the luscious cake inside...

The cake with lemon glaze was cut at her home. I was reported the cake didn't last even 10 minutes between 4 adults and 2 kids. Such things make us contented like nothing else.

*To make the quark cheese you just have to mix 100 ml of amul fresh cream to half a liter of full cream milk (6%), warm it and add 1/4 cup buttermilk or homemade dahi to it, mix well and leave it overnight. It gets set the next day, you would see it splits and releases some water, just pour all the contents into a cheesecloth lined sieve (placed on a bowl to drain the whey) and refrigerate the whole apparatus. The quark with will ready within 5-6 hours. Thick and creamy. I have been making fresh cheeses since long just as experimentation but Deeba uses then spectacularly, see how she makes them..

These cakes are made from scratch at home, with no special equipment for frosting or piping. Although that is not rocket science either but simplicity can be beautiful and you can always whip up something with homely ingredients. Real ingredients I would say, the way we have been using traditionally.


  1. Wow ! Such a wonderful cake ! Happy birthday to her...

  2. loved the pictures here more than anything...and yes real ingredients are what one should look for really...once you are using them you know you are on the right track

  3. Mouth watering.. love the pictures..

  4. loved your idea of adding grapefruit leaves to the egg. It must be smelling yum.

  5. Very well made...looks delicious!