Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Hilary

This weekend we celebrated the uber talented and sweet Hilary Pfeifer in two ways, first was the opening of her amazing art show Natural Selection (photos below), which is on display at the gallery Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco until the end of this month (I strongly encourage all to check it out), and second was the bunny with a toolbelt (aka Hilary's) birthday. You know what birthday means ... that's right CAKE!

I chose to make a light lemon cake since a little birdie told me Hilary would prefer something fruity over something chocolate (a girl after my own heart). The little birdie, aka Mom Locey Pfeifer, also said to make it dairy free so I could join in on the fun. OK! I like cake too (and hardly ever get to eat my own creations).

I searched my trusty google reader for lemon cake and found the perfect recipe to make over at Good Things Catered. Her Luscious Lemon Party Cake. It turned out marvelous. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I used all purpose flour instead of cake flour, which gave me a much more compact and dense cake (I will try cake flour next time); and I used 9 inch round pans which made the layers too thin in my opinion to just use two, so I doubled the recipe to make 4 layers; and because I was one lemon short for the icing, I replaced the missing lemon juice with dark rum - which was a great substitution. Finally, instead of putting the icing between the layers I used store bought lemon curd, which gave me a lot of leftover icing which I will put to good use. The reviewers said this was a good choice as they preferred the thin layer of curd to frosting.

Luscious Lemon Party Cake Ingredients:

-2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 extra large organic lemons, washed thoroughly then zested and juiced separately
2/3 c. soy milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

4 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder
tiny pinch of salt
1/2 c. Nucoa margarine, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp dark rum
Additional lemon for decorating


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two cake pans (8 inch for larger rounds- or 9 inch if you are going to double the recipe and make 4 layers like I did).

-In bowl of electric mixer sift and add flour, sugar, baking powder, meringue powder, salt, and zest of one lemon.

-Stir with mixer to combine, about 30 seconds.

-Add soy milk, oil, juice from two lemons, beaten egg whites and extract.

-Beat on medium to combine thoroughly, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.

-Remove from mixer and stir with silicone spatula to thoroughly combine (making sure there is no flour mixture left unincorporated at the bottom of the bowl.

-Fill prepared pans 2/3 of the way full and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (about 25-28 mins for 8 inch pans; about 20-25 minutes for 9 inch pans)

-Remove from oven, let cool 15 minutes in pan and then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.

-Meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer, combine shortening, butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice and rum, stiring on low until relatively combined.

-In a separate bowl, combine sugar, meringue powder and salt, then add to mixer while still on.

-Stir, scraping down sides of bowl, until thoroughly combined, adding more lemon juice as needed. (Add water if needed to reach desired texture.)

-Then frost the cake, using the icing in between the layers, or for a less frosting taste, use lemon curd between the layers and frost the outside.


  1. I have to say this was an amazing cake. Very nice texture and balance between light and fluffy and richness. The frosting was fantastic and I like the way you kept it on the outside and put lemon curd in the middle. This is a keeper!

  2. Okay...I know it's WAY past this birthday, but somehow I missed this blog entry! (It just came up in a Google search) Thanks Lorelei--I can still remember this amazing cake and sweet contribution to a really fun night. xoxo Hilary (Bunny with a Toolbelt)