Today is a bit of an odd day; peculiar to say the least. My Sweet Girl – my only Girl- my only child – turns “21“! The thing that is making it so strange is that she is 3000 miles away from me today. Something seems so off about the fact that I have spent 21 years raising her, marking every milestone along the way, but today, on one of the most memorable of life’s occasions, I cannot be with her to celebrate. To be honest, it feels a bit unfair. (Picture a very pouting mother.)
I suppose there is a silver lining in all of this; a bit of consolation in this otherwise moping place I find myself. She is a happy and healthy twenty-one year old living it up in Manhattan. And when our children are happy – we are happy! She has big plans for this evening. There are things about a twenty-one year old’s birthday celebration that are better not shared with parents, so we’re leaving it at that. I’m sure it will entail an “adult beverage” – or two, or….. The days of party hats, Jump for Funs, or 20 girl sleepovers is long behind us. And this is where I start down that path of, “where have all the years gone” reminiscing, which wouldn’t lift my spirits much considering how desperately I am missing her.
You might be wondering why I chose to make Lemon Pudding Cakes on her birthday. Well, it has absolutely nothing to do with her. I just couldn’t go there. I won’t be making her birthday cake until she arrives home from college later in May. That is when we will celebrate properly with a theme cake and all. You see, we have a tradition. This is how the preparation of her cake has gone every year since as long as either of us can remember. The night before her big day, I would send her off to sleep with excitement and anticipation lingering as to what I had in store for that year’s cake. Then, I would get to work. Depending on the theme and intricacy of the cake I chose to make for her, I would be up until all hours of the night baking and decorating. Upon waking the next morning, she would come running, cover her eyes, and plead to see her cake. As I unveiled the finished creation, there would be ooohs and aaahhs galore and she would squeal with delight.
Today is a sunny and bright April 26th day. And, that is how I wanted to celebrate her day – sunny, bright and happy! So lemons came to mind. These little pudding cakes are light as air – almost souffle like. Distinctly lemon and very uncomplicated. Blackberries or boysenberries would make a great alternative to the raspberries in the whipped cream topping, but the topping is an absolute must.
Happy, Happy Birthday, My Sweet Baby Girl! There will be a cake awaiting your arrival home in a few weeks. Let’s see….. hum, what should the theme be this year?
Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes with Marbled Raspberry Cream
Lemon Pudding Cakes
3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Marbled Raspberry Cream (below)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter six 3/4-cup souffle dishes or custard cups. Place dishes in 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and lemon peel in medium bowl until well blended. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour and pinch of salt, then lemon juice. Gradually whisk in milk (mixture will be thin and may look curdled).
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions (mixture will be runny). Divide batter among prepared souffles dishes. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of dishes.
Bake pudding cakes until puffed and firm to touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer dishes to plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm, or let stand up to 8 hours and serve at room temperature. Top with dollops of Marbled Raspberry Cream.
Marbled Raspberry Cream
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipped cream
Puree raspberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor. Strain puree into small bowl; discard seeds. Whisk cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Drizzle raspberry puree over cream. Using a knife, swirl raspberry puree into cream just until marbled in appearance.
(Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)
Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts