Mascarpone Lemon Cloud Cake

Be careful, this hummingbird of a cake may just fly away, it's so light and airy.  This hybrid between an angel food and an Italian cheesecake melts away the second it hits your tongue, coating your buds with the gentle tartness of fresh lemon and mascarpone.  This is a delightful way to end any meal, especially those heavy gut busters that require a delicate, sweet cap to the evening.

I also send you a gentle reminder that the Vermont Creamery giveaway is nearing an end...if you comment here or on the original link, you'll be entered to win a Vermont Creamery Creme Fraiche gift basket to kick off your holiday baking.



For the crust

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

6 tablespoons, very cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons cold water

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

For the batter

1 eight ounce container mascarpone (I use Vermont Creamery)

1 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

4 tablespoons cornstarch

8 eggs, separated

2/3 cup sugar

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt


For the crust

•Preheat the oven to 350┬║.

•In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt and zest.

•In another, small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, water and lemon extract.

•Using a box cheese grater, grate the butter on top of the flour mixture.  Using the tips of your fingers, gently massage the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal.

Grated butter!

•Stir in the liquid ingredients and continue stirring until the dough looks barely moist.

•Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently turn the dough over a few times, pressing down down, to incorporate the dry flour into a smooth dough and then wrap in the plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

•Line the bottom of an 9" round or square springform with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Crumble the dough into the bottom of the springform and gently press the dough into an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Freeze for 10 minutes and then bake for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough just begins to lose it's raw dough sheen.  Allow to cool completely.

•Wrap the sides of the springform in aluminum foil, I use quite a few layers to insure that the water bath we bake the cake in doesn't seep through and soak the crust and cake.

•Set the foil wrapped pan into a deep baking dish.  Set aside.

For the batter

•Combine the milk, mascarpone and butter in a small saucepan and set over low heat, stirring until the butter and mascarpone have melted entirely.  Whisk the flour and cornstarch into the mixture until smooth.  Allow to cool and then whisk the egg yolks, zest and extract into the mixture until smooth.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl, set aside and allow to cool completely.

•In the bowl of stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar.  Whisk until the egg whites turn foamy.  Slowly add the sugar, very slowly, and continue mixing on high until the egg whites have quadrupled in volume, are stiff, white and shiny.

•Transfer 1/4 of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and stir to lighten the batter.  Transfer the remaining whites to the bowl and GENTLY fold the whites into the batter until no white streaks remain.  Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and pour boiling water into the baking dish so that the water just reaches half way up your foil wrapped pan.

Batter in pan!

•Transfer carefully to the oven.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, until the cake has puffed and browned and a toothpick comes out clean.  Turn the oven off and open the doors slightly.  Allow the cake to come to room temperature in the cooling oven.

OPTIONS!  If you transfer about 1/3 cup of batter to a small bowl, add a teaspoon or two of raspberry puree (any puree for that matter) to flavor and color the batter.  Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fit with a small open tip and pipe circles around the perimeter and the inside of the top of the batter.  Drag a wooden skewer through the batter to create hearts.

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