Lemon Cake with Bumbleberry Frosting
- 2 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 cups butter
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup whole fat milk Lemon Curd
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 2 large lemons)
- 2 Tbsps lemon zest
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter Frosting
- 5 egg whites
- 2 cups (14 oz, 392 gr) granulated sugar
- large pinch of salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup bumbleberry purée
DirectionsCake Whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, 1/3 cup at a time, then add the vanilla. Blend the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients slowly, alternating with the milk, until fully mixed. Pour the batter into greased and papered cake tin(s). Bake at 350ºF/177ºC until toothpick comes out clean (30-35min for 6″ cake tins). Cool fully. Curd Add all the ingredients except the butter in a saucepan and blend together. Place over low heat and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, remove from heat. Add the butter slowly, stirring in completely. Cool. Frosting Place the egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer metal bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water. Cook until the temperature reaches 71ºC (160ºF). Remove from the heat, place on the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks form. Beat in the salt, then add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Fold in the bumbleberry purée.
And now for the details…
Cake is my favourite dessert. I can say that, because it’s such a wide variety of options that I get to include in this category. Ice cream cake? Of course. Coffee cake? Absolutely. Angel food cake? Yum. Layer cake? Without a doubt. Cheesecake? *drool* Pancake? You monster.
(Admission time: I hate pancakes. Yes, I am weird, I get it, what kind of person doesn’t like pancakes? Maybe I’m the monster here. And no, I’m sorry, the “but these pancakes” that you will want me to try, because they are “different” and I will “definitely like them”, will not make me change my mind. Are they moist, slightly soggy flaps of cooked batter meant to be drenched in butter and syrup? *shudder* nope, mind is made up here.)
Of all these different cake types, though, if I had to choose, a good layer cake is probably my most preferred type of cake. I am terrible at decorating them, but as long as the result is tasty cake, I’m will to look past the lopsided-ness or borderline looks-like-it-belongs-on-a-“cake fail”-post, and just enjoy the sweet, sweet tastiness.
The first part of a great cake is, of course, the cake itself. This cake is a butter cake, scented with a bit of lemon extract to amp up the lemony-ness. We start out by creaming our butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Then add your eggs one-by-one, allowing the first one to completed mix in before adding the next. Then add in your vanilla and lemon extract.
Next step is to either whisk or sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Whisking or sifting will help to break apart chunks in the powder, getting a better mix when we add the dry ingredient to our wet ingredients.
Speaking of, let’s add our dry ingredients. We do this in steps, so add about 1/3 of the dry ingredient, then 1/3 of the milk. Continue alternating until you have added everything to the bowl.
Only mix until everything is mixed in, then STOP! Mixing for too long starts activating the gluten in our flour, and can result in a “chewy” or “rubbery” cake. We do have a heck of a lot of butter in our cake, which does help hinder the gluten formation, but mixing for too long will affect your final texture. You can also use cake or pastry flour to help keep a nice crumby texture to your cake, but I find I do not bake often enough to keep multiple flours in my pantry and I rely on good ol’ all-purpose.
The cake batter is now going to go into some prepared pans. Do this however you feel is best. The way I learned from my mom is to butter the pan first, paying particular attention to the sides of the pan, then cut some parchment or waxed paper to the size of the bottom of the pan, and line the bottom with the paper. For this recipe, the batter will fit nicely into two 9″ round pans.
Add the batter to the pans, splitting it somewhat evenly between the two prepared pans. This batter is fairly thick, so you will need to spread it out in the pan and smooth out the top.
Then place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake springs back up from pushing lightly in the middle.
Coming up next is the lemon curd and bumbleberry purée. For the lemon curd, separate 5 eggs, setting the whites aside into a metal bowl to make the butter cream later. In a saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar until pale yellow, then add the lemon juice and zest, mixing in completely. Place on LOW heat and stir for about 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened fairly significantly, and coats the back of a wooden spoon. The low heat is very important, otherwise you may end up with scrambled eggs instead of lemon. Patience is key. (It’s worth it!!) Stay with the curd, and stir is continuously while it is on the heat. Next, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to melt and mix into the curd completely before adding the next amount. As you add the butter, the curd will thicken.
While the curd is cooking, you can be getting the bumbleberry purée ready at the same time. Are bumbleberries a real berry? Ummmm… well, I would love to believe this website because they sound like a magical berry from Utah! But.. bumbleberry is basically a mix of numerous different kinds of berries. In my mix, we are using blackberries, raspberries and blueberries (about 3 cups all together). Mix them together in a saucepan and add them at medium heat until they cook down and get jammy-looking. From here, you can strain them using a regular strainer, but I find a food mill is a great way to get rid of the pips and be left with a nice, non-grainy purée.
Last, but definitely not least, is our icing. I used a Swiss meringue buttercream for this recipe, but feel free to use the buttercream of your choice. I am still learning about buttercreams, and this website provides a fantastic comparison of buttercreams, and provides links to recipes for each. Does this recipe look familiar? It should!! Big thanks to Baker Bettie for providing such amazing information for us amateur bakers!
Start by mixing your egg whites with your sugar, and placing them over a water bath (remember that metal bowl we discussed for the egg whites? Place it on a pot filled with simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water, and you’ve got your water bath!) Heat until they have reached a temperature of 71ºC (160ºF), then remove from the heat. Place them in your stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, whisk until fluffy and they form stiff peaks.
Great! Ready for the butter? I am! It needs to be fully room temperature, but not too warm. Add the butter about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, allowing the previous addition to mix completely into the icing before adding the next bit. Then, add 1 cup of your purée to the mix (save the rest for decorating the cake later) and mix in thoroughly.
And finally? Assemble your cake! We are going to cut each layer in half, and in the middle of each cut half, place your lemon curd. The buttercream goes between the two layers. If you are able to do this while maintaining a nice, even set of layering, good for you! I am jealous! But most importantly, enjoy the berrylicious, tart, sweet, creamy, crumby, deliciousness!