Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Paula Deen’s General Robert E. Lee Cake


I was supposed either take care of the Easter appetizers or dessert. I don’t like making little decisions. Ask me where we should go out to dinner and I freeze. After lots of hmmm-ing and ha-ing, I decided on dessert because … I love desserts.
There were lots of lemons and lemon curd in my fridge, so I picked up Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible that I got for Christmas and looked up “lemon” in the index. After cruising a few recipes, I landed on the General Robert E. Lee Cake. YUM! Bada Bing Bada Boom! An idea was born!

I’m not gonna lie… it’s a tad time consuming. I may have heard a few “You’re STILL making that cake?!”… And I tried a little Malibu rum soak… well Hubby did it for me because I decided to sleep instead. We needed more rum because you couldn’t taste it.

Paula Deen’s General Robert E. Lee Cake
Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients for the Cake:DSC03288
2 sticks (8 oz) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
4 large eggs
3 cups cake flour, sifted
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting:
4 sticks (1 pound) butter, cut into small bits, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, strained
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt

1. Make the lemon curd ahead of time. Paula Deen has a recipe for Lemon Curd with this cake, but just use Lani’s. It’s an easy, tried and true recipe.

2. When you’re ready to make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9” round cake pans with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Cut out three 9” parchment paper and line the bottoms of the pans.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to incorporate all the sugar into the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg is added to thoroughly combine.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat one-third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Beat in half the buttermilk mixture. Continue beating in the mixtures, alternating them and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl down occasionally.

5. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, peel off the parchment paper, and let them cool completely before frosting.

6. While the cake layers are cooling, make the buttercream frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon juice and orange juice until combined, about 1 minute. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

7. Bring a medium saucepan of water to barely a simmer. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld mixer, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt at medium speed. Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water and whisk by hand constantly until the mixture registers 140 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Set the bowl back on the mixer and beat at high speed until the mixture has cooled and soft peaks form, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the creamed butter, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth.

8. Once the cake layers are cool, assemble the cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate, with the flat bottom side facing down. Spread the lemon curd filling over the surface of the cake. Top with another cake layer, inverted, so the bottom of the cake is facing up. Spread the remaining lemon curd filling over this cake layer. Place the remaining cake layer, also inverted, on top. Spread the buttercream frosting over the top and sides of the cake. The go on ahead and invite the ladies over for some tea and cake!

Would you like some glamour shots of my cake?
Recipe - Robert E Lee Cake
I got these cute little decorator thingys from my mom, I think as a stocking stuffer, a few years ago. Sure…let’s break those out for Easter 2012. Why not?! Well, my cake decorator skillz are lacking. Subpar. and after my little flower rim and scallop thingy, I was like eh… what can we use to spruce this mess up? How about some thinly sliced oranges and lemons since their juices are inside! Done. And thus a much prettier concoction was born.

DSC03294As with any recipe… the resident toddler in our house is a good indicator of my success. I think he liked it… He wanted to show me how good it was. Or maybe he was growling at me. These days it’s hard to tell.

What did you make for your Easter/Passover/Spring-y festivities? I will definitely make this cake again, but there will be more rum next time. Oh yes. There will be rum.

1 comment:

  1. The cake was DELISH! Thank you for sharing with us. I had no idea you had mad baking skills!


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