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First introduced in the United States in 1921, a Mary Ann Pan is a cake pan with a raised flat center area. Its purpose is to create a light cake shell. A cake baked in one, when turned out, has a raised edge all around it. You turn the cake out of the pan in such a way that the bottom of the cake becomes the top. This reveals a large cavity in the middle of the cake where the mould was. This area is designed to hold a lot of filling, which can be fruit, puddings, lemon curd, whipped cream, ice cream or custards. Many years ago, I purchased a “Daisy Ann” pan from Williams Sonoma. It is almost exactly the same as a Mary Ann Pan but instead of being round, it is a flower shape. Unfortunately, Williams-Sonoma does not carry this pan anymore. However, I have seen them on Amazon!
The weather is finally warming up in my neck of the woods, so when I was deciding on a dessert to serve my bestie and her kiddos when they were visiting from out of town, I wanted something that screamed, “SPRING.” I made this “Daisy Ann” cake many many years ago for Easter. It is a pound cake-like cake filled with lemon curd and topped with berries. Anything with lemon and berries reminds me of spring. This cake was perfect! The lemon curd on its own is a bit tart, but when it is paired with the cake and berries, it is a spectacular combination that yells, “SPRING,” in your mouth! The kids devoured their cake in minutes while us adults slowly savored each bite and enjoyed each others company. It is always such a pleasure for me to spend time with my bestie. I have known her almost my entire life and I always feel so recharged and refreshed after our get togethers. It is almost like that little missing piece of me is back together again! She lives a few hours away, so we only get to see each other a few times a year. I always try to make something special when she comes into town and this cake fit the bill perfect for our spring get together!
This cake is so versatile!! It can be filled with so many different things. Chocolate ganache and strawberries would be heavenly as would pastry cream and berries. You can make a chocolate sponge cake and top it with any combination you desire! I am thinking my kids would love ice cream and sprinkles in the middle with cookies around the outer edge for their birthday cake!
Mary Ann Cake Recipe
2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks/250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup (375g)s granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (250ml) lemon curd (see recipe below or use store bought)
1/3 cup (8-ml) heavy cream, whipped to medium-firm peaks
12 raspberries or 6 strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
1/4 to 1/2 cup blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Daisy Ann cake pan.
2. Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, beating just until blended and no lumps of flour remain.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35- 40 minutes. I baked my cake for 40 minutes and it was just a touch overdone. Be sure to start checking for doneness at 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out onto the rack and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.
6. Put the lemon curd in a bowl. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir the whipped cream into the curd until no white streaks remain. Spread the lemon curd mixture in the well of the cake. Place 1 raspberry or 1 strawberry half, cut side down, on top of the curd in each flute. Mound the blueberries in the center of the lemon curd. Dust the cake with confectioners sugar.
Recipe Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchens
Lemon Curd Recipe
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 2 lemons
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1.In a heavy saucepan, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk vigorously for 1 minute. 2.Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk for 1 minute more. Set the pan over low heat and cook gently, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
3.Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Cover tightly and refrigerate before using. Makes about 1 cup.
Recipe Source: Williams Sonoma
*Be sure to scrape the bowl often when making the cake batter especially between the addition of each egg and additions of flour.
*If you are making lemon curd, it needs time to chill before you use it, so plan accordingly!
Bake and Share Ideas:
- Host an afternoon spring tea for friends and serve this Mary Ann cake with tea.
- Make this to share at your Easter celebration.
- Share this with a friend who needs cheering up! It is so pretty and would surely put a smile on anyone’s face!