Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recipe: Lemon Passion Cake -- Macaroni Grill

So, I've been searching for the recipe for Lemon Passion Cake from Macaroni Grill. I found the TSR version (Top Secret Recipes) and I'd give it a 6 out of 10. It's yummy, but seems sweeter than the real deal. I don't remember having a sugar rush hit so fast and furiously at the restaurant...though I do usually share mine with Randy, and then take half of it home with me.

***News Flash***24 hours later, having spent the day in the fridge, this cake jumps up to 8 out of 10. Yummy enough that I'd definitely make it again. In fact, I was going to take it up to my folks to share, but it's rapidly disappearing around here. It must be a hit.

This cake is similar to Tres Leche cakes. Here are some pics and the recipe for your viewing enjoyment:

No way is that all going to sink in....

Hey! It sank in!

Spreading with lemon mousse...

Et voila! If only I had a mint leave and could find my lemon zester... The whip cream lost its oomph in the fridge, but it was yummy.

The taste testers....

Yummy but sweet and Justin thought the cake tasted like corn bread. It doesn't. But it was an interesting critique.


Top Secret Recipes® version of Romano's Macaroni Grill® Lemon Passion
By Todd Wilbur

Menu Description: "Citrus cake soaked in a sweet cream, topped with lemon mousse and finished off with our fresh Italian whipped cream and caramel."

When creating this delicious dessert, chefs at Romano's must have been thinking about the Tres Leches Cake that is popular throughout Latin America. The traditional Mexican recipe describes a dense vanilla cake that is soaked with three types of milk: Whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. This creates a very moist and rich dessert that is an excellent finish to pretty much any meal. Romano's twist on the traditional favorite is the addition of citrus juices to the cake, a creamier soaking liquid, and a tangy lemon topping. I first tried recreating the cake with boxed mixes, but they all produce cakes that are much too light and moist, and therefore turn to mush when soaked in the sweet liquid. The final solution is a scratch cake recipe that yields denser, yet still moist citrus cake that holds up to the inevitable drenching. Still, you will want to eat this dessert with in a day or two of the soaking or it may start to get all gooey on you. And be sure to store any leftovers in the fridge.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 drop yellow food coloring
1/3 cup heavy cream


1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk


1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mint leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. In a separate larger bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar for 1 minute. Add eggs and beat until mixture is a light yellow color. Mix in vanilla and juices.

3. Combine flour with wet mixture a little at a time while beating until batter is smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl while mixing. Pour this batter into a greased 9x9-inch baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool.

4. As your cake is baking make the lemon mousse topping by beating the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer in a medium bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time while blending with the electric mixer on low speed. When all of the sugar is incorporated, add lemon juice and a drop of food coloring. In a separate bowl, beat 1/3 cup heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold this whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until completely combined, then cover and chill.

5. Make sweet cream by combining half-and-half with sweetened condensed milk in a 4-cup measuring cup with a spout or a small pitcher. Cover and chill this as well.

6. Make whipped cream by combining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until it forms stiff peaks. Cover and park this in the chiller, too.

7. When the cake is completely cool, slice it down the middle once, then across twice, creating 6 rectangular slices. Run a knife along the edges of the cake as well. Poke holes in the top of each slice of cake with a fork - one poke in the center of each piece will do the trick.
8. Pour the sweet cream mixture over the cake while its still in the baking pan. Frost the cake with the lemon mousse. Serve each slice on a plate that has been drizzled with caramel. Top each slice with whipped cream and a garnish of a couple mint leaves stuck into the whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings.


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