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Romano's Macaroni Grill Lemon Passion Cake

By Todd Wilbur

Score: 4.56. Votes: 9
In stock (9889 items available)
  • $0.79

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 Tres Leches Cake that is popular throughout Latin America. The traditional Mexican recipe describes a dense vanilla cake 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 re-creating the cake with boxed mixes, but they all produce cakes that are much too light and moist, and inevitably turn to mush when soaked in the sweet liquid. The final solution is a scratch cake recipe yielding denser, yet still moist citrus cake, that holds up to the eventual drenching. You will want to eat this dessert within a day or two of the soaking or it may start to fall apart. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
Lemon Mousse Topping
  • 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
Sweet Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Whipped Cream
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramel topping (preferably in a squirt bottle)
  • Mint leaves
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Romano's Macaroni Grill
    • Instructions

      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 the softened butter and sugar for 1 minute. Add eggs and beat it until the mixture is a light yellow color. Mix in the vanilla and juices.

      3. Combine the flour with the wet mixture a little at a time while beating until the 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 in the pan.

      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 the lemon juice and a drop of food coloring. In a separate bowl, beat 1/3 cup heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold this whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until it's 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 in a small pitcher. Cover and chill this as well.

      6. Make the 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 should do the trick.

      8. Pour the sweet cream mixture over the cake while it's still in the baking pan. Allow the liquid to soak into the cake for a few minutes, and then 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.

Average rating:

Score: 4.56. Votes: 9
Rating of votes (9)
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Joyce Mathes
May 16, 2013, 22:00

My husband and I have coveted this recipe for years! This is it exactly!!! So moist, rich and light at the same time! Awesome!!!!

Feb 28, 2008, 23:00

I bake all the time and I made this recipe. It was so disgusting I threw it in the trash!

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