There is something about summer that screams LEMON. Perhaps it is all the lemonade we drink at our barbecues? I’m not sure about the instinct, given lemons and limes are readily available year round, but when May rolls in suddenly my chocolate cravings cease and I’m ready to dive into all things lemon. May also seems an apt time to start turning all your baked goods into rainbows, given the beautiful bows that grace the sky. And then, I came across a cheap bag of red oranges and some grapefruit and suddenly the idea for this cake popped into my head.
The cake itself is white and well, glorious. I was looking for a recipe that would give me something light and fluffy and BraveTart’s White Mountain Cake promised to do both. Stella’s genius idea in this cake is to add coconut oil which keeps the cake very moist. A few things about the cake, you don’t want to over-beat it and you do want your eggs, buttermilk and butter at room temperature before you start. I found that it came together like a dream. To bring that citrus power into all parts of the cake I filled the layers with lemon curd using Ina Garten’s absolutely delicious recipe and added lemon juice and zest to my buttercream.
While the cake and design may signify spring/summer season, the beauty of this cake is that you can make it anytime since most citruses are available year-round. If blood oranges are difficult to find I would use a regular orange and make it the third from the bottom to get that pretty rainbow effect.
To my buttercream I added a the zest of a full lemon and about 1/2 tablespoon of its juice. This made for a wonderfully tangy buttercream and brought the citrus flavor full circle.
You need not use any food coloring if you don’t want to. The lime zest will show up in tiny flecks once baked as will the blood orange zest. The blood orange juice will also color your batter slightly. For deeper effects, I used the coloring gel.
I cut all the original recipes in half – this made for a perfect fit for my cakes. I ended up with a ton of leftover lemon curd (oh the horror… 😉 ) and since I only did a crumb coat on my cake, I had some leftover frosting. If you were to frost fully, I believe it would be exactly enough. If you wanted to make a cake that serves 8-12 people, make the full buttercream recipe, half the lemon curd (unless your want those leftovers!) and double the cake recipe you see here. Stella says to use three 8X3 cake pans and to bake for 40 minutes.
Feel free to add more/less zest to each part of the cake depending on how strong you want the flavor. Juice will bring the flavor as well but don’t add more than 1 TB to each part or the cake liquid ratio might be too much.
Stella is very particular about the temperature of the buttermilk, butter and egg whites: she says to use them when they are between 65-70 degrees F. To get to this temperature she suggests microwaving in 6 second bursts and checking the temperature.
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