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Monday, February 23, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Lemon Posset Shortcakes

How can a recipe that spans 5 pages and has 4 components be considered quick & easy? I was so confused. Especially this recipe calls for making beurre noisette, which I love. But it does make a lot of dishes. I have half a sink full of dishes by the time I finished the shortcake. I took a look at the Q&E list on page 545 of the book and it listed Lemon Posset Alma (page 116), a variation of lemon posset without the shortcakes as the quick & easy. Okay, now that makes sense. So the shortcake is a close cousin, once removed, of the Q&E Alma :).

We were supposed to get a snow storm this weekend. That is what the weather lady said. 4-8 inches on Saturday, additional 3-6 inches on Sunday. That's a lot of inches for the Denver area. They keep talking about it on the radio. I have a habit of doing groceries on Friday night lately. I am baking on Saturday after all, and there's always things to buy. Usually grocery stores is a bit sparse on Friday night, which is kinda nice. Not this time. It was worse than as Thanksgiving week. Parking lots are full. Shelves were half empty. I guess they were not prepared for the storm that is folks buying food to stock up for 2 days! (It is only 2 days people....)  But what they did have that I have not seen this year is Meyer lemon! How perfect is that. Like they knew we're making the baby lemon posset and the recipe calls for lemon. I was so excited to see Meyer lemon that I ended up buying 7 of them, and only used 1. I think they should last until next weekend so I'll have to think of something else to make. Maybe lemon curd?

In all the madness of gawking at the empty shelves, I forgot to buy eggs and heavy cream. I only have 2 at home, enough for 1/2 a recipe. Really. For once I want to make the whole thing and I have to make 1/2. Not happy. I am really lazy to go to the grocery store on Saturday just to get eggs. I was planning to hibernate: bake, knit, eat, sleep. So I proceed with 1/2 recipe and defrosted leftover heavy cream.

This posset really is not supposed to happen.

First off, I forgot to get some ingredients. Second, my shortcakes gives new meaning to the word shortcakes, as they turn out super short. I think I should call them dwarf-cakes. Third, the cakes look so plain so I took out some leftover lemon neoclassic buttercream from the fridge. The plan was to swirl it around the cake. But I beat the neoclassic when it was still a bit too cold so it completely curdled and have a nasty-look on it. I frantically searched the forum on Rose's blog for advice on how to save it. One advice said that if it's already curdled it's hard to save it. Another said to let it warm up to room temperature then try to rebeat it by hand. I let it sit until it warmed up  room temperature for a good 45 minutes. It only moved 2 degrees. Growing impatient, I beat it as best I could and piped it around the cakes.

I was also feeling a bit rouge so I skipped the apple jelly step all together. I did not even bother looking for it, since apple jelly is not something we eat around here. I did do the sugar syrup step though. It is so dry here in Colorado so any genoise type cakes gets a generous amount of sugar syrup. I used more water than the recipe.

I find that I do not care for these shortcakes. The cakes has very little to no taste, a bit surprising given the beurre noisette in it. The posset is really good. I also find them fascinating - the process and how it transformed in the refrigerator. I had a couple of tablespoon leftover on the pot after I filled the cavities so I ate them of course. But together with the cake they are just ok. The lemon neoclassic were spectacular and it beat the taste of the shortcakes posset. All I taste is lemon goodness from the buttercream.

Step by step photos:

Making beurre noisette. Foamy buttah!

Beurre noisette.

1 egg + 1/2 yolk + sugar.

Warm the mixture over simmering water, whisking constantly.

Beat on high speed for 5 minutes. This is the time to step far away from the mixer as it is super loud.

Sacrificed some egg foam to the beurre.

Folded batter.

Filled the ramekins.

What do I do with 1/2 egg yolk and 1 egg whites?

Mid-morning snack. I was hungry and needed extra protein for washing dishes.

Meyer lemon juice party.

The posset came together so quick I didn't get any photos. This is after it's strained. It then went into the fridge for a 4 hour nap.

Just as the recipe said, it separated after nappy.

Dwarf-cakes ready to be filled.

I let the posset sit in the fridge for too long I think. They are pretty firm. So I used them all to fill and skip the steps of refrigerating the rest and filling them later.

Crumb shot.

Alpha Bakers is a group of bakers who are baking through The Baking Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest cookbook. Come check out the rest of the group at Rose's Alpha Bakers.

Click here for a full listing of all the recipes we are baking.


  1. Your beurre noisette is the perfect color! I'm going to look at this post the next time I have to make it to get the exact color in my mind.

    1. Is it really? I wonder sometimes if I took it too far and it's too brown.

  2. dwarf-cakes! they look pretty, even if the cakes weren't to your liking. meyer lemon curd would be amazing!

  3. Hahahaha...I finally gave up this morning and sent my dishes to the dishwasher, I had mound of dishes, and no it wasn't any holiday around...great post!!!

  4. Before I read your post, I was wondering if you were going to do half recipe? LOL! How did you whip up the half batter in your Mixer? It's hard to beat the full recipe already ..and I can't think how for half recipe unless using hand held beater. I'm sorry that you didn't like the cakes.

    1. Faithy. It fits in the mixer. I don't know why but it does! I was not gonna use hand held beater - Rose said it takes 10 minutes. My patience is not that long :).

  5. Jenn...I'm surprise you did not like the cakes either.. I think they were a bit "plain" to highlight the posset.. Since I had to cut off my top (made them in the pyrex) to make the indentation, I had a taste.. and they taste ok, but not extraordinary.. that came when I coated them with the lemon syrup and the apple glaze.. and top it with the posset. Regardless, your pictures are beautiful.

  6. Gorgeous picture! Would never know they weren't as high as you liked. Love the lemon piping. So pretty!

  7. It's a pity you weren't that keen on these. Maybe the icing overpowered them? They look very pretty anyway.

    1. The icing was good. The cake itself and the posset lacks taste. I tried it - that's the most important thing :).

  8. Your cakes are great, Jenn, but your writing is what makes it so much fun! I do love the fried egg shot! I liked this recipe a lot, but found all the little steps and the WAITING to be a pain in the neck. I would like to do it again but make it one big cake! You are much better than I am at browning the butter. I am very cowardly and pull it off the stove way too early!

  9. Ahhh... your photos make me want to make this posset all over again. Yum!

    Patricia @ ButterYum


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