So, I've been in New York City for a week. I came for work (well, that is if you consider covering the Michael Kors fall show at New York Fashion Week work) but once that was done, I hung out with friends, visited a lot of restaurants that I'd read about, ate a lot of good food, visited (and spent an insane amount of money at) baking supply stores and sourced some priced items (like a vintage set of cutlery) at Goodwill Stores in the city (thanks Jane for the idea).
My friends (thanks Parmilla, Daniel and Yvette) have been super accommodating during my trip -- putting me up, taking me places, finding the shops that I wanted to go to (I actually emailed them a list) and cooking me dinner.
I am grateful. And so thankful for good friends. I love NYC and I'd be happy to wander the city on my own but it's always nicer to have friends to hang out with. Always.
|Don't be alarmed by the batter that looks curdled. It's supposed to be that way.|
So anyway, I wanted to repay their kindness the only way I know how. I baked them a cake and what better cake to make than NYC chef Tom Colicchio's Lemon Cake, that was inspired by the HBO series Game of Thrones.
I've made this cake countless times. It's honestly THE BEST lemon cake I've ever tasted. EVER. It's ah-may-zing. So tangy and sweet, so soft that it melts in the mouth. And, the best part? The film of lemon curd that settles at the bottom of the pan. This becomes the top of the cake when you invert it after baking. Gorgeous. Really.
|Ramekins are best but when you don't have them, a muffin or cupcake pan is fine.|
The curd forms because of the way the cakes are boiled/baked: they are baked in a water bath. It is also a result of how the eggs are separated and then mixed into the batter. The yolks are beaten with the lemon and buttermilk and then the flour while the whites are whipped to form peaks and folded in at the very end. When the cakes are cooking, the eggs separate again -- the whites rise with the cake and the yolks settle at the bottom to form the curd. I think. I haven't been able to find an explanation from Chef Colicchio online and I was unsuccessful in my attempts to bump into him in NYC (I went to his restaurants here and hung around in vain).
|Bake them in a water bath. And, cover the pan with foil, at first.|
The cakes are best baked in ramekins but since Parmilla didn't have any, we used a cupcake pan instead. It was fine. The cakes turned out great even though inverting them proved to be a challenge and some of the cakes look a little worse for wear.
Parmilla and Daniel didn't mind, especially once they ate the cakes.
They agreed. Tom Colicchio's cakes were the bomb!
|Voila! The tops are actually the bottoms. You have to invert the cakes to see the film of curd.|
Game of Thrones' Lemon Cake
(created by Tom Colicchio)
2 eggs (separated)
2/3 cup buttermilk
21/2 tbsp lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons (I just used the zest from one large lemon)
3 tbsp + 1 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 150C.
Soft flour and salt into a bowl. Add sugar and whisk together.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, buttermilk and lemon zest until well combined. Gently fold in the flour mixture. When combined, fold in the whites. Don't be alarmed if the batter is lumpy and looks curdled. It is supposed to look this way.
Dust your ramekins (4 large or 6 medium) with icing sugar and spoon the batter in (you can almost fill them to the brim). Place the ramekins/pan in a water bath (in a larger pan with at least 2 inches water) and cover with foil. Bake for 25 mins. Remove foil and bake for another 15 mins.
Let the cakes cool before inverting them.