Happy Wednesday! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day with all of your lovies. I woke up yesterday morning, with a sudden and unrelenting need for sunshine–in any form. For what I think was the first time, rather than craving a particular food (or ingredient), I was craving a colour: yellow! I knew I had to make and bake something full of sunshine–absolutely bursting with sunshine, from the inside out: this time it was all about flavour.
Naturally, a lemon confection immediately came to mind, so I figured it was time to bake a Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake. I love anything lemony, and of course bringing blueberries into the mix makes this recipe even more appealing. For this version, I incorporated a layer of buttery vanilla cake in between two layers of the blueberry-lemon cake, filled it with homemade lemon curd, and topped it all with the lemony-est frosting I could come up with. Now, that’s the triple-lemony burst of sunshine I needed.
So here it is! A little bit crazy in there — like a literal burst of blueberries and lemon inside, sandwiching a layer of classic vanilla cake. What I love about it is the random and almost messy appearance, once sliced. As much as I love perfect layers, it wouldn’t be much of a “burst” if it was neat and tidy inside! There’s a lot going on in there, but to me it all comes together so nicely. The lemon in the blueberry cake is simple and subtle with the addition of a bit of lemon zest, lemon extract, and lemon juice, which pairs well with the fresh blueberries. The lemon curd is perfectly tart, and combined with the whipped lemony (and sugary) frosting, it’s zesty and sweet. The truth is, I’m in complete lemon love (and possibly lust) with this cake.
If you haven’t made lemon curd before, I highly recommend it. It takes a bit of effort, but overall it’s quite simple to make and so rewarding. You can make a bigger batch, freeze it, and simply pull it out when you need a punch of lemony filling. There’s truly nothing zingier, and who doesn’t need zingy in their lives from time to time?
While we’re on the topic of sweet sunshine-y goodness, here are my little blueberry bursts playing while the cake layers were baking. Their favourite activity, these days, is goofing around on the bed, being just as silly as can be. Neve thinks it’s hilarious that she can stand up on her own on the bed and then land face first into the pillows, and of course, big sister Reese has to follow suit, followed by endless girly-giggles from the gut. Love those.
We had a great day yesterday, while we baked the cakes. I managed to get some things organized for spring, and even though it was -13 degrees Celsius here on Lake Ontario, it seemed as though spring was in the air . . .
Even if it was just in our hearts (and bellies) . . . I suppose this cake really is a burst of much-needed sunshine. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and that you’re also feeling a bit of spring in your world.
- 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons (290 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (7g) salt
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon zest
- 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups (300 g) white sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon zest
- 5 cups (625 g) icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream (35% cream)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25) pure lemon extract
- a pinch of salt
- yellow food gel, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8" round cake pans with parchment paper, butter and flour. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.
- Stir sour cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest in small bowl.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined.
- Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.
- Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.
- Cream butter and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes. Slowly add icing sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and beat on med-high for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy. If using color gel, add a drop or two (really, no more than that, because too much sunshine really can be a bad thing!), then beat until blended.
- Spread thin dollop of frosting on an 8-inch thin cake board or cake plate. Transfer 1 cake layer to board, face up.
- Create a dam around the perimeter of the layer using frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, then spread lemon curd (apprx 1 cup) inside the dam--this prevents the curd from reaching out over edges.
- Top with second layer, face-up; repeat frosting around perimeter and lemon curd filling.
- Top with third cake layer, face-down (brown smooth side up). Spread thin layer (crumb coat) of over top and sides of cake, using offset palette knife and bench scraper for smooth finish. Place cake in refrigerator for about 30 mins to chill.
- from refrigerator and using same method, frost cake with generous layer of frosting, smoothing again. For ruffled border, add frosting to piping bag with petal tip (Wilton #123), and with skinny end facing out, use back and forth/up and down motion to create short ruffles.
Due to the lemon curd filling, keep cake covered and refrigerated (for up to 2 days) but serve at room temperature.
[The Lemon-Blueberry cake base adapted from Epicurious]
Filling: 1 batch Lemon Curd
Here are some other fun ways of creating this cake with alternate flavours:
- Use a cream cheese frosting, lemon or plain
- Replace blueberries with other berries or berry combinations
- Use frosting to fill in place of lemon curd
- Use a smooth blueberry jam as filling in place of lemon curd
You may also enjoy this past post: 50 Tips For Baking Better Cakes
Good luck & enjoy!