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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake

Have you heard of streamlined trains? Probably on my side of the world here, we call it bullet trains but definitely in Singapore you wouldn't find a streamlined train because of us as a tiny little dot ;) In simple terms, a streamliner is a vehicle that incorporates streamlining in a shape providing reduced air resistance. Obviously a picture will tell a thousand words so look below.



According to Julie Richardson, this was probably how this cake was derived - lemon and almond streamliner cake. I think it could probably represent the colours of the train then - brown with lemon lines too. Anyhow, this could all be up to your imagination :)

When I first took a peek at this recipe, I noticed cake flour, almond paste, canola oil and buttermilk. To me, that could just mean the cake will turn out soft and fluffy. That sounds good because if you know me, you would probably know that I'm not really a fan of dense cakes. To each his own, obviously but that's just me :) But best of all about this recipe is, it has lemon custard. Psst, I'm a sucker for lemon custard, and basically most things lemony because of the citrus tangy flavour.

Like my fellow baker Anne from The Cake Slice has mentioned, this recipe has been authorised by the publisher to be reproduced so for your easy reference and if you are using metric measurements, here's the recipe. See my adaptations/comments in blue

Custard
Grated zest of 2 lemons (if you don't like it too lemony, reduce to zest of 1 lemon)
183g whole milk
112g sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup lemon juice (from approximately 3 lemons)
113g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Cake
125g sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
70g almond paste, 
at room temperature
141g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g sugar
41g canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
163g buttermilk, at room temperature 
**For the buttermilk (see picture below), I used 3/4 cup plain yoghurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk to get 1 cup of buttermilk which is about 243g buttermilk.



As for the almond paste, I cheated (bleah) and bought it in the store. Next time, I'll make it myself and save the $$



Basically, I just made the lemon custard the day before I made the cake so that the custard is more pliable.




To make the lemon custard: 
  1. combine the lemon zest, milk, and 1/2 portion of the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until just hot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining 1/2 portion of sugar, and the salt until well combined, then whisk in the cornstarch, then the lemon juice.
  3. Slowly whisk a third of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the hot milk and cook over medium-low heat, whisking steadily, until the custard begins to thicken and bubble for 1 minute (you will need to stop whisking for a moment to check if it is bubbling).
  4. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter until it has melted. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly upon the surface of the custard and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 2 hours. The custard is easiest to work with once it has set. I set my lemon custard overnight and it works perfectly.
To make the cake: 
  1. Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350°F. For my oven, I used 160 degrees celsius but if you wish to follow the recipe, it's 180 degree celsius.
  2. To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the mixture to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, butter, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla on low speed until blended; gradually increase the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes, stopping the mixer frequently to scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
  4. Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. 
  5. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not overbeat the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (9 by 2-inch round cake pan, greased and bottom lined with a parchment paper circle) and spread it evenly. Rap the pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the cake is a deep golden color and a wooden skewer poked in the middle comes out just barely clean, 42 to 45 minutes. Since I made mine into cupcake sizes, I only used 20 minutes and filled my cupcakes only 3/4 full. The cake might crack on the surface as it bakes; don’t worry, this simply provides a way for the cake to soak up more of the lemon custard. If you are making them into cupcakes like me, don't take out your cupcakes immediately but rather, after 18 minutes, open your oven a little so that your cupcakes will not shrink immediately once you take them out at the 20th minutes.
    See how evenly rounded the cupcakes turn out.
  7. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Gently invert the cake onto the rack, leaving on the parchment paper until you assemble the cake. Flip the cake right side up and continue to cool the cake on the rack until it reaches room temperature.
  8. To finish the cake, remove the parchment paper and place the cake right side up on a flat plate. Using a metal spatula, spread a thin layer of the lemon custard on the sides of the cake to seal the cake and give it a light shine. Put the rest of the lemon custard on top of the cake, spreading it just barely out to the edge. Use your spatula to make a swirly design in the custard on the top of the cake. Allow the assembled cake (or really, the lemon custard) to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  9. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving (this will take about an hour). Any leftover cake keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To see what the rest of my fellow The Cake Slice bakers did, please go here.
    Mr G's verdict is, the cake is soft and fluffy with only very faint fragrance of the almond which is great for non-almond lovers but the lemon custard is slathered on too much for him. But I like!!! :P

    Incidentally, I'm also submitting this post for April's Tea Time Treats which were created by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

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