For weeks I racked up ideas what cake it should be… …. he does not like frosting so there goes the wicked chocolate cake I had in mind layered with cream frosting.I even dreaded about what if we did an Atlantic crossing then the birthday would be at the open seas, what if it would be bumpy? Should I pre bake and freeze it?
Well we did not leave for a crossing but then it hit me if he loves pancakes , crepes I mean then I would build a tower of pancakes.
How will it hold? I was already looking at options like nutella spread in between and glaze it with ganache.
When he was in England I went to the supermarket alone, which by the way, made the fishmonger noticed. While emptying the cart at the till I was browsing the April Martha Stewart Living magazine … and there it was pancake cake with lemon curd mousse.
I just found the perfect cake!!!
Well when he came back I somehow still asked him what cake would he like… just in case he wished for something else.
At the end I decided on this but I panicked a bit! I never ever made a lemon curd. I was almost tempted to go to Whole Foods and buy a bottled one.
The day before the birthday I was away from Ft Lauderdale but I came back early to prepare things in advance. Monday is hectic day, with the crew meals and other things to do I wonder when I would have time to do other things.
So I prepared the batter and the lemon curd mousse. The recipe calls for Meyer lemon which I could not find at Publix. I was about to call all chefs I know to help me out but I thought maybe just use the regular lemons and add a bit more of sugar to sweeten it.
While preparing everything I needed my phone did not stop ringing. My ex crew mates were having dinner together and wanted me to join them. I could not stop what I was doing and promised them as soon I was done I would join them. That very night the rain would not just stop. Luckily the boys were tired from their trip in Ocala that they did not come to the galley and asked what I was doing.
To be safe in case this cake would fail, I made another cake , a pound cake which I planned to layer with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
Monday , April 19th our mate Stephen turned 21+ years old… while I was busy assembling the cake ( the recipe called for 15 layers) with lemon mousse in between each layer, I could see the mousse was too watery. I added more cream to lessen the lemony taste. The tower of crepes was about to collapse when Dickie , our engineer came to my rescue. He immediately stuck these long cocktail toothpicks to hold the cake. Phew almost a disaster.
I knew I still have enough time before serving it so I decided to put in the freezer to stop the mousse running all over the cake.
It somehow worked.
Afternoon tea break came and I took the cake out. I must have been so excited that I forgot to put the candles on the top.
But it did not matter, he loved it…. and the crew enjoyed it too.
It was all gone by the end of the day and I served the layered pound cake the following day.
Happy Birthday Stephen.
Makes about 3 3/4 cups
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
1 tablespoon cold water
4 large eggs plus 6 large yolks
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons), plus 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 5 to 6 lemons)
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together eggs and yolks in a heavy small saucepan. Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; add gelatin, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves and mixture is slightly cool. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, stirring after each addition, until smooth.
Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to remove as much curd as possible; discard any undissolved bits of gelatin and egg.
Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Stir curd, and gently fold in whipped cream.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir before using.