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Dec 17, 2008 05:30 PM

Lemon desserts needed

Hi everyone,

I am making a lemon birthday dessert for a friend's child who will be turning 11. He is not your typical 11-year-old; he has quite sophisticated tastes, including raw oysters, sushi, fancy olives and similar things.

He has said he is not a "cake" person, but when I was describing the Epicurious Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone ( he said it sounded really good, I think mostly because of the lemon curd. I told him it wasn't your typical cakey cake (like a grocery store bakery cake with loads of gross icing). He loved the Fine Cooking lemon bars, which I made for a get-together last summer.

Still, are there other ideas? I'm kind of in the mood for a multi-step project.

Oh, AND--he's also into swimming, and while I'm not a very good cake decorator, if I could work that in somehow I think he would be over the moon!!

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  1. The 1/31/2007 New York Times has a recipe for "Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart" that reads very good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      ooh, i like the idea of a shortbread tart.

      alternatively, does he like cheesecake? you could even do one with a lemon curd topping.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I don't know--I will have to find out. That certainly sounds good to ME!

        Also like the idea of a tart--I actually brought that up too.

    2. If you want a fantastic multi-step lemon dessert, the Lemon Cream Tart from Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme is my all time favorite lemon dessert. Rich, creamy, and full of lemon flavor. This website has the recipe online:

      Maybe you could balance a little diving board on the edge of the tart with a swimmer "diving in"?

      1. This is a divine lemon dessert, if you'd like a tart - Suzanne Goin's lemon tart with a surprise layer of chocolate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Splendid Spatula

          I like Suzanne Goin’s lemon tart with a layer of chocolate well enough, but I like Kate Zuckerman’s Meyer Lemon Curd Tart from “The Sweet Life” even better. I actually thought the chocolate detracted from both the flavor and the texture of the tart and I preferred Kate’s recipe for the curd.

          Here the recipe for Kate’s tart:

          I’d use a different short crust, though. Kate’s is excellent, but a bit of a bear to roll out.

          Here’s a photo of Kate’s tart that I posted a few years back:

        2. If he likes lemon curd, you could do a riff on curds - lemon, lime, and orange or grapefruit and serve them over citrus fruit or berries or other types of fruit. Another variation is to mix some lemon curd into stiffly beaten whipped cream. You could also fill a pre-baked pastry crust with lemon curd and decorate with carefully arranged fruit. To achieve the bakery look, melt some currant or apricot jam, depending on the type of fruit, to give them some sheen.

          1. That cake looks awesome--I'd go with that, especially since it's for his birthday. It sounds like he'd appreciate it and nothing beats a great lemon curd.

            Is he a swimmer, like mostly in a pool, or does he like ocean swimming? Most of the pool based cakes I've seen are slihgtly hollowed out cake filled w/ blue jello, or variations on that. You could do it w/ blueberry preserves (or reduce frozen blueberries) which would go w/ lemon. You could make gingerbread/sugar cookie people but rearrange their arms so it looks like they're swimming in the pool and have them in the water. Or you could do it more ocean like. You can make cool coral by pouring chocolate over ice in a glass/vase. When the ice melts, you're left with chocolate with holes that look like coral. Fill w/ swedish fish and pipe green frosting for seaweed (or just use fruit leather and shape it). You could have that coming out of water made of blueberry preserves w/ cookie people swimming in it. But, that depends on how much you get into the useless details. I've spent far too much time in my life on useless details like that for kids cakes. It's the cake that counts and just piping Happy Birthday works just as well.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              I think those ideas sound cute, but this kid is a total foodie. Seriously, he hates things like Jello! I know, so foreign to most kids I know.

              I like the idea of a blueberry jam or something on the top, with a diving board balanced on the side or something like that. (He's a pool swimmer who does meets and is on a team--getting more and more serious.)

              1. re: IndyGirl

                The idea of jello on such a good cake made me cringe, too. I thought blueberries would be so much better. But, at 11, he might think those kind of decorations are childish. You could really embarass him by getting a photo transfer of him as a baby and put that on top.:-) You could easily do a pool idea--with reduced thickened blueberries for the pool. Diving board on the side, swimming lanes made with white chocolate and hang a row of flags over it.