Today we’re celebrating another birthday. But this one is extra special. It’s Emily’s birthday! She is 28 years young today (should I not reveal that?)
Naturally a birthday calls for cake.
But before I get to that, we need to get something out of the way. I hate to break the fourth wall here, but let’s talk honesty and blogging for a bit. There is a lot that goes into the process from inspiration to post. Believe it or not, most of the things we cook are not artfully styled, photographed and edited. It’s the best things that make it to you. When I first saw this inspiration, I envisioned a beautiful post to surprise my sister on her birthday. I planned, I prepped, I stirred, I piped, and then this…
I have had food flops before that ultimately ended in yelling and tears. But this time, I could not stop laughing. I mean…right? Not even close! Another blogger might have started over, tweaked the recipe until they had it just right. Until the end result was worthy of posting for all the world to see. Yet, I decided, this wouldn’t be honest. I never admitted to being a pastry chef. And layered cakes have never quite worked out for me. I took a risk and it flopped. But it gave me such a good laugh, I thought why not share it. So Em, on your birthday I give you the gift of honesty, laughter, and embarrassing myself! I just wish I could actually give you this cake!
I remember the first birthday cake Emily made for me. It was my 28th birthday and it was an olive oil cake. I had never had one before and I don’t remember much more about it (there were mimosas) but it was delicious, different. So I knew this birthday cake was going to make her my version of an olive oil cake. Well not mine, but one I found in Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, a Grapefruit Pound Cake. Only, Emily and I both share a love of all things lemon, so I went with lemon instead. After it’s baked it is given a tart lemon syrup drizzled over the tart only strengthening that luscious lemon flavor.
And then there was this mousse from the inspiration cake. A Rosemary Lemon Mousse. Rosemary is simmered slowly in cream, whipped into soft peaks and then folded into lemon curd.
Out. Of. This. World. Good.
Then if that wasn’t amazing enough, I decided to pair these two lemon treats with a blackberry compote. This was a little nod to the blackberry cobbler that our late Granny would make for us on our birthday. I could have made this on my own but I had some blackberry jam in my fridge already so I went with that. It did not disappoint.
This is undeniably one of the best cakes I have had in a while. And I will be eating it all by myself. Well, with a little help.
Birthdays are so important to me and I love making them special for others. I am sad that I cannot share this with you, sis, on your birthday. But I hope your day is made a bit brighter by just knowing I thought of you and what you love.
And I think it might also make her day if you wish her a happy birthday too!
Happy Birthday, Sis, and hey, you REALLY should try this…
Lemon Olive Oil Pound Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman
Butter or non-stick spray for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Make the Cake
Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8x11” cake pan.
In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will bruise it and help release as much lemon essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and buttermilk/or yogurt. Add the flour and buttermilk/or yogurt mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter a few times to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Make the grapefruit syrup
Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.
Rosemary Lemon Mousse
3 cups Lemon Curd
1 Quart Heavy Cream
4 teaspoons gelatin
¼ cup Orange Juice
5 sprigs Rosemary
Heat heavy cream and rosemary in saucepan and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Allow cream to cool.
Bloom gelatin in 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of orange juice over medium heat and add to gelatin whisking until gelatin is dissolved. Add curd to gelatin and whisk.
Whip cooled cream into soft peaks. Fold in lemon curd gelatin. Chill to set before piping on cake.