Paris is a city of moderation. Her inhabitants skip dinner to atone for the morning’s croissant aux amandes, limit their wardrobes to shades of black, grey and blue and rarely have more than three rounds of drinks on a Saturday night.
Even the Parisian weather deals in moderation. The sunny days of summer are balanced by a cloudy, grey film that covers the city from early November until late February. For the most part, the city’s sense of self-restraint suits the grey and understatedly elegant Hausmannian architecture. Against this sombre backdrop Halloween feels inappropriate. Eating candy by the cauldron-shaped bucketload certainly flouts the tenets of Paris’ beloved self-discipline.
But that’s exactly why Halloween is the best holiday; it’s ugly overindulgence at its finest. Every year, I wait with bated breath for October to begin and to grace us with autumn’s last hurrah, also known as a chance to live my life dressed like the cookie monster, ingest far too much sugar and watch The Shining one more time.
This cake can hold its own amidst all the excesses of Halloween. Three layers of zesty lemon cake are slathered with a sweet orange and lemon buttercream. This fresh, citrusy cake serves as a welcome contrast to all the candy and chocolate the season provides.
Lemon Cake with Lemon and Orange Frosting:
Makes one 16cm, 3 layer cake (6-8 people)
Before you start:
- You will need three 16cm baking tins for this recipe.
250g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.5 tsp baking powder
Juice of 2 large lemons
Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Butter and flour baking tins.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Separate the egg yolks and whites.
- Measure flour, baking powder and lemon rind in a separate bowl.
- Add melted butter and lemon juice, stir until the batter is smooth.
- Beat the egg whites to soft peaks and gradually incorporate half of sugar (150g).
- Beat the egg yolks with remaining sugar until lighter in color.
- Stir the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture.
- Gently fold in the egg white mixture.
- Separate the batter into the three baking tins and bake for about 30 minutes, or test for doneness with a knife or toothpick.
- Allow to cool before unmolding.
Lemon and Orange Buttercream
Adapted from this recipe.
225g butter, softened
3 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp lemon zest
850g powdered sugar
5 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
- Beat the butter until fluffy, then whisk in the orange and lemon zests.
- Beat in a fourth of the powdered sugar and then combine with a fourth of the orange and lemon juices.
- Repeat until all powdered sugar and juice has been incorporated.
- Adjust the texture of the icing by adding powdered sugar or water.