Sunday, March 16, 2014

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food!

Fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. The solution is to purchase local, organic food from farmers that value their soil. Know your farmer, know your food! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lemon Mascarpone Layer Cake

2 cups superfine sugar
3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup salted butter (room temperature)
1 cup whole milk (room temperature)
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 large lemon (zest and juice)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 round cake tins. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Sift flour and baking powder. Combine milk and lemon juice. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon curd, and zest to combine followed by eggs one at a time, beating well in between. 

Add flour and milk mixture, alternately to the batter, making sure to start with flour end with flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a stick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans to cool completely. 

Mascarpone Lemon Frosting:
2 small tubs mascarpone cream (room temperature)
1 cup fresh lemon curd
1 32 oz bag powdered sugar

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat mascarpone and lemon curd until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

Slice each layer in half. Place one cake layer (golden side down) on a cake platter. Spread a third of the filling evenly over the layer, leaving the outer edge of the cake bare. Repeat with another cake layer (again, golden side down), applying just a bit of pressure so the layers adhere, and then spread on another third of the filling. Repeat the process until you get to the final layer. Cover the cake in frosting. Enjoy!

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