Celebrate the joys of spring

For many of us celebrating Easter is the first occasion in the year that brings the whole family together. Preparing and sharing delicious foods and enjoying the start of Spring with family and friends is always a special time.

We all adore the heart-warming chicks, eggs and bunnies that signal the arrival of Easter and the arrival of some much needed sunshine is very welcomed by all; the grass is greener, the hedges are blossoming and the days are getting warmer.

In collaboration with Louise at Cygnet Kitchen we’d love to share this refreshing and delicious Lemon Curd and Mascarpone naked cake; the perfect treat to serve to the masses this Easter time. 

SERVINGS:               8

COOKING TIME:      1 hour

INGREDIENTS:        220g butter, softened, plus a little extra to grease the pans

                                    220g white caster sugar

                                    zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

                                    4 free range eggs (weighing a total of 220g in their shells), lightly beaten

                                    220g self raising four, sifted.

                                    pinch of salt

                                    2 tablespoons of lemon juice

                                    2-3 tablespoons of whole milk

FOR THE LEMON CURD FILLING:

                                    grated zest and juice of 4 unwaxed lemons

                                    175g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

                                    270g granulated sugar

                                    4 large eggs, lightly beaten
FOR THE ICING:

                                    500g mascarpone

                                    200ml double cream

                                    4-5 tablespoons lemon curd, to taste, plus extra to assemble each layer.

                                    250g icing sugar sifted.

TO DECORATE:

Non toxic flowers (I used blossom and eucalyptus leaves). Always be sure that any flowers used to decorate a cake are non toxic and make sure you remove them before serving. Note: You will have enough lemon curd to fill the cake and two small sterilised jars. It will keep in the fridge for a week.     

METHOD                   

  • Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4.                                  
  • Grease and line two 6 inch, deep cake tins.                  
  • Beat the butter,sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well in between each addition.
  • Gently fold in the sifted flour and salt, then add the lemon juice and enough milk to create a dropping consistency (the mixture should drop off a spoon when lightly tapped).
  • Divide the mixture between the two tins (weigh each tin to easily judge roughly the same amount of mix). Put in both tins on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven and cook for 45 minutes. 
  • While the cakes are cooking make the lemon curd. Add the lemon juice, zest, butter and sugar to a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bowl). Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.
  • Add the beaten eggs to the bowl and whisk well with a ballon whisk. Heat gently,whisking frequently and cook for 20 minutes. Do not allow the curd to boil otherwise it may curdle (if it does, remove from the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth).
  • The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reserve   enough curd for the cake and pour the rest into two hot sterilised jars and cover with sterilised lids (see note). Allow to cool.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven, they should have shrunk slightly away from the tin and a skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  • Leave in the tins to cool for 10 minutes, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Then make the icing by whisking the mascarpone, double cream, icing sugar and 4-5 tablespoons of the cooled lemon curd (to taste), until thick and smooth.
  • When cakes are cool, wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will make them easier to cut.
  • Using a cake divider or bread knife level the tops of the cakes if necessary and cut each cake in half evenly.
  • Place the base of one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand and spread with a thin layer of lemon curd and then a thick layer of mascarpone icing. Add the next layer cut side down.
  • Repeat with remaining layers, ensuring that the top layer is placed cut side down. If you like the 'naked' look thinly spread the rest of the icing on sides of the cake and then add on the top making a thicker layer.
  • Top with fresh blossom and a sprig of eucalyptus, making sure that you remove them before cutting and eating the cake.

Serve and enjoy!

#RobertWelch