Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bravery Cake

Bravery cake: lemon cream cake

This, is Bravery Cake.

Ok, it's actually the "Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake Copycat Recipe", but I think that my new name for it is both easier, and more true to my experience. Plus I have no idea what olive garden is, which makes it rather pointless in my memory.

Imagine this situation: you're baking cake for a church coffee-and-cake gathering. You feel like trying something new. You see this recipe and think it looks amazing. You realise that it requires cream cheese and powdered sugar. These two ingredients are found in the two scariest isles in Edeka. You need to be very brave. Added pressure: you're baking on a Saturday afternoon; if things go wrong, you have limited time to fix it as shops close earlier, and aren't open at all on Sunday.

And so I braved it.

Cream cheese is a mystery to me. I mean, I don't even know what it is in South Africa, so that's not even my excuse. As I've mentioned before, I find dairy products here very confusing. There used to be 3 categories of milk products in my mind: milk, yoghurt, and cheese. (This might explain how I cried over cream that just wouldn't thicken, when it turned out to be milk.) Here, the cheese variety seems endless; the yoghurt has so many variations, and then there's the mysterious "quark", which I've only eaten on bread with jam. There's also 'schmand' (no idea what it is, but I ate it once with wraps with lettuce and chicken.). There's also something else that looks like cream, but is actually sour-something, which Malcolm realised when he'd dolloped some on strawberries.
Anyway. After a google-search, I came to the conclusion that cream cheese must be Philadelphia cheese, but apparently quark can do the job, but is runnier. After seeing the price difference between Philadelphia cheese and quark, I decided that I'd take the risk and buy quark. Brave.

Next came 'powdered sugar', which is obviously castor sugar - crushed up normal sugar would make it powdered, right? So I considered all the different sugar... wurfel zucker, hagel zucker, brauner zucker, brauner teezucker, rohr zucker, feiner zucker, puder zucker. You get the idea. I found the 'feiner zucker', added it to the trolley, and headed home.

The baking commenced. I made two and a half times the recipe of vanilla cake batter, to be extra sure that it would actually fill the baking tin I have (since it's rather large). Added bravery points get awarded because I blew out the eggs to save the shells for some Easter crafting.
While I exploited Malcolm's patience and muscle in whipping the cream to stiff peaks, I started mixing the rest of the lemon cream ingredients. As I was about to add the castor sugar, something didn't seem right. How would it stiffen the mixture? Wouldn't it be grainy? Powdered sugar is castor sugar, right?
Wrong. Google pointed out that 'powedered sugar' is in fact, icing sugar. Or, as it's called in German, puder zucker. Now that makes sense. While I kept an eye on the cake in the oven, Malcolm went back and bought icing sugar. Crisis averted.

I gathered my last bravery points when I managed to get the cake out of the tin, seeing as Spray and Cook doesn't exist here, and a spring-form ring cake tin is not easily lined with paper. It cracked only slightly, and anything can be hidden with icing. Although you can actually see a crack in the cake in the photo.

My bravery paid off. The cake came together wonderfully. The filling was probably runnier than it should have been, due to the quark, but I love how it looked like normal icing but tasted so much better. Plus, it was only to be eaten the next day, and by then the lemon cream had set and was sort of fluffy. I didn't make the crumb topping which seems to involve crumbs of butter and flour and sugar, which I don't like the sound of. So I sprinkled crushed white chocolate on top instead.

It's really a great recipe, and I have Malcolm-approval that I can make it again. It's also really not all that hard to make, once you overcome the dairy-product and sugar isles.

bravery cake


  1. How interesting your thoughts on the dairy aisle! I love love love cream cheese and will eat it all the time if I could! Also Olive Garden is an Italian chain restaurant in America!

  2. Wow, I never would have thought that the common names for those of us in America wouldn't be normal throughout the rest of the world. :-) I'm glad it turned out well!!

  3. Ooh, looks delicious! Well done.

  4. well, your bravery definitely paid off!
    i remember when living abroad the challenge in buying certain products because of different names...thankful for Google! :)

  5. aww erica, this is such a fun read! i would love to spend a day baking with you - if we did it here we could eat tons and tons of cream cheese (it's everywhere!) hope the cake is a hit!

  6. Cream cheese might be everywhere here too, I just can't recognise it. ;) Now that I think about it, quark is probably more like cottage cheese. But it worked :) I would love to bake with you - it would certainly be a very happy cake!

  7. It did! And I was SO relieved! Google really has helped so much with shopping, even basic things were a mystery at the beginning! :) Thanks for coming by here!

  8. It was pretty tasty - thumbs up to the recipe-creators! :)

  9. There are SO many things that have different names in the states... it makes recipes and pinterest crafts a challenge. Even 'burlap' and 'mason jars' are not common names to me! But, that's the joy of globalisation :D

  10. I guess I could have googled 'olive garden', but after all my other google-ing, I was over it ;) Thanks, that makes sense now :)
    My fears of the dairy isle are slowly easing up as I become more familiar with things. But it's a process ;)