Hello! I hope you’re having a lovely evening…how about some Lemon cake? Yes? Oh but I have to mention this isn’t just any lemon cake. Nop. This is a Lemon Pie Cake. See, a friend of mine asked me to make the cake for her birthday, but she didn’t want to tell me anything in particular about the flavors I should use, so I started doing a bit of research around and another friend told me she loved lemon icebox pie (that, I thought was called Key lime pie, but they are different things…I know shame on me…thanks Clara for explaining to me which is which ;)) So I thought I would recreate the favors of lemon icebox pie in this cake. Also, I really wanted a break from all the baking with chocolate I’ve been making. This is a really refreshing cake and also a very important cake for me…
Because, well, before this cake I had never leveled a cake. I had never made buttercream. I had never crumb coated a cake. I had never written the instructions for a cake on my own. I am very proud because I think I did a very good job in all of these things. I am not very good at decorating so I did a LOT of research before doing anything.
Buttercream was a bit of a challenge with my little sad hand mixer (Kitchen Aid please come faster) but in the end it worked out. Basically, what I did was bake 2 layers of vanilla cake (I flash froze them because one of the tips I read about stacking and decorating is that frozen cakes are easier to work with. Genius) and I filled the layers with a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon zest (typical ingredients for lemon icebox pie) and then I crumb coated it with a lemon buttercream and finally I covered the whole thing in a white chocolate ganache (over the top? maybe but it contrasted perfectly with the citrus in the cake).
I had initially thought about using ground graham crackers (another ingredient of lemon icebox pie) in the cake batter but then I forgot and the cakes were already in the oven. Wonderful. So What I decided to do was use the crumbs as a layer to keep the filling from getting the cake soggy (second picture) and also give the cake a little something more interesting. It worked pretty good and the cake definitely tasted like a lemon icebox pie, besides everyone, including the birthday girl, loved it! I was very pleased with the result. The cake was even pretty (a little!) and I got to try new things I had never done before! Like that buttercream frosting ring around the border of the cake to keep the filling from escaping. I want to thank Smitten Kitchen and Joy The Baker for the amazing tips they have on layer cakes and decorations. Two of my favorite blogs.
This is the cake, first crumb coated (so proud of how that turned out) and then finished with graham cracker crumbs all around! I’m sorry for the left picture, I dont know what happened with my camera and it was the only picture I had.
So here’s the recipe. I used Smitten Kitchen’s Best birthday Cake recipe for the cake layers. So tender and flavorful. I know the recipe sounds a little long but every step is easy-peasy and very well worth it.
Lemon Pie Cake with White Chocolate Ganache
2 layers of your favorite vanilla cake (I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe)
Lemon icebox pie filling (Recipe to follow)
Lemon Buttercream Frosting (Recipe to follow)
White Chocolate Ganache (Recipe to follow)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
Lemon Ice Box Pie Filling
One 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
The juice of 2 lemons
Zest of one lemon.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust the leven of citrus you like best. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Lemon Buttercream Frosting.
Recipe adapted from: Food.com
1 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt.
Combine butter, sugar and salt and beat till well combined. Add lemon juice,zest and vanilla and continue to beat for another 3 to 5 minute or until creamy. (Note: I had to add a little bit of milk since my buttercream was too stiff)
White Chocolate Ganache
Recipe adapted from: Food.com
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the cream just until it starts to simmer. Add the white chocolate, shaking the pan gently to immerse it into the cream, then add the butter. Let the mixture stand for 1 minute, then beat with a wire whisk until the chocolate and butter dissolve and the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate to achieve desires consistency (Note: The original recipe called for 4 tablespoons of butter, but with that, my ganache was a little too runny, so I recommend 3 tablespoons)
Assembly of the cake
Bake the cake layers as indicated and let them cool. Once cooled, flash freeze them for about an hour so they’re easier to handle. While you wait for that, you can make the filling, the buttercream and the white chocolate ganache.
Take them out of the freezer and level the cakes.
Keep the scraps for another recipe (may I suggest some cake balls?) or just eat them cause they will be delicious.
Place a a bit (about half a cup just to be sure) in a pastry bag or a Ziploc like myself. Cut the end and pipe a ring of frosting around the border of the base cake.
Return the rest of the buttercream in your bag to the bowl. Use 1/2 cup of your graham cracker crumbs to make an even layer inside the frosting ring.
Now, fill your cake with the lemon icebox pie filling (I used a pastry bag as well to make it easier). I used all of it, but I think I went overboard so maybe you’ll want to use a little less.
Use another 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs to top the filling and place the other cake on top of everything.
Crumb coat your cake using the rest of your buttercream. There are several videos in youtube that helped me understand the process better.
Flash freeze it again for a few minutes to make sure the crumbs are well coated and your surface is smooth. Now pour your chocolate ganache and you can let it drip down the sides which I think looks very nice, or you can smooth it all out with a flat icing spatula like I did.
At this point you can add any decoration you want. I just covered it with more graham cracker crumbs and called it a night.
I hope you like this idea and make it for someone who loves Lemon Icebox Pie. Or yourself. You deserve it right? right. And go listen to something refreshing like Down to the Market by The Kooks.
‘Till next time! (: