In Which My Sister’s Friends Come to Help Out…

Lemon and mixed-berry layer cake

My sister’s friend asked me sweetly enough if I could teach her how to bake after seeing the snapshots of homemade goodies I posted on Facebook.  When I agreed, she and another of my sister’s friends stopped by earlier today to enjoy a few homemade sweets.

Most women of my generation and those slightly younger (thirty-somethings and twenty-somethings) were never pressured by our mothers to learn how to cook or bake.  Most of my generation grew up with moms who were more focused on corporate / professional work as opposed to the home chores of their mothers and grandmothers before them.  We never felt any pressure to learn how to cook; in fact, most of us activelychose to learn how to cook and bake for the simple reason that we just love food – period.

Thanks to food bloggers across the archipelago, home baking has gained popularity over the past few years.  It really feels good to know that younger women actually do  ask us older girls to share our recipes and show them how to make these treats on their own.

Frosting cakes is an easier job when there's two of you involved.

This afternoon, the girls and I whipped up an excellent lemon and mixed-berry layer cake with a rich ganache frosting the top, middle, and sides.   This particular treat is actually a variant of my Sky at Dusk and Summer Morning Birthday cakes, which is to say it’s another gateau yaourt (French-style yogurt cake).

I mixed up the cake and the ganache as the young ladies watched; they took care of frosting it.

Shortbread is ALWAYS nice...

Afterwards, we baked up a batch of my equinox shortbread, topping it with grated white chocolate instead of the usual dark choc for a lighter touch after the rich layer cake.

Cake? What cake?!

Needless to say that a good time was had by all.

Lemon and Mixed Berry Layer Cake

  • 1 small container strawberry or mixed-berry yogurt + enough milk to make 1 cup
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon lemon flavoring or finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Grease and flour two 8-inch circular cake tins; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the lemon flavoring and stir until the mixture is well-blended.  Sift in half the flour and pour in half the yogurt mix; stir well.  Add the remaining flour and yogurt mix; mix well.  Combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir into the batter until well combined.

Divide the batter into the prepared tins.  Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or till a tester poked into the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes.  Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.

Frost with a classic ganache or your choice of frosting.  I should state here that a cream cheese frosting would also work as well.

Serves 12.