Lemon Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Lemon Layer Cake with Chocolate Gananche

It’s time for cake – help me celebrate my ten year blog-iversary today. Wow – ten years… Have I ever done anything (besides this blog) for ten years? For a girl who can’t stay dedicated to much of anything, I’m astonished to find TwoBitTart is still going. And growing – this month, I was bestowed with the most traffic ever.

But, when it comes down to it, it’s not about the click count. What makes me happiest is a reader recreating one of my recipes and posting photos (like this week) or receiving props from one of my writerly readers on my storytelling.

I started this blog in 2008 with a different name (Phorenications) and a different mission. Re-reading my very first post, I realize the content may have changed, but I haven’t, not really.  No matter how many years I do this or how much my cooking, writing and photography improves, I still feel like an amateur most days. I especially love this post from 5 years ago, wondering if I’d make it to today – without having enough time to actual bake or photograph anything for my 5 year anniversary.

This year, I had time to bake – and  a milestone anniversary like this one requires a celebratory cake like this Lemon Layer version with Chocolate Ganache Frosting. I’m going to eat a humongous slice – after ten years, I deserve it.


Lemon Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

This cake is inspired by a life-changing Italian truffle. Who knew lemon and dark chocolate were made for each other?  I do now!

Ingredients

    Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • Lemon Cake
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Lemon Curd Filling
  • ½ cup lemon curd
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions

  1. Make Ganache: In a medium bowl, microwave whipping cream with chocolate for 60-90 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature and whisk on high for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Make Cake: Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter two 8” round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment, butter parchment and dust with flour. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir together milk, lemon juice, and zest (mixture will curdle). In the bowl of an eletric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar gradually, beating until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Alternately add flour and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, mixing at low speed until just combined. Divide batter between pans, smooth tops evenly, and bake about 20 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Cool in pans on racks 10 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper and cool completely.
  3. Make Lemon Curd Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together lemon curd and lemon zest. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat whipping cream and confections sugar until it  holds stiff peaks. Fold in 1/3 of whipped cream into lemon curd to lighten, then fold in remaining whipped cream.
  4. Assemble Cake: Put one cake layer on a cake plate and spread with lemon curd filling. Top with second layer, Spread top and sides with chocolate ganache.

Lemon Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Lemon Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

 

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A New Name & New Babies

Mochi (black) and Wasabi (tabby)

Mochi  and Wasabi

I’ve been slipping with the regularity of my posts. The main excuse for my laxity is the newly adopted babies above. It’s difficult to bustle and pivot around a kitchen with two tiny ones underfoot, sticking noses in cupboards and heads in the oven à la Sylvia Plath. One evening, I heard a thud in the fridge – a sure sign, I thought, that a precariously balanced jar had overturned. Upon my opening the door and peering inside, Wasabi jumped out from the bottom shelf. He had surreptitiously slipped by while mama’s attention was elsewhere. And, frankly, it’s easy to be distracted by two balls of fur cavorting across the hardwood floors.

Now that I’ve renamed my blog to something less offensive and, hopefully, scoured it of posts that may upset friends and family, I really must start dabbling in the kitchen – and on these pages – once again.

Fit to Print

Butterkuchen

Today, I’ve completed scouring my blog of all that may appall or offend those who think they “really know” me. In the beginning, in 2008, my blog was a journal of my raw, uncensored thoughts and feelings. Nothing was off limits –my entire chaotic life and ugly thoughts were blog fodder.  Over the years, and without realizing it, my posts have morphed into a sort of food blog – light on what’s happening in my head and heavy on what’s going in mouth –or burning in my kitchen.

This metamorphosis left me in a quandary. Because this blog was entirely uncensored, those who knew me best were not permitted to read it – boyfriends were unaware it existed, friends and family warned to stay away. After much indecision, I’ve decided to share my blog in its new food-centric form, veneered into a friend- and-family-friendly version.  Sadly, this meant hiding the more shocking bits from my readers. It’s heartbreaking to tuck away 6 ½ years of writing somewhere unreachable.

My plans aren’t to write just another food blog – there are hundreds already out there, better written and with finer photographs than anything I could produce. This is a portrait of my life’s messy ordeals and triumphs, narrated through my kitchen exploits – the bastard child of Bridget Jones and Anthony Bourdain – in print. Watch me test life’s recipes in search of contentment while simultaneously attempting those for the ultimate butterkuchen, covered with shards of sugar crust.

German Butter Cake
**adapted from a recipe of unknown origin

Cake
2 eggs
75 g sugar
150 g melted unsalted butter
140 g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
100 ml whole milk

Topping
75 g unsalted butter
75 g sugar
1,5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and sugar an 8” square pan. Whisk sugar and eggs until thick and pale. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add Almond extract to milk. Mix butter into sugar and eggs. Add half of the milk an, half of the flour- mixture and combine. Add the remaining milk and flour and stir. Pour into pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until the center is just set.

Meanwhile make the topping: Place all ingredients in to a pan and let come to boil. Take the half-baked cake out of the oven, spread the topping on the cake and bake until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the topping is golden, 15-20 minutes longer.

Derailed

I’ve been derailed– on many levels.  I’ve turned all my focus on work and, even when it comes to work, I haven’t had any drive lately – just going through the motions.  My gelato project has been tucked away behind closed desk doors in my home office.  I haven’t worked on it in months. I’ve gained weight – a lot of weight – eleven pounds since May.

I’m finishing up my last work project for the year this week.  After that, I have four days of rest and relaxation (and six spa appointments) at Miraval to rejuvenate myself and get back into my groove.  Get on track, girl!  The next two months are light with work so I’m recommitting myself to the “Life” part of the proverbial work/life balance.

Goals for the next two months:

  1. Get in shape/Lose eight pounds
  2. Start (and finish) main bathroom remodel
  3. Re-energize gelato dreams/business plan
  4. Upgrade my surrounding (replace outdated 1980’s chair and buy flat screen TV, paint)
  5. Research options for adding A/C to the house (not another sweltering summer)
  6. Replace tree that died in backyard & clean up front yard
  7. Blog regularly again!

I’m worried that I’m biting off more than I can chew – especially trying to do this over the holidays, but, if I wait until the new year, I have a string of projects that will carry me away until Summer.

Such great plans!

5th-candle

I had such great plans for my post today.  However, as is often the case, my “to do” list has ruled the day.  We are five years old today!  I can hardly believe it.  In these pages, I have stumbled, fallen, picked myself up, soared to new heights only to plummet back down to earth once again – and you’ve been there to watch it happen, sometimes offering a kind word of encouragement and, sometimes, a poke in the ribs.  I’m proud that these words have remained true (through my lens) and unedited, no matter how crazy or unattractive they have made me look.  You’ve seen my culinary and relationship triumphs – along with the disasters (and typos).  Thank you for sticking by me – I hope we make it to 10.