Vanilla Cream-Filled Lemon Cakes are actually closer to a soft, lemony mini whoopie pie. Little rounds of lemon cake with a delicious vanilla bean cream in the middle.
This is a great recipe to make with your little chefs — or a class full of adults at my local Sur La Table. This recipe was originally published in a cookbook called “Southern Italian Desserts” by Rosetta Constantine with Jennie Schacht.
It has been close to a year since my friend Megan and I last attended a cooking class. So we agreed that learning how to make some southern Italian desserts was the right way to get back in the swing of things.
One of the things I love about cooking classes are the tips you get from the chefs. Chef Timothy Harley [@spoonfulls], let me peer over his shoulder and ask more than my fare share of questions as he led the class. So I learned a lot.
This recipe was pretty easy to make, and the nice thing is you can serve the finished product immediately, or you can plan ahead and store them in an airtight container for up to four days before sharing them with your family or friends.
One of the keys to this recipe involves a little pre-staging of ingredients. You will need to make the cream filling first, to allow it to cool before using it to fill the center of the cakes.
You will also want to bring your cake eggs out several hours in advance of when you want to use them so they are at room temperature. Lastly, I would also suggest that, if at all possible, you use vanilla paste and not extract for the pastry cream filling — the taste overall is better.
The last piece of prep work you will need is a piece of parchment paper and a small round cookie cutter (approximately 2″ in diameter). You want to take the cookie cutter and trace it’s outline onto the parchment paper, with a 1″ space between each circle. This will help you when you are ready to pipe out the cake batter before baking.
Ideally, you would put the parchment paper underneath a silicone baking mat where you can see the outlines through the mat, and then pipe the batter directly onto the mat. However, if this isn’t an option, you can just pipe directly onto the parchment paper.
I would suggest actually setting the vanilla cream-filled lemon cakes aside in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. This allows the glaze and filling to soak a little into the cakes, allowing the flavors to mingle even more. That said, they are also delicious fresh.
One recipe makes approximately 16 servings. Enjoy!