Birthday Cake Time: Lemon-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes

So today is my actual birthday. THIRTY TWO. Holy crap.

 

I’m  generally okay with adding another ring to the tree trunk, but I will admit I had a mini freak- out woe is me party for one last night. I had a cupcake and got over it. For good measure, I had another this morning and now I’m ready to embrace 32 head on.

 

The cupcake is what I share with you today. Vanilla base. Lemon filling. Vanilla frosting.

 

While not technically fruit, the lemon part of it does break my no fruit in dessert guidelines. As with the Peach Upside Down Cake, my reason for labeling this my favorite, and for always making it my birthday cake also dates back to summers spent on the river up in Canada.

 

I’ve already mentioned that for our birthdays, Little Buddha and I enjoyed grandma’s Peach Upside Down Cake.  But there are TWO of us, and therefore two birthdays to celebrate. Therefore, the second cake we all enjoyed came from the now-nonexistent Iroquois Bakery.  The bakery was a Buffalo establishment, around for 65 years, before it was forced to close its doors back in 1995, just about the time we all stopped summering in Fort Erie, strangely enough.  Every year, we got the same cake…a towering simple spongy vanilla with lemon in the middle, dressed in a light whipped frosting.  It was also adorned with these weird wafer like flowers on them for decoration. I have no idea what they were or how to recreate them, so I won’t’ be doing that.

 

While I don’t have the Iroquois cake recipe, and I enjoyed it back before I tried to dissect every treat I consumed, I do remember the essence of it, and, in order to recreate that essence, I’ve hodgepodged a recipe together that serves my purposes, and taste buds, just splendidly.

 

The cake base I bring to you courtesy of The Hummingbird Bakery in London. I feel in love with this little Notting Hill bakeshop back in 2005 when I studied there, and, after painstakingly trying to recreate the cake, a cookbook came out. Just for me (or so I like to think).  Last night I realized the base of this cupcake is a lot like the Peach Upside Down cake base. No wonder I like it so much!

Note #1: I made cupcakes because I bring these to work much like a second grader would bring them to school, but this recipe would make a nice size two-layer.  Also, best to make the lemon curd the day before so that it can cool.

cake setup

 

Makes  about 18 cupcakes

Note #2: The method for this cake is a bit different than your normal cake batter, so pay attention.

For the cake (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery):

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 ½ cups sugar

pinch salt

3 tsp baking powder

6 TB butter, room temperature

1 cup whole milk (or buttermilk)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 325F.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, add the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and salt. Mix together until it is a sandy consistency.

3.  In a separate liquid measuring cup, add the milk, eggs and vanilla.

4.  Slowly add the wet to the dry, mixing until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

5.  Add the batter to cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 of the way through.

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched and a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

 

Make the lemon curd

Lemon curd is ridiculously easy to make and so delicious. Now I want to make some more Orange Bread just so that I have something to use with this lemon curd!

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

4 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

¾ cup sugar

½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2-3 lemons, depending on the size)

4 TB unsalted butter

2 lemons, zested

Directions

  1.  Heat all the ingredients except for the butter, in a small saucepan. Keep it stirring every so often until it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.

 

lemon curdYou should be able to draw a line through the curd

  1.  Once off the heat, add the butter and mix in until melted and incorporated. Set aside to cool.

For the frosting

Ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar

8 TB butter, room temperature

2 TB milk, or more depending on your desired consistency

1 tsp vanilla

Food coloring of choice

 

Directions

  1.  Beat together the butter and sugar, slowly to avoid a cloud of sugar blowing back in your face.

2.  Add the vanilla, milk and food coloring, adding more or less milk depending on how thick or thin you desire.

ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

  1.  When the cupcakes are cool, take a knife and hollow out the center of each, making sure to keep the “lid.”  I’ve seen a few methods out there on how to fill cupcakes, and this has always worked best for me.**

cake hole

2.  Spoon approximately 1 tsp of lemon curd in each cupcake hole. Cover with the “lid.”

cake fill

3.  Frost the top as normal with frosting.

cakes

Soooo good.

 

**P.S.:  The best part of hollowing out the center is that you end up with little bits of center. Which means you basically have a bowl full of cake. Add some frosting to that, and that’s what I had for breakfast today. Treat for the chef!

fillingsHappy Birthday to me!

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13 Comments

  1. Did you ever have the cherry frosting…sponge cake with custard filling from iroquis bakery? We had them for every birthday and miss that cake.

  2. I have never asked much of the internet. I am real disappointed that no one ever saved the Iroquois receipe for their sponge cake/custard delite. I especially liked the chocolate frosting. ONe of the few things I miss in leaving buffalo. That and a TEDS hot dog. Was I spoiled or what? GO CANISIUS HIGH?

    • Wow, for real. Once in a while I’ll have something that SORT of tastes like it, but for the most part, it’s so elusive. The cake, the not-lemon curd filling. The weird wafer flowers. I can still taste it in my mind! And my late father use to always take us to Ted’s whenever we visited my grandparents in Ft. Erie. It was like our day-after-Thanksgiving tradition to go shopping and to Ted’s. I will add Anderson’s custard to that- which has spoiled me into never being accepting of fro-yo because, let’s face it, that’s not real. Let’s go BUFFALO!!

      • I’.m so glad that others feel as I do about the cakes from Iroquois bakery. I made a chiffon cake that kind of reminded me of them but not the same. I too wish to have the recipe. Aren’t there any family members that may have the recipe? Maybe I should put an ad in the Buffalo Evening News (I think I will). I’m far away from Buffalo but I still remember.

        • You’re right, mine is certainly not the same either. I wonder though- it’s been closed for so long at this point! Well, if you have any success, please share the recipe! And thanks for stopping by!

    • was it a long time ago that you asked the news? would it help or not if I did the same ? My mom would get the yellow cake with chocolate frosting and either lemon or custard filling, that’s the recipe I’m most interested in. Perhaps the recipe was a variation of a sponge as suggested by Joe Conti above.

  3. My mom had the lemon cake every year for 38 yrs i have tried every bakery to replicate this cake we have had no luck nothing comes close i wish they could come back

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