Thursday, March 15, 2012

mini layer cakes

This past weekend was my friend, Natalie's bridal shower. I'm so honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and can't believe it's almost here! Kay Lee designed the event and it was absolutely beautiful. I love me a party, so I jumped at the chance to help with whatever I could.

I created the floral arrangements and brought in all the desserts for the dessert table (I'll be guest blogging about both over on Mint Love Social Club next week!).

In regards to the dessert - my favorite meal of the day - I knew they had to fit 2 qualifications:
1. Utterly girly, by Natalie's request
2. Individual sized portions - Natalie and I both agree that it's so much easier for guests to grab a small, portioned out dessert, rather than cut into a giant cake or pie

Lately, there's been countless blog posts about mini layer cakes baked in tin cans. I played around with some flavor profiles and came up with a mini lemon chiffon cake with lemon curd whipped cream and a raspberry garnish. Light and fluffy, dainty, and just the right amount of girly for a bridal shower.

You absolutely must make this for your next birthday party, bridal shower, or "YAY, it's Friday party." They're simple, delicious, use a boxed cake mix, and the cake portion can be made 2 days in advance. It's sort of the perfect dessert.

Mini Layer Cakes
recipe from Cake Mix Doctor Cupcakes book
(makes 9 - I doubled this for the party)

1 box lemon cake mix (I used - and loved - Duncan Hines)
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 eggs
2/3 cup lemon curd, divided (Dickinson's was delicious)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
6 clean 10 1/2 oz. tin cans, buttered and floured

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Empty the contents of the tin cans. Remove their paper labels and thoroughly wash and dry. Using room temperature butter (or just throw some cold butter in a bowl and toss in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds), butter the insides of the can. Throw some flour in the cans and gently shake around. Discard excess flour.

Mix the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and 1/3 cup lemon curd until smooth and thoroughly mixed through. Pour equal amounts of cake mix into the cans. Plans cans on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes).

Allow cakes to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Using a knife, carefully cut around the edge of the cake, right where it brushes up against the can. Turn the can upside down and gently help the cake out of the can. Cut the cake into 3 equal layers.

To store the cake, place layers on a baking sheet and separate each row of layers with plastic wrap. Tightly wrap the entire baking sheet of cake layers and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Using a mixer, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and 1/3 cup curd until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cakes, place one cake layer on a surface, spread about 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of lemony whipped cream. Place another cake layer on top and spread another 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of lemony whipped cream. Garnish with raspberries.

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