Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes, #TheCakeSliceBakers

Playing peek-a-boo with my memory today…Japanese plum blossoms splash purple-pink color onto a stark parking structure; a pitter-patter of rain sings on traditional roofs in Tokyo (courtesy of the Periscope app.) And thanks to a formidable group of online gal pals aka The Cake Slice Bakers, a pucker of Japanese yuzu citrus scintillates my palate. 

The puffs of whipped cream atop the
Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes
are reminiscent of Japan's Imperial chrysanthemum.

The Cake Slice Bakers are a group of bakers from around the world. Laura of Baking in Pyjamas and Anabel of Oven Delights lead the charge to conquer a new challenge every month...Currently, we are presented with the opportunity to bake one of four preselected recipes from The Southern Cake Book

This month, I’ve adapted the Key Lime Icebox Cake recipe
from The Southern Cake Book
into Lemon Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes.

Lime is lovely but this Tokyo-raised Ninja Cake Slice Baker believes Japanese yuzu is lovelier.  Japanese yuzu citrus allegedly contain three times the vitamin C as lemons. Also, the Japanese yuzu is said to contain collagen. (Why pay for Beverly Hills priced collagen shots? Eat the Ninja Baker’s Lemon Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes!) Besides the beauty and health benefits, Japanese yuzu emits a subtle citrus fragrance. And the somewhere-between-a-lime-and-lemon flavor is fantastic. So, instead of a lime custard, I created a Japanese yuzu citrus custard.

The Japanese "maneki neko" cat invites happiness and contentment.

The original Southern Cake Book Key Lime Icebox Cake recipe calls for graham crackers. To match the delicacy of Japanese yuzu, I opted for Pepperidge Farm Lemon Cookies as the dessert’s foundation. Next I whipped up lemon cake batter and sprinkled in fresh lemon zest. (I would’ve added yuzu citrus zest but only Japanese yuzu juice is currently sold in the USA.) I topped the cake with yuzu custard and a dollop of whipped cream. The result was a remarkably refined light dessert. Perfect for summer. I’d love it if you give the recipe a try and tell me what you think. (Japanese yuzu citrus is available for purchase at Japanese markets and online.)

Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes

Japanese, Yuzu, Lemon, Custard, Cakes

The delicate Japanese yuzu citrus custard compliments its bold lemon cousin. Although the dessert is not uber sweet, if you like more of a pucker, reduce the sugar and add more lemon zest. If you are lucky enough to live in Japan, I highly recommend substituting fresh yuzu for the lemon.

This recipe is adapted from the Key Lime Icebox Cake found on page 108 of The Southern Cake Book.


For the cakes:

  • Coconut oil (or other baking / cooking) spray
  • Pepperidge Farm Lemon Cookies
  • OR your favorite lemon cookies which will fit in the bottom of a cupcake case
  • All the ingredients you need for your favorite lemon cake recipe
  • OR a lemon cake mix, milk (instead of water), zest of one lemon, eggs and vegetable oil (as directed on the package)

For the custard:

  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of fleur de sel (sea salt)
  • 4 large egg yolks
    *Ninja Note 1: Separating the yolk from the egg whites is easier when the eggs are cold
  • 1 pint (2 cups) half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup Japanese yuzu juice
    *Ninja Note 2: Japanese yuzu juice is readily available at Asian markets and online

For the whipped cream garnish:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼  cup powdered sugar
  • ¾  teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1½  teaspoons whipped cream stabilizer powder

For the cakes:
Place cookies into the bottom of lightly sprayed (with coconut oil) cupcake cases. Pour batter over the cookies. Do not overfill. A level ice cream scooper will provide the perfect measurement. Bake and cool.

For the custard:
In a sturdy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt.

Whip together the eggs and half-and-half.

Over a medium flame, gradually add the egg mixture to the saucepan ingredients. Keep whisking. (This is key to avoid a scorched custard and pan. Wish this were not the voice of experience speaking!) Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Whisk for about another minute and bring to another boil. Remove from the heat. Vigorously stir in the butter and zest. Add the Japanese yuzu citrus juice. Place the saucepan in a large bowl filled with ice for 10 minutes. Occasionally stir the custard.

Scoop the custard on top of the cooled lemon cakes. Freeze overnight and garnish with whipped cream.

For the whipped cream garnish:
Combine all the ingredients until stiff peaks appear. Drop a your tip of choice into a piping bag and fill with whipped cream. Garnish the Lemon and Japanese Yuzu Custard Cakes. And, enjoy!

Here are a few more Japanese yuzu citrus treats:
And here are the beautiful creations from the kitchens of The Cake Slice Bakers:

Wishing you sweet summer days that warm you in the winter.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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