Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What have I been up to?

I am not a blogger yet.  I update about once a month, or less.  I am trying to be better at it.  

This year for Chrismtas I made homemade vanilla and bottled it up to give to friends.  I bought my vanilla at Vanilla, Saffron Imports.  I got about 100 beans for $25!  I have been making vanilla and giving it away like crazy!

Below is a cookie I am working on.  This was the first attempt.  It is a raspberry white chocolate chunk, dark chocolate chip cookie.  It needs a little work but it has great potential!

That's about it for now!

Cake Wrecks

If you haven't experienced Cake Wrecks then go NOW!  Leave my blog, and go.  It is the funniest site, ever!  Jen updates it daily with professional cakes gone wrong.  I have officially "wreckported" my first find.  This was a CCC (cupcake cake) made by Publix.  I will let you know if it gets accepted to the Hall of Fame at Cake Wrecks!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghost Poo

Well, my first attempt at making a carved caked was a total fail!  Ha ha.  I wanted to make it tapered like a topsy turvy cake.  Well, that sorta worked.  I filled it with a Kahlua mousse and topped it with buttercream.  So far, so good (not great, but good)

Then came the modeling chocolate.  Sounds simple... 10oz chocolate chips melted, 1/3cup corn syrup.  Mix, chill.  Mold.

This stuff turned to goo as soon as I touched it.  Then it hardened as soon as it hit the cake or I put it down.  My original plan for the cake was to have "fondant-type" circles and maybe fondant lollipops or a spider or two.  Simple.  Cute.

When the modeling chocolate failed I decided to go with it.  (Since it was already after midnight and I had work in the morning)  It would have taken less time to just make some marshmallow fondant and do it right.  So, I used the drippy chocolate to "drip" down the side of my cake.  Why?  I don't know.  It was late.  Then I decided I didn't like how the top of the cake looked so I ripped off some of the slime puddles (and cake and icing that had adhered to it)  Now I was left with a big hole.  Hmmmm, I thought, I should make a stand up ghost.

Word to the wise...NEVER MAKE A CHOCOLATE GHOST!!!!  

Now my cake has a giant turd with eyes and a creepy smile.  Great.  Oh well.  It's 1:30 am by now.  I go to put it in the outside fridge...It doesn't fit.  Solution?  Smash the turd down about an inch.  Now I have a smashed turd with smooshed eyes and a creepy smile.
This morning I open the fridge to find the cake has cracked around the turd in two places.  Oh well, I will either make a bit of marshmallow fondant tonight before the party to make a proper white ghost, or I will serve the turd cake in all its glory.

Please, enjoy.  And laugh.  I am!

Friday, October 24, 2008

French Toast Marshmallows

A few weeks ago I found this recipe on slashfood.com 

I had never attempted marshmallows but I had to give them a try.  My first batch were made with vanilla extract and a scrapped vanilla bean.  They were delicious!  Marshmallows are much easier to make than I thought.  

I am not a huge fan of marshmallows in general, or so I thought.  One bite of these babies and I am hooked!  Homemade marshmallows shouldn't even be compared to "JetPuffed" or the like.

So then the wheels started turning.  What kind of flavors could I use?  Chocolate didn't appeal to me since I prefer ooey gooey warm chocolate things than just a chocolate flavor.  With fall approaching I wanted to use a fallish flavor.  (I wouldn't know it was fall by the weather since in South Florida we only have two seasons: blisteringly hot, and hot.)  I decided that I needed maple marshmallows.  I had recently purchased maple extract from Vanilla, Saffron Imports.  I used close to a tablespoon.  I didn't measure.  I just did it by taste (sorry!)  Then I dusted them in the cornstarch/powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture.  

They were a hit!  People told me they tasted like French Toast with the maple and cinnamon flavors.

So thus was born the French Toast Marshmallow
(Don't forget to toast a few with the ole' Creme Brulee Torch!)

French Toast Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon maple extract 

Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate. 
Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly (Lightly greasing your hands and the spatula helps a lot here).  Refrigerate mixture for about an hour  (or let mixture sit out covered for a few hours, or overnight,) until cooled and firmly set.
In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon (or less, to taste) cinnamon. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar mixture. 
Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 40 large marshmallows, depending on the size you choose to cut them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred (updated 10-09)

I have seen this list on quite a few blogs recently and thought I would give it a go.  This list will reveal howunadventurous I am when it comes to food.  You will also discover that I hate seafood.

100 things every omnivore should eat at least once
Here’s what to do:
1) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

2) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (or turn red since i dont know how to do a strikethrough on blogger!)

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile 
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (updated 10-09.  raspberry wine.  delicious with really dark chocolate.  would go very well with a souffle.  Just a sipping wine though)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar 
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I'm sure i have unintentionally)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (i have never had a big mac and I don't think i ever will.  Don't get me wrong, I love fast food.  But I usually get chicken nuggets.  Yum!!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (YUM!)
60. Carob chips 
61. S’mores (homemade marshmallow are a must!)
62. Sweetbreads
63. kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs (when I was young.  I wouldn't eat them today)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (no, yes, no, yes!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho (sitting on the coast of spain overlooking the mediterranean with a pitcher of sangria...yes)
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost (looks tasty!)
75. Roadkill (I hope I haven't eaten it.  You never know with some restaurants!)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu (I wish!)
85. Kobe beef 
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Starbucks Salted Caramel Signature Hot Chocolate

The Starbucks website describes this drink as...This delicious sweet and salty combination brings together our rich, indulgent Signature Hot Chocolate and the flavors of buttery caramel and smoked sea salt. It is topped with whipped cream, a swirl of caramel and a sprinkle of our sea salt topping - a combination of artisan sea salt and Turbinado sugar from Hawaii.

I describe it as...amazing.  You must enjoy the whipped cream drizzled with caramel and sea salt first.  The salt and sugar topping is crunchy and powerful.  I was really only looking forward to the topping and I thought the "body" of the drink would be just like their regular hot chocolate with some caramel syrup in it.  Boy was I wrong.  The drink itself is a new blend of cocoas with a more sophisticated, European flavor.  The chocolate has a deeper, darker flavor and it isn't overly sweet.  I don't know what kind of caramel they put in it but it is heavenly.  The caramel flavoring is intense, buttery, and oh so tasty.

I highly recommend this drink.  I am craving one right now!  I was getting to the point of boredom with Starbucks, but they have redeemed their name!  THANK YOU STARBUCKS!  I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Iron Chef, Phase 2. Battle CHEESE

A co-worker and her husband wanted to throw an Iron Chef party and they thought of me as one of the chefs!  This event was very organized and a lot of fun.  

Here's how it went down...

There was a list of 5 ingredients (potato, prepared dough, cheese, bacon, and rice)  The day before the event we drew an ingredient (cheese!) and called the other two chefs.  We had all day Saturday to shop and plan.  We were to start cooking at 5:30.

My friend's kitchen is huge!  So it was no problem having 3 teams working away in there.  We had an hour and a half which was too much time for me but not enough for one of the other teams!

We had to plate one version of each of our 3 dishes.  Each guest had a score sheet.  Every dish was scored from 1-5 on taste, presentation, and originality.  The host then took all the score cards and entered them into an excel spreadsheet.  The winner was then announced...and then we ate more!

It was a great evening.  I hope you will enjoy the pictures!

The Winning Team

Horseradish Cheeseburger Panini on Asiago Cheese Bread with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Ricotta Blueberry Waffles with Cream Cheese Topping

Team Two

Baked Havarti Cheese

Ronnie's Famous Hamburgers

Sausage Cheese Balls

My Team!

Baked Brie with Caramel and Pecans

Baked Mac & Cheese

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle
(I will post the recipe someday!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What have I been up to?

I had a ton of pictures on my camera to blog about.  So here are a bunch of the misc. photos I had.  I have this problem, a lot of times I will take pictures while I bake but I will forget to take a picture of the finished product.  So, yeah...

This is a birthday cake I made for my boss who resigned 2 weeks later.  I didn't think it was THAT bad!  He he.  I made a flag to put in the hole.  I just never took a picture with it on!  The sand pit is crushed graham crackers.

Photos of "in the works" but no final photo!
Exhibit A - Baklava
Exhibit B - Caramel for Salted Caramel and Milk Chocolate Tarts (or whatever they are called)

Exhibit C - my "cake" plate!  (again, pre-fired.  I don't have a picture of the final product)
Exhibit D - I don't even remember what these two photos were from.  But this is adding vanilla to cream.  It just looked really cool.  The following is a double yolk!  I get really excited.  (the cup had some cream in it.  That's why it looks strange.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Iron Chef - Phase 1

A few months ago my family did an Iron Chef competition for dinner.   
We had two teams, the boys team and the girls team.  We all voted for a few different "secret ingredients" and then we drew one from a hat.  We all had 1/2 hour to come up with our recipe.  The ingredient was CITRUS! Then we all jumped in the car and went to the store.  We had a $40 limit.  We were to do one main dish and one side dish.

The girls did orange chicken over rice with ambrosia salad as a side.
The boys did citrus and rosemary pork chops with a vegetable side.
We all voted on presentation and taste.
The girls won because our dish was unmistakably citrus.  Although the boys dish was tastier!  

(that's me on the right)

So Iron Chef #1 was a success!!!

Daring Bakers August - Better Late Than Never!

So yeah, I'm not really good at deadlines.  I had these done mid August, I just never posted.  These were my tropical storm Faye project.  Ok, I won't post the recipe because everyone else has.  I will just post my results.


Ok, so you are probably looking for a little more info than yummmm.  
I had never made pate choux before.  I had no problems making it.  It was actually fun!  I piped the dough and put both sheets in the oven and rotated half way through.  Well, one sheet had perfectly puffed eclairs and the other sheet had half puffed and half FLAT!  It was strange.  But, they did not go to waste.  I was able to "inflate" them with the cream.

I made the chocolate pastry cream just like the recipe had it.  I thought it sounded great, so no need to make any changes.  

I had no problems making the cream.  The recipe said to cut the eclairs open and pipe in the cream.  Where's the fun in that?  I stuck a tip on my pastry bag and shoved it in an end of the eclair and filled that baby up!  Way more fun!

Then came the glaze.  I was confused about the glaze.  Make a sauce, then add x, y, z, and dip in the eclairs.  Ummmm yeah, I made a simple ganache and drizzled it on the eclairs.  Simple, delish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Cheesecake

I know, i haven't "blogged" in quite some time!  Not for lack of subject matter, just lack of time.  I never stop baking.  Just ask my family, friends, and co-workers who curse me when I "force" them to eat my treats!

A few MONTHS ago I made my first cheesecake.  It was a co-worker's birthday and he said that cheesecake was his favorite...so...I made a Turtle Cheesecake!

It had a chocolate crust, topped witha layer of melted caramels and pecans and then chocolate cheesecake.  It didn't even crack!  I didn't think it was done because it just wouldn't set up in the oven.  I left it in for like 20 minutes extra!

After it was cooled I added the chocolate ganache and pecans.  It was quite tasty.  The caramel layer was so good because it became a little chewy.  It's a keeper!

The Recipe was found here!

Turtle Cheesecake

24-26 Oreo (or store brand) cookies, crushed
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter

30 vanilla caramels
1/4 - 1/3 c. whipping cream


2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
2 (8 oz) pkgs neufchatel cheese
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c. whipping cream
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1/3 - 1/2 c. whipping cream
8 oz chopped chocolate

chopped pecans
caramel sauce (ice cream topping)
whipped cream

Stir together crust ingredients. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Heat caramels and whipping cream until caramels are melted and smooth. Pour into cooled crust, making sure you don’t spread it completely to the edge of the pan. Leave 1/4-inch band around the edge. Sprinkle liberally with pecans.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cheeses until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides often; don’t leave any lumps. Add the sugar and beat again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition, scraping the sides and being certain to incorporate any lumps from the bottom of the bowl. Add the whipping cream and melted chocolate and beat until smooth and evenly colored. Pour on top of pecans.

Bake at 325 F for 50 min with a pan of water on the rack below in the oven. Cool completely.

In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream until it simmers. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until completely melted. Spread over cheesecake.

Garnish with chopped pecans, caramel sauce, and whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight or until serving.

Friday, June 13, 2008


My beloved tastespotting.com,
Oh, how I loved thee. You inspired me on a daily basis. Just this past week I made something worthy of you and now I cannot post it. Please come back to us. We all miss you!

(Does anyone have any info on this? I am hoping it is just a Friday the 13th joke but it's not funny)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I've been tagged! First Time EVER!!!!

Ok, so I am pretty excited! April from Abby Sweets tagged me for a meme.

The rules: Each participant answers questions about himself. At the end of the post the participant tags 5 people. Their names are posted letting them know they’ve been tagged. They then have to read the participant’s blog. The tagged let’s the tagger know when he’s posted his answers.

Ok, now for the questions -

What was I doing ten years ago?
Well, I was 11. So, I was being homeschooled, taking ballet classes, dancing in the Nutcracker, and annoying my 2 brothers.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
Ummmm work!
1. After work I am going for a photo shoot with my mom for our new wedding design business.
2. eat dinner
3. watch So you Think you can Dance
4. go to bed.
That's only 4. Well, i need to drop some books off at the Library. There's five!

Snacks I enjoy:
Uh oh, ummmm anything that is bad for me.
1. Tender White Popcorn
2. Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips
3. Starbucks Iced Triple Grande soy extra caramel, caramel macchiatto.
4. McDonalds Hot Fudge Sundae
5. Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Things I would do if I were a billionaire: (mostly all selfish!)
1. Buy a house with a secret room and a ginormous closet (in NYC)
2. Pay for my friends and I to travel Europe
3. Start a bakery
4. Buy a large house for my sister-in-law so she can adopt many children (her dream)
5. Open a B&B

Places I have lived:
1. Sarasota
2. Naples (wow, this is getting personal)
I have lived in 7 houses in the greater Naples area, so I think i am done on this one!

Jobs I have had: (paid jobs?)
1. Media and lighting specialist at my old church
2. Ballet Teacher for 3-5 year olds
3. Graphic designer for a real estate company
4. Pampered Chef Consultant
5. Executive assistant at a bank (current)
...ummm some paid web design

Ok, now for tagging. Ummmm i am pretty new so i dont have 5 "blog friends" yet. So here are friends and people I stalk!

Colette at Colette's Bakery

Jennifer at Use Real Butter

Hannah at Bittersweet (of course when I went to her site her first post is about how much she dislikes memes! Oh well!)

Allison at Cinnamon Love

Bakerella at Bakerella

Thanks April!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daring Bakers - May Challenge

What an "opera"tunity!

The Daring Bakers are at it again. This month we took on the Opera Cake. The challenge was to create an Opera cake using only light, spring-y colors.

The cake consists of three layers of almond joconde with buttercream in between topped with an optional mousse and a ganache layer.

I chose to use raspberry and lime as my flavors. I added lime zest to the cake, made a lime simple syrup to moisten the layers, and then strained the juice from a bag of frozen raspberries to add to the buttercream (classy, right?) I used my own version of fool-proof, no-cook buttercream.

So here's the verdict:
Problems - I made the buttercream and then added the raspberry juice. It was about a 1/2 cup of extra liquid. This made the buttercream runny...So I added more sugar.
I attempted to make the mousse but when I added the almost cooled white chocolate to the whipped cream it turned very lumpy and greasy. So I tossed it! The cake didn't need it anyway. Other daring bakers said that they put the mixture into the fridge to set up and then re-beat it. They said it worked great. Oh well!
Taste - Too sweet. I am not a huge fan of white chocolate and the glaze was TOO sweet. The cake tasted the best when served cold. The raspberry and lime flavors were subtle but blended well.
Difficulty - This cake was much easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was forking out $10 for my almond flour. The joconde came together nicely. I just wish that I had baked them separatly rather than at the same time on different racks. The top one browned a little much on the top with a moist bottom and the bottom layer was too brown on the bottom with a very light top. The glaze poured on nicely. I chilled it and then trimmed the sides of the cake. It cut very well after being chilled.
Overall - Fun challenge...Thank you co-hosts Lis and Ivonne (daring bakers founders) and Franand Shea. I had always wanted to make an opera cake and here it is! I can't wait to make a more traditional one with chocolate and coffee flavors. THANK YOU!
*check out Ivonne's blog for the recipe.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Daring Bakers - March Challenge

I joined Daring Bakers and my first challenge was "The Perfect Party Cake"

We were allowed to play around with the recipe as much as we wanted but I stuck pretty close to it. I did use lemon curd as one of my filling layers instead of doing it all raspberry.

To be quite honest I thought the icing was a little heavy for the cake. I had never had a meringue based icing before. It was too buttery.

My layers didn't raise too much but i am now thinking that they aren't supposed to. I know that I cannot cut even layers now!

This cake was fun and it didn't last long at all! I wish I had done a different design on top. Maybe just a raspberry circle.

Lemon Curd Filling
Raspberry Filling

For the Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt1
¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract (I read this wrong and used vanilla instead)

For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one (I forgot this part), and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.

To Assemble the Cake
Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
Spread it with one third of the preserves.
Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream.
Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover).
Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top.
Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.

The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.

The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.

Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.

Fresh Berry Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.