Around the World in 28 Cakes: Italian Lemon Cream Cake
Think you can't have cake for breakfast? Think again! This Italian breakfast cake is just the right amount of sweet to pair with your morning coffee or, if you're going full on Roma, with a shot of espresso.
After graduating from college, my mom took me on a trip of a lifetime to Rome. We stayed in the shadow of the Colosseum, traipsed through every ancient site in the city, saw every amazing piece of artwork, and soaked in the city by foot. Seeing the ancient city was absolutely breathtaking and we walked for miles. When we needed a rest, we'd find a cafe or restaurant, slip into a seat, and literally feast. Italians know how to do it up, no matter when or with what, and I still salivate thinking about every meal. Grilled vegetables, creamy polenta, spicy pasta with a bite, fluffy pizza like clouds, and fried zucchini flowers: every single meal was magical.
What I found out was that Italians don't really do cake for dessert. Oh, sure, there's tiramisu and cannolis and my favorite, gelato. Instead they'll slice up a light and fluffy cake for breakfast along. That's right up my alley; I like to start my day with something sweet. For my sixth cake in my Around the World in 28 Cakes, this Italian Lemon Cream Cake was the perfect way to relive my trip to Italy.
One of the things I love about this cake recipe besides that you can eat it for breakfast is how easy it is. The ingredients are usually in the pantry: butter, powdered sugar, a lemon. I really only had to run out to the store to pick up heavy cream since I rarely use it (you know, working on that summer bod...) The powdered sugar is one of my favorite parts of this recipe. Using powdered sugar instead of the typical white granulated sugar preferred in most breakfast cake recipes gives the cake a lighter sweetness to it and a much softer texture. Mixed in with the cream, it is just light and fluffy and airy.
To make the cake, there are only a few steps to creating this effortless and delicious cake. First you'll combine your sugar and eggs to make a fluffy mixture that you'll add into the dry ingredients while alternating with the cream. The only "tricky" part is making sure that you don't over mix; it's all about that sweet and easy fold. That's always tricky for me since I'm always in a rush and just want to mix it all together like a crazy human mixer.
The final step is folding in the lemon zest, a little bit of lemon juice, and vanilla. In case you didn't notice, this is the part that gives this cake its flavor. And like any good breakfast cake, it's just a bit sweet, a bit tart, with just enough oomph to get you through the day. FYI for those of you who aren't cake-in-the-morning connoisseurs.
There is nothing like taking a trip to Italy. The sites, the sounds, the smells, and the food: it's all so amazing. But if you can't get there right now, this Italian Lemon Cream cake will make it feel like you're sipping your cappuccino and listening to the honking horns of an Italian city with every bite.