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VOL. 40 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 15, 2016

Forecast: Sunny, a chance of lemon burst

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If you have children (or grandchildren), I’m sure you have heard of or seen the Disney movie “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs.” Today my recipe is “Sunny with a chance of lemon burst,” and it’s anything but hot.

If I were a movie critic and writing a review about this cake, I would say: “This frozen dessert is the most luscious, lemony-flavored creation to come out of the kitchen ever. You can expect layer upon layer of chilling, scrumptious flavor. Every bite makes your tongue tingle and your tummy glow with cool satisfaction. No rotten tomatoes here. All sunny smiles. Family and guests will be amazed and talking about it. It promises to be an icebox hit. You must make this cake.”

So, you would surely make this cake after such a raving review, no? Who doesn’t want their family or guests pushing away from the table with smiles on their faces and thinking that you are a master chef?

I love lemons and lemon trees. Have you ever smelled the flower of a lemon tree? Like the song says, “lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet…” It is quite a heavenly scent.

I have been growing a lemon tree indoors for a little more than a year. I have harvested one lemon from it, which was exciting and so much fun.

Lemon Burst Frozen Cake

For the cake:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Yellow food coloring (optional)
1 10 ounce package shortbread cookies
1 tablespoon dry instant cheesecake or vanilla flavored pudding mix, divided
For the frosting:
2-cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon dry instant cheesecake or vanilla flavored pudding mix,  
divided
Sugared lemon zest for garnish (see note)

Cake: Line a 9x5-inch baking dish (a bread loaf pan) with plastic wrap and set aside. Make sure the wrap overlaps the edges of the pan. Don’t skip this step; it is crucial for removing the cake from the pan.

In a large bowl whip the two cups of the heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add half (1/2) cup of the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of pudding mix. Whip until stiff peaks form. Place in refrigerator until needed.

In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add food coloring if desired for a bright yellow color. Stir until combined. Fold half of the whipped cream into the lemon and milk mixture; set aside.

Layer half of remaining whipped cream into bottom the pan, smoothing into an even layer. Spoon half of lemon mixture on top of whipped cream, smoothing layer. Top with a layer of cookies, breaking them if necessary to make them fit. Repeat layers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours, or overnight.

Frosting: Combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and pudding mix in a large, chilled bowl. Whip with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. 

Remove cake from freezer; grab the edges of wrap to remove from the pan. Flip over and gently remove wrap. Frost with whipped cream frosting and sprinkle with sugared lemon zest. Serve and enjoy!

Note: To sugar lemon zest, simply add a bit of sugar to a small bowl and then stir in zest. Shake off excess sugar, and carefully transfer zest to a cookie sheet to dry for 15 minutes. Shake off any remaining excess sugar.

However, the excitement and fun was short-lived, as it was gone with a single pluck. I would have had more, but last summer I put it out on the patio and a hailstorm brutally slayed the others.

It now has 18 lemons on it. I’m anxious to harvest them, and you can bet if a hailstorm comes again this summer, I will be running out to protect those babies! I’m not quite sure how, but I will do it.

My lovely, sweet-smelling tree is getting taller, heavier and more difficult for me to lug around, so I think I may plant it in the yard this fall.

Maybe if I mulch it really good and cover it through the winter it will survive.

The key to successfully making this cake is perfect whipped cream. This isn’t hard, but there are a few hints to ensure you get good results. If you are a novice at whipping cream and afraid to take the chance thinking it will not turn out, just follow these few suggestions.

First, make sure the utensils and bowls are very clean. I always re-wash and dry mine. Then make sure they are cold, cold, and cold! I place my beaters and bowl in the refrigerator before I start whipping.

A good way to stabilize whipped cream for frosting is to use dry pudding mix instead of shortening or gelatin. This method really helps to make your whipped cream perfect – plus it is an extra flavor boost!

Another flavor boost is the zest on top of the cake, which is optional. But if you use it, it gives an extra lemon burst! I prefer it – but then I’m all about lemons!

Anyway that is my lemon story – if you were wondering. And here is my lemon no-bake cake. No-bake makes this cake even better.

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

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