As Executive Chef at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where food inspires artful conversation, Renee Bellefeuille leads an extraordinary team that combines global flavours and locally sourced ingredients to produce aesthetically pleasing dishes that satisfy the senses. With 20 years of culinary experience, Bellefeuille has worked at some of the city's premier dining establishments, including The Drake Hotel, the Consulate General of France in Toronto and alongside Jamie Kennedy, with whom she worked as Pastry Chef for five years.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Lightly grease and line 2 x 9” cake pans with parchment.
Beat the eggs and sugar together until they're light and fluffy, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed, using an electric or stand mixer.
Slowly beat in the canola oil.
Measure flour, salt and baking powder into a separate small bowl. Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the egg mixture in the bowl, beating just enough to combine.
Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat again, to fully incorporate any sticky bits.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring the butter and milk just to a boil. Add the vanilla. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted.
Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the cake batter, mixing until everything is well combined. Scrape the bowl, and mix briefly, just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top feels set. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool.
Citrus Curd Instructions
This can be made ahead of time and will keep in your fridge up to 10 days. It can be served with your favourite scones or pancakes or, in this case, with a piece of cake!
In a stainless steel saucepan, measure in the sugar and cornstarch, then whisk together to incorporate the cornstarch into the sugar.
Zest and juice all citrus fruit, set aside.
Cube cold butter and place back in the fridge to keep cold.
Separate egg yolks into a small bowl. Add the whole egg to bowl and whisk together.
Set burner to medium heat and add eggs to the saucepan with the sugar and cornstarch, then whisk until light and fluffy in texture.
Add juice and zest to pot and continue whisking to incorporate. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly.
Turn burner on to medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Have a heat-proof spatula close by to scrape the sides of the pot. The mixture should start to thicken in around 8-10 minutes. The curd should coat the back of the wooden spoon.
Once thick, remove from heat and start to drop in the cold butter a few pieces at a time, whisking continually. If you have an immersion blender, you can use it to incorporate the butter and ensure that the curd is silky smooth. If not, continue on with the whisk and add butter, a few pieces at a time, until all butter is added and curd is smooth.
Once thickened and the butter is fully blended in, pour directly into a 500 ml glass mason jar or plastic container, cover and place directly into the fridge to cool.
Chef's Tip: Make sure the curd is not stored in a metal container as the acid can react with the metal dish.
Toast 2 tbsp each dried, sweetened coconut and sliced almonds.
Place one layer of cake on a cake plate, sprinkle with half of the almonds and coconut.
Set second layer on top.
Slice into 10.
Serve with a spoonful of curd on the side. If serving the entire cake at once, feel free to put a thin layer of curd in the middle of the cake as well.