Thursday, July 3, 2008

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

I’m afraid of certain things. Robert de Niro and his long nails, Dakota Fanning – they scare the bejeesus out of me. And I almost had a heart attack the night I dreamed that Amy Winehouse was my doctor.

Making jam?? That is pretty scary. I think I could mix the ingredients together and check the jam for doneness, but I couldn’t sterilize jars correctly if my life depended on it.
That’s why this recipe seemed perfect – I love lemon and love berries. I would never be able to resist combining both in a jam to become the filling for a luscious butter cake, no sterilizing involved. Of course, a picture of the cake in the book was pretty convincing as well. :)

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

Don’t be put off by the different stages of this recipe – the result is worth every minute of the making. I halved the recipe and used two 15cm (6in) pans - don't do it like me and use larger pans.

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake
from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Lemon-blueberry preserves:
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen*
¾ cup (150g) sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

8 ounces (224g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400g) sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoons lemon extract – I used lemon juice
7 egg whites
3 cups (420g) cake flour**
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (300ml) milk

Lemon buttercream frosting:
1 cup (200g) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water
2 eggs
12 ounces (336g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Fresh blueberries, for decoration – I used crystallized violets

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake

Make the preserves first, since you’ll swirl some of it into the cake batter: purée the blueberries, with any juices they have exuded, in a blender or food processor. Pass the puré e through a coarse strainer or the medium disk of a food mill to remove the skins.

In a heavy medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the blueberry purée with the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and ginger. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until the preserves have thickened and are reduced to 1 cup. To check for proper thickness, place 1 to 2 teaspoons on a small china or glass plate and put it in the freezer until cold. Drag your finger through the thickened purée: a clear path should remain. If it's not ready, cook 5 minutes longer and repeat the test. Let the preserves cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Prepare the cake: preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Butter the bottom and sides of three 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

In a mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites, 2 or 3 at a time, beating well between additions and stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk gently to blend. In 2 or 3 alternating additions, beat the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute to smooth out any lumps and aerate the batter.

Scoop 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Divide the remainder equally among the 3 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula. This gives you a "clean canvas" to work with. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the Lemon-Blueberry Preserves to the reserved batter and blend well. Drizzle heaping teaspoons of this blueberry mixture over the batter in the pans. Using a skewer or paring knife, swirl the blueberry mixture in short strokes to drag it down through the lemon batter without mixing it in.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in their pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Make the frosting: in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238ºF (114ºC) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat.

In a large mixer bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs briefly. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, pouring it down the sides of the bowl; be careful to avoid hitting the beaters, or the syrup may splatter. When all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is very fluffy and cooled to body temperature. This can take 15 to 20 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the softened butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions. As you're adding the last few tablespoons of butter, the frosting will appear to break, then suddenly come together like whipped butter. Beat in the lemon juice, and the frosting is ready for use.

To assemble the cake: place a cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread half of the Lemon-Blueberry Preserves over the top. Place a second layer on top of the first and spread the remaining preserves over it. Finally, place the third layer on top of the second and frost the sides and top of the cake with the lemon buttercream Frosting. Decorate with fresh blueberries.

* if using frozen berries, measure them while frozen, then thaw completely in a bowl, saving any juices, before proceeding with the recipe.

** there’s no cake flour here in Brazil, so I used a substitute I found on the web: 1 cup cake flour = 7/8 cup (123g) all purpose flour + 2 tablespoons corn starch

Serves 16-20

Marbled lemon-blueberry butter cake


Anonymous said...

I love how tall the cake looks and the perfectly smoothed frosting. And the cake plate is gorgeous too.

Dakato fannins is FREAKY

LyB said...

Oh, my gosh, Patricia, that cake looks gorgeous! And delicious too. Lovely, lovely photos, everything looks perfect, you're a real pro! :)

Oh, and I tagged you for a photo meme; please check it out here

Mumsy said...

Mmm....I love blueberries and lemons together. That cake looks divine!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful cake! I love the way you used candied violets to decorate! Perfect!

Elly said...

LOL, agreed. Dakota is definitely a little scary. This cake not only looks BEAUTIFUL but I'm sure it tastes delicious, too. Lemon & berries is one of the best flavor combos!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Not many words are needed to describe this cake except "beautiful"...stunning work Patricia.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Who got to eat this beautiful cake? I love the simplicity of the icing and decoration, and when you cut into it, the blueberry color is everywhere. Gorgeous!

Peter M said...

That cake deserves a Miss Brazil kinda ribbon on the queen of a cake!

Manggy said...

When I saw the post title come in my RSS feed I thought, this is going to be hella pretty. And I was right! The flavor combination is great too (not to mention your diligence in making your own preserves!). I'm going to still kind of lean in your direction and say that 6-inch pans give just the perfect amount of cake for a small family, heh :)

We get cake flour here but I don't like buying it as it's such a hassle to store different types of flour. I do the substitution too. Just take note that for angel food cake, cake flour is a requirement as it is light enough to be dispersed in the meringue :)

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a marbled berry cake, it's just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a marbled berry cake, it's just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Wow, incredible looking cake, love the marbling effect a lot! The ginger is a lovely addition too.
15 cm cake pans is my favourite size, nearly always use it/them.

grace said...

i don't think i could ever say enough wonderful things about this cake! i'm sure it tastes magnificent and it's truly beautiful to behold (inside and out)! very nicely done!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Amazing, beautiful cake!! :)

Jen Yu said...

The cake is simply gorgeous! I personally love making small cakes (I suppose it makes me feel like I'm sampling instead of pigging out?). You decorated it so simply and beautifully and what a great combo of flavors!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

oh my this is going to kill me. i love the flavors blueberry and lemon how incredible. wish you were my neighbor!

Brilynn said...

Perfect cake! I love blueberries! I'm scared of canning too.. it just seems all too likely that I'll end up killing someone or something!

Unknown said...

This cake is spectacularly beautiful, and might be just the thing to use up the rest of the blueberries I picked. Lovely presentation too.

pam said...

Beautiful cake! Beautiful photos!

Anonymous said...

what a lovely cake Patricia! aw...i used to feel the same way about making jam, but this year i tried it and successfully made blueberry and strawberry jams. so, yes, i think you can do it too!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

What a beautiful looking cake! So simple and lovely looking on the outside and then you see the inside...simply beautiful!

Emily said...

That is a gorgeous cake! I mean, wow!

PS - Dakota Fanning is scary.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

How gorgeous, Patricia! This may be the most beautiful cake you've ever done! Blueberry and lemon is such a delicious combination.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Wow - that's spectacular and beautiful (and gorgeously presented)! Well done you!

Sophie said...

What a beautiful cake and delicious combination of ingredients. I can tell it was made with plenty of love :).

glamah16 said...

Breathtaking post and presentation.

Anonymous said...

This looks and sounds amazing. The marbling is gorgeous.

TBC said...

Blueberries and lemon work really well together. Your cake is magnificent, Patricia!

RecipeGirl said...

It's most frightening to picture Amy Winehouse as a doctor (or as any sort of profession other than her own I suppose!) Scary!

Your cake, however, is anything but scary. Absolutely lovely, and there is nothing I love more than berries and lemon together.

Gattina Cheung said...

Pat, when you will have your own cake shop open?!

Dita said...

simple yet beautiful. Luv it!

Karin W. said...

I recently cooked a raspberry and blueberry preserve. We called that combination "Drottningsylt"/Queen's jam. (The very last blueberries that were in my freezer:(.

I too added lemon juice which gave it a nice zing and somehow thickens the jam a little.

Cassandra said...

Love how your cake looks. Will definitely try it. Wonderful photos too.

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly beautiful cake! I wish my attempts at marbling came out half as nice.

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, and it sounds delicious. I love the combination of lemon and blueberries - I will have to try it!

Peabody said...

Holy Smokes. I think this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen you make. It's stunning.

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous, and I love how pristine the outside looks and how colorful the cake looks. Plus, lemon buttercream? With blueberries? What a great delicious combination. (And I'm still laughing about Amy Winehouse as your doctor.)

Anonymous said...

How gorgeous, and I love how pristine the outside looks and how colorful the cake looks. Plus, lemon buttercream? With blueberries? What a great delicious combination. (And I'm still laughing about Amy Winehouse as your doctor.)

KJ said...

So pretty! I love the flavour combination too.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Farhan, she is! :)

LyB, thank you, darling! I love adding flowers to my photos.

Lindsey, and you can use frozen berries, that's a plus.

Ann, thank you - fresh blueberries are really hard to find here.

Elly, I really liked the two flavors together!

Pete, thank you, my friend.

Lydia, I had some and then shared it with my coworkers. :)

Pete, I would like that! :)

Mark, I was so glad with the result - and that jam is absolutely delicious! I was intrigued by the addition of ginger.

Cathy, thank you! It was my first time, too. :)

Linda, but I think that the marbling would look better in larger pans.

Grace, thank you! Thank you very much.

Margot, thank you!

Jen, I'm glad you like it!

Meeta, I wish you were my neighbor, too, darling!

Bri, good to know I'm in such great company! :)

Jenny, thank you! I'd love to hear your opinion about it.

Pam, thank you!

Eliza, you are such an inspiration, I think I might give it a go!

Melody, thank you, darling!

Emiline, I like Abigail Breslin. :)

T.W., thank you!

A Fork..., thank you!

Sophie, thank you for your visit!

Glamah16, thank you!

Syrie, I really like the marbled effect, too. Thank you!

TBC, thank you very much!

RecipeGirl, I needed a glass of water after that. :)
Thank you!

Gattina, only if you get to be my partner!

Dita, thank you, dear!

Karin, that preserve sounds amazing!

Cassandra, I'd love to hear your opinion about it.

Hannah, thank you, darling!

Haley Suzanne, thank you for stopping by!

Pea, thank you - that means a lot.

Julie, it was my first time making buttercream to ice a cake and that stuff is very addictive. :)
Thank you, sweetie!

KJ, thank you!

Katie said...

This is beautiful. The Marbling is fantastic. I wish I could eat some right now.

Deborah said...

What a gorgeous cake! And you shouldn't be afraid of canning jam - it's just about the easiest thing to do - much easier than this cake looks!

test it comm said...

That marbled blueberry cake looks amazing!

Nic said...

Great photos! The cake looks divine!

Jaime said...

another beautiful cake. that icing looks so perfectly smooth - so much prettier than anything i could ever decorate. love the marbling too :)

Anonymous said...

That is one amazing cake!

Gigi said...

I have seen this book everywhere and I must get it soon! Patricia how did you get the sides of your cake so smooth and perfect? I'm so jealous :)

JB said...

P - you are killing me with the whole Amy Winehouse thing, Is she not the scariest female's like she's the new Elvira, but she's not trying to be. I also have an unrational fear of steralizing and canning products so this would be perfect for me. Looks great.

G.G. said...

I was so intrigued by this recipe that I made it for my mom's birthday this past weekend. Like you, I halved the recipe because there were only four of us. I also made a few changes. I added more lemon extract and lemon zest to the batter, because I like everything to be extra lemony.

I also found the frosting to be rather tasted like lemon flavored butter to me. So I wound up adding a package of cream cheese to it, and extra lemon juice, and it was really light and different and refreshing and everyone loved it....not to mention it was so pretty! Than you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

Jeanne said...

LOL - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only person with a pathological fear of sterilizing jam jars!!

THis cake looks ridiculously good - from the marbled crumb to the smoother-than-smooth icing. Stunning!

Beth Beck Land said...

I've been reading your blog since I discovered it in January and I saw this cake when you posted it and immediately knew I would make it for my boyfriend's birthday (he has a slight obsession with blueberries) this month. It was delicious! I subbed out your frosting recipe for cream-cheese whipped cream frosting (neither of us like traditional frosting) and it came out wonderfully.
Thanks again for the great recipe. I love your blog and our tips on cooking.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi, Beth!
Thank you so much for your feedback - I'm glad to know you and your boyfriend liked the cake. And that frosting of yours sounds heavenly, too!
Thank you for stopping by and letting me know about the recipe.

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