The Quest for Perfect Butter Cream

Lemon & White chocolate Opera Cake (Gluten Free)

In honor of my Dad turning 70 today, I decided to bake him a Lemon Opera Cake. He’s in pretty good shape – wakes up at 6am every morning to swim 60 lengths & half an hour of weights before he goes to bed. He does however have a very sweet tooth – dinner with my parents is a multi-course affair with my dad bringing out a tray of continental chocolates followed by a box of almond thins, then the heated Mr Kipling pies doused in brandy…and my dad will continue with his nightcap of ovaltine sweetened with honey & digestive biscuits.

I had another go at making this challenging cake; I was so determined to get it right this time! I decided to blow the dust off of my mother’s retro Kenwood kitchenette as I was all out of elbow grease.

I still had troubles with my butter cream frosting. I heated ½ cup of sugar with 1/8 cup water to form a bubbly syrup & then added it to one beaten egg. I continued to whisk this for 5mins, then added in 1/3 cup dairy-free margarine, 1 tbsp lemon rind & 1 tbsp lemon juice. It somehow still looked very liquid but I thought maybe it’ll firm up in the fridge. Half an hour of chilling and it had become congealed…poooo! Had I not heated the sugar syrup long enough? Or should I have used unsalted butter instead of margarine? It’s a partial solar eclipse tomorrow so maybe the angle of the earth in relation to the sun has something to do with it?

I ended up pouring off the liquid & adding a cup of sifted icing sugar to the butter. Seemed to do the trick, but I would love to know what I’m doing wrong.

Alas, my challenge is not over just yet, I’ve got the task of transporting this cake on a 3hr journey from London to my parent’s home in Oxford tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t melt in the heat…But even if it does, there’ll still be the box of chocolates, biscuits & pies to rescue me.

my dad & his younger self

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