Lemon Blueberry Cake

by angelika on June 2, 2012

In celebration of my oven being fixed, as according to my mother cakes need to be in celebration of something, I bring you the yummiest cake ever. Ok, maybe not ever. Truthfully all cakes seem to have abundant yumminess. So really, it’s just another great cake. However, what this cake has going for it is nutritional excellence. Blueberries are very powerful antioxidants; lemons are too for that matter. Not to mention the vitamin C. The frosting- swiss meringue buttercream- which to my mind says packed with protein! (have I provided you with enough justification to make a cake this weekend?) Really, this cake is like a blueberry muffin, filled with lemon curd and topped with light as air, kissed with lemon, frosting. Perfectly spring or summer and a nice alternative to chocolate.

Layer cakes can be a bit intimidating at first, and believe me I am intimated all the time by cakes. Cooking comes naturally to me, baking has been all about practice and patience. (neither of wich come easy to me either) If you break them into their components and focus on one part at a time, they are much easier to manage. When they all come together, I get to experience a certain kind of kitchen magic. This feeling of accomplishment that I don’t often get while cooking. This idea that I made something beautiful. Not just delicious, but artistic. Even when my layers are not even, which they never are, and I still can’t master getting the frosting smooth, I look at my cakes with a touch of wonder and a whole lot of pride.

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Prep your 8″ pans by buttering, laying a parchment round, and buttering again. Set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Take one tablespoon of flour mixture and add it to a bowl with the blueberries and stir to coat. Set both aside. Combine the milk, creme fraiche, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla extract and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each to fully incorporate. Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternating, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter by the three 8″ pans. In the future I am going to do this by weighing the batter. I always try to eyeball it, and I always have uneven layers. It probably doesn’t help that I only have two 8″ pans. So I baked two layers that were nice and even and one that was much bigger. It doesn’t really effect the cake- but I am suddenly driven to be more precise.
Had you known me a few years ago you would be shocked. My lack of precision is what scared me off baking for years. I’ve always been a improvisational cook, and there is not much room for improvisation in baking. These days I find comfort in the precision. Maybe I am growing up. Middle age is probably the ideal time for that to happen anyway.
Bake cakes until the cake pulls in on the sides and a cake tester comes out clean. About 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate and transfer back to the rack to cool completely.
Make the lemon curd while waiting for the cake to bake and cool. I actually made the cake one day, then the curd and had both rest overnight. I made the frosting the next. It just worked out that way, but the cakes will last well wrapped and refrigerated for several days. Frozen for several months!
Combine egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, and add the cubes of butter, a few at a time,  stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and combined. 

When you are ready to assemble the cake, place a liner of parchment or wax paper around the sides of your cake stand, and then place the bottom layer flattest side down. Put some frosting in a pastry bag and pipe a dam around the outside, just a line is fine, this prevents the filling from oozing out the sides. Place 1/2 the lemon curd on the layer and spread it out. Lay the middle layer on top and repeat. Place the top layer on- flattest side facing up. Take the pastry bag and pipe in the areas where the two cakes meet. Sort of like you are calking it.
not the best pic, too much light from the window but you get the idea

Cover the cake with a light layer of frosting and then refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes. This just helps the top coat not get crumbs mixed in. Then frost liberally and decorate any way you like. I just piped some little burst with a star tip. Make sure you eat the cake at room temperature. As light and airy as the this buttercream is at room temperature- it is completely ruined by cold. It sorts fo turns into the texture of butter. A grand injustice, especially after all the work you put in making it! Although, a tip, swiss meringue buttercream freezes exceptionally well. So double or tripple your batches and freeze it. Just defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then whip it in the mixer (paddle attachment) until it comes back together.

Q is practicing his decorating skills
Lemon Blueberry Cake
 
a blueberry lemon cake, filled with lemon curd and topped with lemony swiss meringue buttercream- adapted from sweetapolita
Author:
Recipe type: dessert, cake
Ingredients
  • cake, makes 3 8″ layers
  • 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1½ cups cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • lemon curd filling, from Martha Stewart
  • 3 egg yolks
  • zest of half a lemon
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoon butter, cubed and cold
  • lemony swiss meringue buttercream, from whisk kid via Martha Stewart
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Prep your 8″ pans by buttering, laying a parchment round, and buttering again. Set aside.
  3. ~Cake~
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients. Take one tablespoon of flour mixture and add it to a bowl with the blueberries and stir to coat. Set both aside. Combine the milk, creme fraiche, lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla extract and set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar in the mixer on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each to fully incorporate. Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternating, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries.
  6. Divide the batter by the three 8″ pans.
  7. Bake cakes until the cake pulls in on the sides and a cake tester comes out clean. About 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate and transfer back to the rack to cool completely.
  8. ~Lemon Curd~
  9. Make the lemon curd while waiting for the cake to bake and cool.
  10. Combine egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, and add the cubes of butter, a few at a time, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and combined.
  11. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap making sure the wrap is touching all surfaces of the lemon curd. This prevents a film from developing. Refrigerate until cool, at least an hour. You can store lemon curd in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
  12. ~Frosting~
  13. In the bowl of the mixer, set over a pan of simmering water, gently heat the egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves, whisking pretty constantly. This takes about 10 minutes. You are supposed to use a candy thermometer and wait for the mixture to come to 140º, but I usually just eye ball it. I test to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved by running a bit between my fingers to make sure I feel no sugar grain.
  14. Transfer the bowl to the mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high until the mixture is room temperature and the outside for the bowl is cool to touch. This took me about 10 minutes as well.
  15. With the mixer on medium low, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition. Remove the whisk and switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium high, beat until the buttercream comes together. About 5 minutes. Add the lemon extract and any food coloring. I used a few drops of yellow to hint at the lemon flavor.
  16. When you are ready to assemble the cake, place a liner of parchment or wax paper around the sides of your cake stand, and then place the bottom layer flattest side down. Put some frosting in a pastry bag and pipe a dam around the outside, just a line is fine, this prevents the filling from oozing out the sides. Place ½ the lemon curd on the layer and spread it out. Lay the middle layer on top and repeat. Place the top layer on- flattest side facing up. Take the pastry bag and pipe in the areas where the two cakes meet. Sort of like you are calking it.
  17. Cover the cake with a light layer of frosting and then refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes. This just helps the top coat not get crumbs mixed in. Then frost liberally and decorate any way you like.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kendall June 2, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi, I'm studying pastry in Auckland, New Zealand which I know isn't pastry capital of the world but our tutor is French! I just wanted to let you know that all your little notes and hints are exactly what our tutor says! So I think you're doing really amazing at baking and your recipes are very well written.
Keep 'em coming x

Reply

marla June 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

A stunning cake!!

Reply

Angelika June 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Thank you for the nice compliment! I have always wanted to visit New Zealand, I bet you have an amazing food scene there. Hopefully someday when my kids can manage that flight a bit better. :)

Reply

Emily Haydel June 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

This looks amazing! I may have to try making it. Yum!

Reply

Anonymous June 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

i try not say/post negative things, so please don't take offense, but this cake was absolutely revolting and tasted like a biscuit. the curd was amazing, and i didn't try the frosting. i am a baker and am always on the lookout for new recipes. i love the pics and all the hints on this page.

Reply

Angelika June 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Thank you for your comment. I was so surprised you didn't love the cake, we all adored it. I went back and double checked and I had a typo in my ingredient list. :( I'm so sorry, totally my fault. I wish I could make it up to you. Lesson learned on my part. I'll triple check from now on.

Reply

Jen June 30, 2012 at 12:30 am

is the typo in the ingredients list fixed? I'd love to bake this cake and want to make sure everything is correct! thanks!

Reply

Angelika June 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

Yes it is, quadruple checked and ready to go.

Reply

Anonymous July 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I keep a few flexible gel ice packs in my freezer. When it's time to make the frosting, I put them around the bottom of the mixer bowl to help cool the mixture more quickly. Works especially well if your kitchen is warm.

Reply

angelika July 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

What a great idea, I’m going to try that next time.

Reply

Aubrey August 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I just made this cake today for a friend’s birthday party. So I didn’t realize it until I got there with my completed cake – but apparently I accidentally used mint extract in the icing instead of the lemon extract. I have no idea how I managed that one, especially since I even tasted the icing before putting it on. It was an absolute hit with everyone! They all thought the mint icing was a tasty surprise. Just a suggestion if you want to take a culinary risk. I would take it down to 3/4 tsp of the extract if you use the mint, though, I thought it was a tad too strong.

Anyway, great recipe! Thanks a bunch!

Reply

Tsodsothree September 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I have a sack of pears too, sitting and sulnikg on the counter. I think I may make the world’s best apple cake with them. I think it would totally work Poached pears are also REALLY nice, holy.

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