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>Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake

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I have been in a funk. A baking funk that is. I love to bake and most of the time I have a long list of items I want to try and make. Recently though I felt so pressured to bake what other people wanted that I wasn’t baking for my own enjoyment anymore. When it comes to paid orders I’m obviously completely happy baking what the customer wants and I’m also happy doing that when it’s not a paid order, but recently it has become too much of what everyone else wants. I want to experiment with weird ingredients, new baking equipment, and challenging recipes. What everyone else wants seems to being boring traditional recipes. The other day I was out to lunch and ordered a strawberry lemonade and I thought to myself “what if I made a cake this flavor?”. So I set out to do it, and I made one heck of a cake. I may be getting out of the funk.

Cake
2 C A.P. Flour
1 1/2 C sugar
3 1/2 tsp. B.P.
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking two 9″ or 8″ round pans. Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed. Scrape down sides. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool. Once cooled slice each cake in half. Put the first piece of cake on a round 9″ or 8″ cake board. Fill a pastry bag with a medium sized tip with some frosting. Pipe around the edge the edge of the cake. Then fill with lemon curd. Then repeat for the next two layers. Then put the last piece on top. Do a crumb coat and then put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. Then take out and put final frosting layer on and decorate.

Lemon Curd:
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions:
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.
Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.
Strawberry Frosting:
2 C butter room temp
6 C confectioner sugar
2/3 C seedless strawberry jam
Directions:
In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together. Once combined at the jam and beat until combined.

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>Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

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Since I bake so much, I usually send the majority of baked goods either with my dad to work or sometime with my mum. Recently though I have started baking for my book group that comes over to my house. It’s really fun to bake new things for a new group of people. I had a whole towering plate of these and thought that I would have too many left over but to my surprise there were only two left. I think those two were eaten by my dad that night. The light bit of cream cheese swirled into the dark chocolate cake bites was a terrific combination.
Brownie Ingredients:

1/2 cup, 2 Tbls cocoa powder
1/2 cup, 2 Tbls flour
6 oz butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Topping:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Sift together cocoa powder and the flour. Melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, 2 at a time stirring after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, and cinnamon. Drop dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownies. Using  dull knife swirl the cream cheese mixture in. Bake for 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Enjoy.