I am a really, really lazy pastry chef. I rarely finish a dessert in its intended form; you ask me to make a layer cake and you’re going to get filled cupcakes. Sure, I know how to layer cakes and set things up, but the actual execution usually ends up off course entirely. It will still taste good, but I’m not one to serve or eat bad desserts. So fast forward to the last few days, when I decided I would field test two cookbooks sitting on my shelves, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.
Picking out the ice cream recipe was an easy enough choice. We were at Whole Foods in search of bacon and the strawberries smelled fantastic, so I also grabbed cream and buttermilk to make the roasted strawberry and buttermilk ice cream. Selecting a recipe from Alice Medrich’s cookbook was a tougher decision, but I settled on a lemon layer cake as I like cake and had lemons laying around. Once I set up the ice cream, I made the curd and the vanilla cake, which were both ridiculously easy to make. But things looked wrong from the oven with the cake; it wasn’t getting much height. It did turn out dense – not hockey puck, but thicker than pound cake. (My roommate loved it.) I blamed old baking powder and tried again.
At this point I realized I only had enough heavy cream to make the second cake and not finish the full dessert. (The cake had to cool, then get filled with a mixture of lemon curd and whipping cream.) It was the 4th of July; I had no interest in shopping or really going anywhere. The lemon layer cake just wasn’t going to happen, and I wanted dessert.
So, I had cake. The first cake may have been ridiculously dense, but I had ice cream and lemon curd. That’s a parfait. Lemon curd on plate, cake and ice cream to top. Done.
The second cake was lighter, but still a close cousin to pound cake. At this point I was better prepared, and threw some strawberries in a pot to boil, adding strawberry sauce to my dessert.
It wasn’t lemon layer cake, and it will probably be years before I remember to try to make it again. But I don’t feel like my stomach got slighted on account of whipping cream.