Friday, January 22, 2010

Rosie Makes Her Birthday Cake.

Mr. Hawthorne is organizing a surprise birthday party for me tomorrow and offered to bake a cake for me on Saturday, the day of the party, since he's working today. After what happened last year (THAT WAS MAMA HAWTHORNE'S FAVORITE VIDEO), I told him not to worry, I'd make the cake today. Easier than cleaning batter off my ceiling. Plus we have guests arriving at 3 o'clock. And I have a lot of cleaning up to do. Also the guy from Outer Banks LP Gas is coming at 9 tomorrow morning to install our new gas fireplace. Whoot! Knowing my inordinate love of lemons, he suggested a lemon cake. I had just the ticket. I have The Grecian Plate Cookbook, compiled by The Hellenic Ladies Society of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church of Durham, NC. I'd made their recipe for Pantespani before. Pantespani is a light lemon sponge cake that melts in your mouth. I did a little Googling and found the same recipe online here.
Lemon Sponge Cake (Pantespani) 5 eggs, separated 1 cup sugar 1 cup cake flour 1 1/4 tsp baking powder 1 lemon rind, grated 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup butter, melted Beat egg yolks and sugar several minutes until light and creamy. Sift dry ingredients together and gradually add to batter. Add lemon rind and vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold gently into batter. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. Spoon melted butter evenly over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Slowly spoon cooled syrup over hot cake. Syrup 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/4 cups water juice of 1 lemon Combine all ingredients and gently boil for 5-7 minutes, or until candy thermometer reaches 205 degrees. OK. I didn't really understand that part. Boiling occurs at 212 degrees, doesn't it? I just gently boiled for 5-7 minutes, let it sit and cool a bit while the cake was cooking, then just poured the syrup over top.
Start out with bright yellow egg yolks and start beating.
Gradually add in sugar, beating for several minutes, until the yolks are very light colored.
Add in the sifted cake flour and baking powder, gradually, beating.
Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and beat until incorporated.
1 tsp of vanilla
Grated rind of one lemon.
Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.
Whup up egg whites. Now, here's a Rosie tip for you: When a recipe tells you to separate your eggs, one must be very diligent. There should be nary a speck of yolk in the whites. There should be absolutely no water. If there's any yolk or water in the whites, the whites won't whip up. So if you use your beaters, first, for the yolk batter, (as I did) and wash and dry them, be sure they are absolutely dry. No moisture whatsoever. Also, egg whites obtain more volume when they're at room temperature. It's the opposite for heavy whipping cream. When I'm making whipped cream, I put both my bowl and my beaters in the freezer before beating. Cream obtains more volume when everything's chilled. You're welcome. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
I believe I have stiff peaks now. Heh heh. That sounded naughty.
Gently fold the whites into the rather sticky, dense batter.
Pour into a buttered and floured 9 x 13 pan.
Smooth out. I love my offset knife. I can smooth and ice anything with it. Mostly I use it for measuring dry ingredients. When I scoop and sweep with dry measuring cups, I use this as my sweeper to take the excess off the sugar or flour cup.
Ladle melted butter evenly over top of batter. Place into 350 degree oven. Bake 25-30 minutes. About 10-12 minutes into baking, go outside. Breathe in fresh air. Go ahead. Take several deep breaths. Walk back inside. Sniffsniff. It's lemoney and buttery. And it's delightful. Make the syrup.
Syrup 1 1/4 cups water 1 1/2 cups sugar juice of 1 lemon
Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Who knows what the temperature is? It sure ain't 205 degrees.
Evenly ladle syrup over cake.
I got tired of ladeling so I started pouring.
Now, I ask you. Should I make homemade vanilla ice cream tomorrow morning to go with the cake?


Donna-FFW said...

Happy Happy Happy Birthday, my dear friend.

Your cake sounds divine , I will try it, and make the ice cream is my vote.

Happy Birthday to you!!!!
Big platonic hugs and kisses.

Debbie said...

Happy birthday!!!
at least Mr. Hawthorne TRIES. The Handyman has never made me a birthday cake in all of our 31 and a half years of marriage.
It's a joke now.... but.....
and homemade vanilla ice-cream? Go for it!!

Marilyn said...

Happy Birthday, Rosie!