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Tasty Morsels: Sweet treat sure to put zest into Mother’s Day

By: Susie Iventosch, special to Home & Garden
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Mother’s Day is around the corner and there are lots of fun local adventures to take “Mom” on that weekend. You can opt for a whirlwind studio tour of several well-known local artists featured on the North Auburn Art Studios Tour, or stroll with the family on the Spring Wildflowers Walk to observe the blossoms along the Placer Nature Center trails in Auburn. If your mom is a garden lover, the Mother’s Day Garden Tour, sponsored by the Placer County Master Gardeners, will feature a one-day exclusive tour of six outstanding and diverse gardens sprinkled across Loomis and Granite Bay. For those who wish to treat “Mum” to tea, An Afternoon to Remember in Newcastle is featuring a special Mother’s Day Tea service with three sittings on Saturday, May 9 and two on Sunday, May 10. “We always have a special luncheon,” said Fran Swart, manager of the tea shop. The special Mother’s Day menu will include cold strawberry soup, scones, sandwiches and desserts. There’s also an appetizers. “It’s a very special day and we’re almost booked,” Swart said. And finally, if you’d like to treat your mom to a beautiful homemade cake, just follow the recipe directions below to create a lovely lemon cake or a fresh-squeezed orange juice cake. Both would make a delicious ending to the meal, whether you plan to cook at home, or head back for dessert after a nice dinner out on the town. Fresh-squeezed orange cake with orange curd filling and butter-cream frosting Cake 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 4 large egg whites ¾ cup water ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature 1 ½ cups granulate sugar 1-2 tablespoons orange zest (depending upon how much you like the zest flavor!) Place dries (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a bowl, stir well and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg whites on high-speed of an electric beater or in the KitchenAid, until stiff peaks form; set aside. Combine water and fresh-squeezed orange juice in a separate bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add orange zest and mix well. Alternately add flour mixture and juice mixture, beginning and ending with dries. Gently fold in beaten egg whites and spread into two, well-greased, 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until center springs back when touched. Cool completely, and cut each layer in half horizontally. Can make a day ahead and refrigerate. n Orange curd filling 2 large eggs 6 tablespoons sugar 6 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice 1 teaspoon grated orange zest Dash salt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter Mix eggs and sugar well. Add orange juice, orange zest and salt. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool before spreading over half-layers of cake. Fresh orange buttercream frosting 1 cube butter, softened to room temperature (1/2 cup) 4 cups powdered sugar Pinch of salt 1/4 cup-plus fresh-squeezed orange juice In a large bowl, cream butter with salt and half of the powdered sugar. Add orange juice a little at a time, adding remaining sugar to get to desired spreading consistency. Spread between whole layers and on top of cake. If you’re good at it, and you have enough frosting, spread remaining frosting on sides of cake. (I’m not that good, so I just frost in between layers and on top!) Lemon cake with lemon curd and pink lemonade cream cheese frosting Cake ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks) 1¾ cups granulated sugar 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest 3 large eggs ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 3 cups cake flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1½ cups buttermilk Line three 9-inch diameter cake pans with waxed paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar, butter and lemon peel in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice and mix well. Sift dries: flour, baking soda and salt into a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into batter alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter evenly into each of the prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes completely on cake racks. Cut each layer into horizontal halves and spread lemon curd in between each half. Spread frosting between each whole layer and on top of cake. (I leave frosting off the sides, because it is so pretty to see all six layers with the lemon curd and frosting in between the layers.) Garnish with thinly sliced oranges. Lemon curd filling 2 large eggs 6 tablespoons sugar 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 teaspoon lemon zest Whisk eggs and sugar in medium sauce pan. Add lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring all the while, until mixture begins to thicken and thermometer temperature reaches 165 degrees. Sauce will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and transfer lemon curd to a clean bowl and cool. When cooled, cover with plastic wrap directly on surface and chill until cold in refrigerator. Lemonade cream cheese frosting 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 5 tablespoons frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed 3 cups powdered sugar Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy and thoroughly mixed. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat well. Add lemonade concentrate and beat well. Add remaining powdered sugar, enough to make frosting the desired consistency. Spread frosting between whole layers of cake and on top. Garnish with fresh seasonal berries. Susie Iventosch can be reached at suziven@gmail.com.