Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake

I needed something sunshiny and lemony.

I needed a little taste of spring.

This cake was it.

Yes there is still snow on the ground here, but we had a lovely weekend where the highs were almost 50! That was amazing for us in February. I saw kids in shorts and loads of people without jackets. It doesn't take much to get Rhode Islanders going. We are all ready for another rude awakening cause the Polar Vortex is here again.

I bookmarked this cake a few weeks ago. I knew it would just the lift we needed. I love the combination of lemon and blueberries. Just love it.

I used my frozen berries that I picked last summer. Each year after I spend a day food vaccing berries I always tell myself it's way too much, and every winter as I pull the last few bags from the freezer I think, I should have picked more.

There were 3 things that went a little different for me with this recipe.

The batter. I read all the comments and the author said over and over again how thick this batter would be, but mine wasn't overly thick. It wasn't a loose batter by any means, it just wasn't as thick as I had expected it to be.

The quantity it made. Again, I read the comments and even asked the author if I could use 2 cake pans instead of 3 and she said no, there was just too much batter and that I could make cupcakes with the remainder. I used 2 cake pans, filled them 2/3 full and had no problems.

The amount of lemon juice. The author stated: "You’ll need 3 medium lemons. 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest = 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice". I used the zest of 3 lemons but I had 3 tablespoons of lemon juice from just 1 1/2 lemons. As I said before, the cake batter wasn't overly thick. Adding the juice of all the lemons would have made it even looser. I guess it depends on how juicy your lemons are.

I was pleased with the finished cake. It was light and moist and had just the perfect amount of lemon zing.

Remember not to overmix your batter!

Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake
recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
For the Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to over measure!
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons * see note above
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3.5 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
1 - 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9x2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. (*I didn’t have 3 cake pans that were the same size so I used 2 and split the batter in half and it came out perfect) Set aside.

Make the cake. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy - about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 10 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat on low until just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick.

Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. *(I baked my 2 pans for 35 minutes until they tested done). Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.

Assemble and frost. First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn't make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.

Make 1 day in advance if you'd like. Extras keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3days.

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