I’m extremely hard on myself. I often feel that nothing I do is ever good enough and I’m constantly criticizing my actions or second-guessing my decisions. It’s exhausting being me when the voices in my head just won’t shut up.
I wasn’t going to blog about this cake for the very reasons noted above – I made it for my father-in-law’s birthday and it looked like a hot mess. I know it’s just cake and I shouldn’t take it (or myself) so seriously. But I felt like a ridiculous failure for making something that look so incredibly unappetizing. Out of shame, I didn’t take a photo of it but in the name of my self-deprecating nature, I’m kicking myself in the arse now for not capturing it for posterity (and a good laugh now that sufficient time has passed).
The cake is one of the Husband’s favourites – it’s bright, lemony, and studded with sweet bursts of blueberry. I decided to make a four layer cake, with homemade lemon-strawberry curd in-between each layer and a whipped cream frosting for the outside. Like a breath of springtime as we descend into dark, cold winter days.
During transport to my in-law’s house, the movement of the car and the slickness of the curd sent each of the layers flying, smushing whipped cream all over the domed top of my cake carrier. The curd oozed out and mixed with the cream into an decidedly unappealing reddish goo. I fixed the cake as best I could – I pushed the layers back together and smoothed out the whipped cream.
It tasted delicious so that’s all that counts.
Lemon blueberry layer cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
2 cups plus 6 tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (you can use fresh but all I had at the time were frozen)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
zest of two lemons
juice of one lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter two 8″ round cake pans.
Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Transfer 1 tbsp flour into a separate bowl. Toss the frozen blueberries into the 1 tbsp of flour and set aside.
Mix the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, until it’s very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until well combined.
Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
The original recipe calls for the blueberries to be stirred into the batter at this time. Even though I’ve covered the berries in flour, every time I add them directly into the batter the colour bleeds and the cake turns purple. To avoid this, I spoon half the batter into my cake pans, add a layer of the blueberries on top of the batter, and then top the blueberries with the remaining batter.
Bake the cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes then remove them and finish cooling on wire racks.
Lightened Lemon Curd (adapted from Baking Bites)
2/3 cup strained, fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon
12 tbsp sugar
2 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Add the zest and stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly pour the hot lemon-sugar syrup into the eggs. Beat for 2 minutes (only 1 if you’re using a mixer), then pour back into the saucepan by pouring the mixture through a sieve to catch all the bits (especially any egg that may have cooked and scrambled).
Cook the mixture over low heat, whisking constantly, making sure to get into the corners, until the curd just comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a small airtight container and store in the fridge. I doubled Baking Bite’s original recipe – this will make about 1 1/3 cup curd.
I felt that my curd was a bit tart so I added about 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar to it after it finished cooking. It was still tart (which is how I like it but I was worried my in-laws wouldn’t) so I then added about a cup of homemade strawberry jam to the curd. It actually didn’t do anything to decrease the tartness. Oh well.
For the whipped cream frosting, I used a 225 mL carton of whipping cream and whipped it in my stand mixer with about 1/4 cup sugar. Easy peasy.
You look a fright but you were delicious.