I woke up early this morning and thought, “My babies are two!” Without waking anyone else, I snuck to the nursery to peak in on them. As I opened the door, both of them, wide awake in their cribs, sprang to their feet. “Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!” my Peppers chanted. “Rock? Sing?” requested Salty.
I pulled them onto my lap in the big rocking chair and sang them “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma. “One more song?” asked Peppers. “No!” said Salty. “Covers. Snuggle,” he said, indicating that he wanted me to take him into my bed for a cuddle. They both got their birthday wishes. I sang one more song, and then took Salty in for an epic snuggle in my covers while Peppers settled in at the board book shelf to do his morning reading.
I am so lucky to be the mother of these particularly beautiful sons.
After setting the world’s record for most annoying newborn with his collicky ridiculousness, Peppers is working hard on his goal of becoming the world’s most ingratiating toddler. The grins, the hugging, the smacking “mwwwwah!” kisses, the obsessive tidying and closing of doors, the wild peals of laughter as he tries to tickle people, and other choice wiles in his arsenal of charms are regularly employed around our house.
Salty continues to cling to me like a parasitic twin. His unstoppable vocabulary and articulation dazzle me daily. He is excessively fond of hand sanitizer and wearing other people’s shoes. He likes to look good and often requests to have his hair wet-combed like a character from MadMen and then struts around the house proclaiming himself a “Handsome fellow. Handsome fellow.”
Yesterday I made a glorious passion fruit cake for their birthday. Notice, I did not say for them. In fact, they will probably be getting Teddy Grahams. This cake is to celebrate our family making it two full years from the birth of the twins in one relatively stable piece.
I tasted the lemon version of this cake when Heather Palmer brought it as the winning entry to the lemon competition of Desserters Club. I knew immediately that I must make a passion fruit version! And when she saw me attempting to photograph my masterpiece, Fluffy knew immediately that she must photo bomb it!
It is four layers of a very light cake made from only eggs, sugar and flour which are soaked in passionfruit syrup and then layered with passion fruit curd and a passion fruit, whipped cream and cream cheese filling. Beyond my family, it is quite possibly my new favorite thing on earth. It is also so fat with frosting that my cake dome strains to squeeze over it like Nikki Minaj’s jeans.
I made it precisely according to the methods in the recipe except I did it all in one day, using the fridge and freezer to speed up all the cooling. I also substituted regular cream cheese for the mascarpone and thawed passion fruit concentrate (undiluted) for the lemon juice per our family’s sensibilities.
Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Bon Appétit | April 2003
You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip to create the decorative rosettes. Begin making this cake two days before you plan to serve it.
Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Filling and frosting
For lemon curd:
Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper (do not grease pans or parchment). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.
Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin). Peel off parchment.
Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice.
For filling and frosting:
Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.
*Italian cream cheese available at Italian markets and many supermarkets.