I hate coconut but I love the idea of those vanilla cakes showered with coconut and in the shape of little lambs for Easter.
You know what I’m talking about, right? My grandmother had these molds that turned plain vanilla cake into a farm scene. The lamb shaped cake was then slathered in frosting and fistfuls of shredded coconut. I honestly don’t remember anyone ever eating the cake during all of those childhood Easter Sundays but the lamb cake was a fixture for years. There was also once a purple Barney the dinosaur cake but it wasn’t an Easter dessert and I think we actually ate it.
Memories taste delicious but coconut still doesn’t. It reminds me of eating sunscreen and I love a sunny day at the beach but not in my mouth. White chocolate, now that’s a different story. When grated it looks just like the offending coconut but doesn’t ruin a dish like sand in your sandwich does.
White chocolate is pretty sweet but the zing of lemon in the cake adds balance. A bed of blueberry preserves cushions a second cake layer and then the whole thing is hidden underneath vanilla buttercream and the white chocolate.
The batter for the lemon cake is a twist on a vanilla cake recipe but I decreased the sugar to compensate for the sweetness in the frosting and chocolate, and added a pile of lemon zest and bunch of juice. The only thing that really caught me off guard about the recipe was the five eggs that were incorporated into the batter.
The two sticks of butter are also much but remember this makes a two layer lemon cake or two dozen lemon cupcakes, so the butter is spread out. I think next time I’d add more zest to bring out the lemon flavor even more.
If you’re making this recipe as a cake or cupcakes you need to let the cakes cool before dealing with the jam and frosting. Once cool you then spread a half cup of jam across one cake layer. You should do this on whatever you’re going to serve the cake because it’s going to get hard to start moving the cake once you start adding things. Then place the second cake layer on top of the jam.
If making as cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a divot into the cupcake and fill with a teaspoon of jam and replace the top.
The frosting is a basic buttercream but I again dialed back the sugar to compensate for the sweetness of the white chocolate. The finished cake is on the sweeter side so instead of slathering the vanilla buttercream all over the lemon cake you could only do the top or go thinner on the sides so the cake layers peek out a little bit.
I went crazy and added all of the frosting but would probably hold back next time and maybe only add half. I also ate this for breakfast so that might have helped shock my taste buds with sweetness.
Initially I wanted to cover the cake with grated chocolate so it still looked like the coconut flakes on the original lamb cake but wasn’t gross coconut. I put the white chocolate in the freezer for 15 minutes to get the chocolate really cold so it wouldn’t come apart and melt when it met the grater.
Well this worked and grating the chocolate made for really fine flakes but it took forever and I have no patience.
So I switched to roughly chopping the chocolate. The texture is going to be different and it will look different but it’s not wrong. The grated chocolate looks a little more refined and the chopped chocolate is “rustic” aka a little messy but you say it’s supposed to be that way!
Most food I make looks more rustic than refined but it still tastes good.
Whatever you do with the chocolate, either grate or chop, pat the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate so it sticks to the frosting. Again, my chocolate patting skills lean more towards rustic instead of refined so some parts of the cake have patchy bits of chocolate and other sections are overloaded. But I’m sure you’re much more capable of putting chocolate on a cake and if you’re not, it will look fine.
- 16 tbsp butter, room temperature
- Zest from two lemons
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1 ⅓ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 ¾ cups all purpose flower
- 1 tbs baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
- 16 unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 4 oz. white chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 9-inch cake tins with parchment paper.
- Zest the lemons and juice one and set aside.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and lemon zest and juice on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl.
- Add sugar ½ cup at a time while the mixer is running.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time and then scrape down the bowl again when all of the eggs have been added.
- Add milk and mix again until incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter.
- Divide the batter into the two cake pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
- Let cool in pans for 20 minutes. Then invert the pans onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer: beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Then slowly add the confectioner's sugar. You can't dump it in all at once or else the sugar will go flying everywhere.
- Once the sugar has been incorporated, add the milk, vanilla and pinch of salt and mix again.
- Finely chop or grate white chocolate. This is easiest if your chocolate is very cold. I leave it in the freezer while I'm making the cake and frosting.
- Place one of the cake layers on your serving dish and spread the blueberry preserves across the layer, making sure you get all the way to end of the cake.
- Gently place the second layer on top of the preserves.
- Frost the cake using an off-set spatula. I add all of the frosting to the top of the cake and then spread it down to the sides. The frosting is easiest to spread when it's room temperature.
- Then gently pat the sides and top of the cake with the grated or chopped white chocolate.
- Pop the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm things up and get the chocolate to stick to the frosting.