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Recipe: Lemon-Lime Glazed Cake Thingies*

*Yeah, that’s a technical term.

This recipe started by accident, a huge nightmare of a failed buttercream mishap.  Today was the Girlchild’s birthday party, and I got all ambitious after the Thanksgiving cooking and decided to make her cake myself.  The cake part was simple, a tried and true Nestle’s chocolate recipe, and for the frosting I decided to go with Alton Brown’s buttercream.  I tend to trust AB’s recipes because we’re devotees of the show, and have learned a great deal from him about the mechanics of cooking, but I must have missed this particular episode.  The recipe is as follows:

Alton Brown’s Buttercream Icing


  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup 
  • 10 ounces butter (BY WEIGHT), cubed and at room temperature

In a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs until light and fluffy. 

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and the corn syrup to a boil. Lubricate the inside of a metal baster with a small amount of vegetable oil and dispense it completely. Then use this to drizzle the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs. The mixer should be on low speed until you finish drizzling in all of the sugar mixture. 

Once the entire mixture of the sugar is incorporated, slowly add the butter pieces. Only add more butter when you can no longer see the previously added pieces. It will go fast at first and then slow down. Continue to whip until the mixture is creamy.

Now, where exactly I went wrong is most certainly in the “drizzling” of the sugar mixture into the egg mixture.  I had exactly 20 minutes to accomplish everything before heading out the door to pick up the kids from school, and I almost certainly got the hot syrup into the eggs too quickly.  Not fast enough to actually cook the eggs, but enough to disrupt whatever chemical reaction was supposed to occur.

So, the mixture went into the frige while I was gone (about 2 hours), whereupon I took it out, jiggled it (still very liquid-like), then shoved it back in the fridge in disgust and went on to make a different buttercream recipe.

Enter my sister about three hours later.  While awaiting dinner delivery we’re poking around in the kitchen and I show her the Failure.  She looks over the recipe and says, “this is almost cake.”  So we added a teaspoon of baking powder and flour to a good cake batter texture, nonstick sprayed some muffin tins, filled them about 3/4 the way full, and popped them into a 350 degree oven.  They baked along during dinner, rising a bit over the top of the cups, and were removed when they were spongy to the touch on top.

The cake thingies developed a gorgeous golden brown color, had a nice spongy texture, though the edges that were in contact with the top of the tin were nice and crispy.  I was in no mood to fiddle with yet more frosting, so we debated what to top them with.  Ganache was too much trouble, plus not enough bittersweet chocolate on hand, then Sister saved the day again.  “Lemon,” she said.  Husband threw down his fork, abandoned his favorite burrito in the whole world (Dona Julia’s El Mariachi) and ran out back to the Meyer lemon tree, plucked the only two that were ripe and delivered them forthwith. 

We juiced them up, decided two was not even remotely enough, and pulled out the Key Lime juice I’d been hoarding as the fruits ripened over the past couple of months (probably about 6 fruits worth).  I whipped that all together with confectioner’s sugar to a nice glaze consistency, poked holes in the still warm cake thingies and droozled the glaze thereover.  My taste testers pounced (I am so NOT a lemon person) and prounouced them divine, much like Orange Grecian cake.





So there you have it, accidental success in the kitchen, thanks to a Sister with big ideas and a handy backyard garden!