Every couple of years Easter and my sister’s birthday fall on the same weekend. Looking back now, I recall this confluence of birthday cake and Easter egg hunting as quite a big deal. It was a lot of sugar and a lot of excitement, so it was an interesting experience this year when the two events collided, since we’re all grown up now and the allure of chocolate bunnies and money filled birthday cake has worn off slightly; getting a loonie wrapped in cellophane in your slice of cake just doesn’t feel like it used to. But birthdays are still worth celebrating and a birthday without cake is just too depressing to consider, so in an attempt to represent both occasions in one sweet, adult-approved package I crafted an Eastery birthday cake for my favourite sister.
This was my first attempt at a roll cake, though I bought the special pan years ago in anticipation of this moment, I'd just never gotten around to it; you know how it is! Overall I thought the process was pretty straight forward and relatively simple, but like most things it did take some time and planning to get right. You can't just whip one up, there is a fair amount of cooling time needed and I also discovered that the cake tasted better after it was left to sit awhile after assembly.
This cake is quite wonderful. It's not too sweet, not to rich, not too lemony. It has a wonderful texture and is appealing to look at. I would definitely make it again. I think I enjoyed the filling most, it was perfection, but others insisted that the texture and subtle flavour of the cake was part best. To each their own!
Lemon Roll Cake
Cake 1-1/4 cups cake and pastry flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 6 large eggs, room temperature, separated 1/4 cup water 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp lemon extract 1 tsp cream of tartar Filling 1 tub 275 g mascarpone 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest 1 1/2 cups Icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar) 1 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Grease a 15" x 10" x 1" baking pan and line with parchment paper; grease the paper and set aside.
Cake: Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and water, beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1 cup sugar. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until combined. Add egg whites to a clean bowl with cream of tartar. Beat on medium until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until sugar is dissolved and soft glossy peaks form. Fold a quarter of the egg whites into batter, then fold in the remaining whites. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool 5 minutes and carefully invert onto a kitchen towel dusted with icing sugar. Gently peel off parchment paper. Roll cake up in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side and cool completely before filling. Filling: Beat Mascarpone, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth and fluffy; gradually add icing sugar and continue to beat until smooth. In a separate bowl beat whipping cream until thickened; fold into Mascarpone mixture. Assembly: Unroll cooled cake; spread evenly with filling. Roll up and dust with icing sugar.