cycling in the mountains cake {four tier lemon}

So I packed up ÄNGLAND {that’s right, I got custody of him in the housemate divorce 😥 } and the KitchenAid and all the other crap I’ve accumulated in the past year, and last weekend I moved across the country {thanks Dad!}IMG_8115[1]IMG_8124[1]So much NEWNESS. New centre, new role, new city… IMG_8128[1]Not gonna lie, I am really going to miss Bristol. It will always be the city where I learned to stand on my own two feet, where I fell in love, where I made some great friends and some hilarious memories, and not forgetting where I worked my ass off to get a degree!IMG_8117[1] It feels like a good time to move on though. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like my uni memories need to stay there, and I need to make working life memories somewhere else. IMG_8125[1]I’m waiting for the boyf to move in on Sunday and as he’s not around these evenings toute seule are the perfect opportunity to catch up on some blogging. This cake is the one I made for his birthday a couple of weeks ago. He recently went on a cycling trip to the Alps; the request was for ‘anything but chocolate’ and I’d love to say I came up with the mountains design myself but I shamelessly stole it from Pinterest during my train journey down there. IMG_8130[1]Here’s to new beginnings, my friends, {and pray that my new oven is a nice one!}

Four-Tier Lemon Cake

  • Servings: depends how thin you slice! I managed to serve about 20 people a sliver each
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A four tier, lightly fragranced lemon cake sandwiched with lemon curd and vanilla buttercream

Notes

I used 2 x 20cm round cake tins for this. They were of the deep variety – there would have been too much cake batter to use sandwich pans. You could use sandwich pans and bake the 4 layers individually.

In retrospect I had way more buttercream than I needed, even with the mountain design. The colours were also not quite what I wanted them to be – I blame Tesco’s mediocre food colouring selection 😉 – if I made this again I would find navy blue/dark green Wilton food colour gels or similar professional-grade stuff.

This is the same cake recipe as my ombré cake and is originally from this recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes.

Ingredients

Cake layers:
  • 355g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 225g soft, unsalted butter
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225ml milk
Filling + Decorating:
  • 525g soft, unsalted butter
  • 1,050g icing sugar {approx.}
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • lemon curd
  • food dye: blue, green and black.

Method

Cake layers:

Line your tins with greaseproof paper and preheat your oven to 180*C. If you want to be super accurate, now is the time to weigh your largest mixing bowl {when it’s empty}.

Get your mise-en-place done: measure out your flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and sieve them together; pour your milk into a jug; zest your lemons and crack your eggs into a bowl.

Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest in your largest mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one by one.

Fold in roughly a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the milk. Repeat until all of your ingredients are combined.

Weigh your mixing bowl now that it’s full, take away the empty measurement, and divide by 2. Allowing for a little bit of batter getting stuck on the inside bowl/chef’s privilege, divide the batter equally into the tins. Alternatively, just eye it.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, checking with a skewer. Leave in the tins for 10 minutes or so, and then remove to cool completely on a rack.

Filling + Decorating: 

Beat together the soft butter with the icing sugar, salt and vanilla until pale and fluffy.

If you like, you can whip up around two-thirds of it now, and the rest later once the cake is stacked. Your basic ratio is twice the amount of icing sugar to butter.

Using a circular plate or bowl that’s slightly smaller than the cakes, trim the edges off. Level the cakes and cut each one in half, so that you have four layers. I have recently invested in a cake leveller and OMG, so much easier!

Position your first layer on a serving plate or cake board. Spread with buttercream. Spread some lemon curd onto another layer, then flip it on top of the first. Repeat until all of your layers are in place with lemon curd and buttercream sandwiched between them all.

Coat the cake in a rough layer of buttercream. This is your crumb coat, so it doesn’t need to be neat – just make sure the whole thing is covered. Put your cake in the fridge or somewhere cold to chill.

Once chilled, cover the cake in a neat second layer of plain buttercream.

Divide the remaining buttercream into 4 separate bowls. Tint three of them in varying shades of grey-blue, using the black and blue dyes. The fourth will be used to do the trees, so dye it a nice coniferous green. You can also reserve a little of this and dye it a much darker green/black to do a bike if you wish.

Spoon each of these colours into separate piping bags. Starting with the darkest grey-blue, pipe a gently waving line around the bottom of the cake  to resemble mountains. Fill it in using the piping bag, and then use a palette knife to smooth it out.

Using the middle grey-blue next, pipe another waving line above what you’ve just done. Again, fill it in and then smooth it out.

Repeat with the lightest grey-blue.

Now that your mountains are in place, you can pipe trees. Start by doing one vertical line down the cake, and then pipe downwards on each side of that line to fill the tree out.

If you have lots of green buttercream leftover, you could pipe grass around the bottom of the cake, or even on the cake board to cover it. If you wish {you may well be sick of piping now}, you can pipe a tiny bike next to the trees.

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