I am always on the look out for an excuse to make a big bad behemouth of a cake. Sky High by name and by nature is how I like my cake. Don’t get me wrong, I know that size isn’t everything, but nothing quite compares to the splendour of a 3-tier monster. So whenI heard it was our graphic designer’s birthday this week, and his girlfriend’s birthday as well, I jumped at the chance to make him a cake. And not just any cake, a big, beautiful one. I do love causing a ooohs and aaahs and smiles. And I got some this time 🙂
I was trying to think of what kind of cake to make and what he would like. I looked at a vanilla latte cake (he likes coffee), tiramisu cake (who doesn’t like tiramisu?), big chocolate fudge cake (cant go wrong with chocolate), but when I found the triple lemon blueberry layer cake, I was sold. I know he likes a lemon cake, and this one is packed with beautiful big blueberries, layered with terrifically tangy lemon curd and smothered with sultry smooth lemon buttercream. Yum with a capital Y!
I love blueberries. Not because they are a so-called super food, that is just an added bonus, but because they are delicious and beautiful. Their colour is something unique in the world of fruit, and they are just bite-sized balls of juicy sweetness. Their colour can lend and element of drama to a simple muffin or cupcake and they are fantastic with breakfast granola or in warm winter porridge. This recipe did call for 3 cups of blueberries, which made me gulp a bit as good blueberries are not cheap, and in the end I bought 2 120g packs of blueberries, and I do think they were enough, but if you have the source and the wallet to use the whole amount, I’d love to see what that looks like, as my cake looked backed with purple even with the amount I used.
Whenever I bake cakes they dome on top, which is not particularly conducive to successful layer stacking. So this time I experimented with the cooking of the cakes hoping for flatter tops. Now I have a new oven that has an option to turn off the fan I tried that as I have read that when the oven is too hot, as can happen with an over zealous fan, it causes the doming. It did seem that the cakes took much longer to cook without the fan. A good 10 minutes longer. But I did end up with flat tops and no doming so I would say it was a success 🙂 Patience is the price to pay for cake perfection it seems.
When layering the cakes I did make the ‘dam’ of icing around the edges before spooning on the lemon curd, but even then I got some leakage, so do be careful with that part. Make a good solid icing ‘dam around the edge and a good 30 minute chilling of the layers before icing can help prevent oozing. Once layered, ‘dirty’ ice the cake, otherwise known as a crumb coating. Just a thin layer of icing to help seal in the crumbs and give your final icing layer a nice smooth finish.
I did rush the icing of this cake, I have to confess. It was early in the morning before work and I was not nearly as meticulous as I would have liked to be. I don’t normally mind working under pressure but when it comes to icing, to get a good result, time and care needs to be taken. So next time I hope it will be better.
Despite my rushed icing job, I don’t think the taste was hampered at all. The flavour was fantastic, zingy, zesty lemon with sweet, juicy blueberry and tangy, tart lemon curd come together gorgeously. The fruit makes the cake very moist and the lemon cuts through the richness of the icing. However, the cake is very rich, so you don’t need big slices at all, but that makes it go further so works just fine 🙂 The visual appeal is my favourite part of this cake though. The colours and layers are just beautiful. The bright yellow and purple hues make the cake delicious to the eye before it even reaches the tastebuds.
Lemon-Blueberry Layer Cake
The Lemon Blueberry Cake
What you will need:
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened about 20 minutes out of refrigerator
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
What to do:
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 whole milk, sour cream, 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 8? round pans.
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.
The Zesty Lemon Frosting
What you will need:
1 cup soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 cups icing sugar
60 ml fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons whipping cream (35% cream)
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 tablespoons water
a couple of drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
What to do:
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. Yields enough to frost outside of three layer 8? round cake.
Filling: 2 x Lemon Curd recipe from Martha Stewart, or use lemon curd from a jar. There is nothing wrong with a jar.
Spread thin dollop of frosting on an 8? thin cake board. 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 another cake 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 Zesty Lemon Frosting over top and sides of cake, using offset palette knife and bench scraper for smooth finish. Place cake in refrigerator for apprx 30 mins. Remove from refrigerator and using same method, frost cake with generous layer of frosting, smoothing again. Decorate and pipe as desired.