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There was this game I used to play in my head when I was a little girl, where I would pretend that the whole world turned into a mini world and I was a giant. This most likely stemmed from my reading Jack and the Beanstalk and Gullliver’s Travels, or, it could just be me compensating for always being the smallest and shortest in school and at home. Everyone always made fun of me (mostly my siblings) because of my height and because I was always so skinny. I had an obsession for mini things: a dollhouse with tiny furniture, a teeny tiny tea set, the Fisher-Price Little People toys. It felt good to be the giant, even if only in my play time. In my mind, my siblings were also turned into little people, because that was the only way I could get back at them. We all did that, right?

Now that I’m an adult (most days), I have transformed this obsession to food. I especially love it when my favorite desserts are turned into mini things because, for one, they are so adorable and cute, and two, I don’t feel so bad eating dessert when I can pop the whole thing in my mouth at once. Making desserts for one person is typically a bummer, but when you make them small enough, it makes it fun. And who cares that you are eating a dessert alone when it’s pretty?

Since I had a ton of lemons at home, I decided to make lemon cake with lemon curd. I’ve been dreaming about something lemony lately and this was a perfect opportunity. I figured why not kill two birds with one stone. This cake was adapted from this book here and the curd is adapted from this recipe here.  You can make the cake as a regular size cake (that’s no fun) or make them into cupcakes. I just used ramekins. You can also cut out the cakes into smaller sizes after you bake a regular size cake if you must have perfectly shaped mini cakes. All I know is that in this case, size doesn’t really matter 😀 Just enjoy the cake!

photos by Maria Kennedy

LEMON CURD
(click here for Full Grocery List)

NEEDS:

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

DO:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together all the ingredients except for the butter.
  2. Place the sauce pan on the stove top over low heat then add the butter.
  3. Whisk slowly until it starts to boil. Let it thicken while whisking then turn off the heat.
  4. Using a strainer, transfer the lemon curd to a bowl.
  5. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

 

LEMON CAKE:

NEEDS:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cups heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cups melted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
chopped cashews

Lemon syrup:
4 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then grease 6 mini ramekins with butter.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour and baking powder and whisk together. Add the sugar and whisk.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the liquid mixture with the flour mixture and mix well until completely combined.
  5. Ladle the batter into each ramekin and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the tester comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the syrup by mixing together the confectioner sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over low heat until it begins to bubble and thickens a bit. Remove from heat.
  7. Once the cake is done, prick the surface of each cake with a fork, then immediately brush the syrup over the top of each cake generously.
  8. Let the cake cool completely in the ramekin.
  9. Once the cake is completely cooled, remove from the ramekin. cut the tops of the cake to make it even, then spread some lemon curd on top of each cake. You can layer two cakes and put lemon curd in between each layer and on top if you wish. Sprinkle with chopped cashews.

 

GROCERY LIST:

6 large lemons
cashews
Confectioner’s sugar
Eggs
butter
heavy cream
all-purpose flour
Sugar
baking powder
pure vanilla extract