Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pink Lemonade Cake with Strawberry Cream

Valentine's Day is only a week away, so I turned my lemon cake "pink" for the occasion. The lightly sweetened cake and tart lemon filling (tinted with a few drops of optional food coloring) pairs beautifully with the rich, velvety strawberry cream frosting. Also, do you find yourself wanting to disguise your vegetables so the kids don't know they're eating them? What better place than to hide them in a delicious pastry! They will never know they're eating zucchini in every bite of this sweet treat.

The other thing I love about this cake is it's beautiful, pastel color. It was especially cold outside today and the combination of delicate fruit flavors in this spectacular dessert, along with it's spring-like appearance, just made me smile!

Pink Lemonade Cake with Strawberry Cream
(Makes 12 servings)

Lemon Filling Ingredients:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup cold water
1 egg yolk, beaten
¾ cup Splenda granular
Pinch salt
Zest from one small lemon (1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon butter
Juice from one small lemon (about 3 tablespoons or to taste)
3-4 drops of red food coloring (optional)

Cake Ingredients:
1¼ cups almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons light sour cream or buttermilk
¾ cup Splenda granular
2 teaspoons lemon extract
¾ cup finely grated zucchini, peeled of all green skin

Topping Ingredients:
2 tablespoons seedless, all-fruit strawberry jam
½ cup almond milk (original or unsweetened)
½ cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Splenda granular
1 tablespoon sugar-free strawberry syrup
2 tablespoons fat-free, sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix (dry powder)

1. To make filling, blend cornstarch, cold water, egg yolk, Splenda and pinch of salt in medium saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and beginning to boil. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir until butter is melted. Allow to cool for 4 minutes, add food coloring if you desire a pink color and stir again. Pour into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to touch the surface of the pudding mixture so skin doesn’t form on top. Place in refrigerator until completely cooled.

2. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in lemon zest and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat the eggs until light in color and increased in volume. Add sugar and continue beating until well combined. Slowly add the canola oil and beat on high for 1 minute. Add the sour cream, Splenda and lemon extract. Beat until well incorporated, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl at least once. Reduce speed and add the dry ingredients ¼ cup at a time until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the grated zucchini.

4. Pour into an 8-inch round cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and continue cooling on a wire rack for at least one hour.

5. Meanwhile make cream topping by first melting strawberry jam in almond milk over low heat or in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds on high. Stir to incorporate jam into milk. Set aside until cooled to room temperature. (If desired, place in refrigerator to hasten cooling.) Place mascarpone cheese in a large mixing bowl and add cooled almond milk mixture. Beat with a handheld or standing mixer on high until well combined and mixture is light and fluffy (it will resemble whipped cream). Add Splenda, strawberry syrup and continue to beat until incorporated. Add the 2 tablespoons of vanilla instant pudding powder and beat well. Place in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to set. Stir before spreading onto cake.

6. When cake is completely cooled, take a serrated knife and cut in half lengthwise and place bottom half, cut side up, onto a serving plate. Stir the lemon filling until smooth, spread on cake and place the remaining top half of the cake, cut side down, on top of filling. Spread strawberry cream over top and sides of cake like frosting. Store in refrigerator, but allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving of cake with lemon filling and cream topping: 266.5 calories, 20.9 g carbohydrate, 18.5 g total fat, 3.9 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 5.4 g protein.

Nutritional Information per serving of cake with only lemon filling (no cream topping): 212 calories, 17.8 g carbohydrate, 14.4 g total fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 1.6 g fiber, 4.8 g protein.

Nutritional Information per 1 tablespoon strawberry cream topping (recipe makes about 20 tablespoons): 32.2 calories, 1.8 g carbohydrate, 2.4 g total fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 0 g fiber, 0.4 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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