Today was our 2 year old baby girl’s birthday party. It’s been getting warmer here and the snow has all melted…for now. Spring is on my mind and butterflies, ladybugs, and daffodils are always the signs I look for to welcome the season enthusiastically. This moist and rich lemon blueberry cake was perfect as a prelude to warmer weather and to commemorate the occasion, although a little late. A lot of our family came to celebrate and enjoy the first birthday where she actually realizes those bright and beautifully wrapped packages are for her! Better yet, they contain toys…actual toys! Nap time was imminent by the time she opened her gifts but we did manage to get in the required singing of “Happy Birthday to You” with her eyes still open and laughed as she actually attempted to blow out her 2 birthday candles like she’s learned to blow on her food to cool it. However, after mommy helped her get those candles out, she continued to lightly blow on the unlit candles…a site that was precious to those present. She made out like a true bandit and her family really spoiled her with toys she loves and clothing that will look unbelievably cute with her cowboy boots….boots she doesn’t like to take off at all and cries if you try to remove them. She managed to eat a few blueberries and a couple bites of this delicious cake but soon after, fell asleep for a two hour nap. Now, mommy needs a nap!
This is a link to the candied lemon recipe if you want to try it.
This recipe was adapted from sallysbakingaddiction and melskitchencafe.
- 1 C. (2 Sticks, 8 oz.) butter, softened to room temp. (I use unsalted)
- 1 3/4 C. Sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Zest (2-3 lemons depending on size)
- 4 Large Eggs, Room Temp.
- 2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Tsp. Lemon Extract
- 2 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- 1 C. Buttermilk
- 1/2 C. Fresh Lemon Juice (Zest the lemons first, then cut in half for juicing.)
- 2 C. Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
- 2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
- Whipped Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz. Block of Cream Cheese, softened to room temp.
- 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, softened to room temp. (I use unsalted)
- 4 1/2 C. powdered sugar
- 2 Tsp. Fresh Lemon Zest
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Tsp. Lemon Extract
- 2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream or Whole Milk
- Pinch of salt
- Garnish Optional
- Lemon Zest Curls
- Candied Lemon Slices
- Fresh Blueberries (Frozen may be used as well but they are not as pretty after being frozen)
- For this recipe you can use two 9 inch round pans or 3, 8 inch round pans. Turn your pan over and outline a piece of parchment paper with a pencil or pen to make a stencil for the size of the bottom of your pans. Cut the circles of parchment paper with scissors. Spray the pans with nonstick spray or coconut oil spray. Place paper circles inside greased pan. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Dry whisk together. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl in combination with a hand held mixer, or in a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. 4-5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time to incorporate into the batter. Add the vanilla and lemon extract. Begin adding the dry ingredients in the medium bowl previously set aside to the larger bowl with the butter/sugar mixture. Mix on LOW to incorporate the rest of the four mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix only long enough to incorporate. Add the buttermilk and lemon juice and mix on LOW until just incorporated. Careful you don’t over mix and overwork the flour.
- In a small bowl, add the frozen or fresh blueberries and 2 Tbsp. of All Purpose Flour. If using frozen blueberries, toss into flour while fresh from the freezer and still frozen. No need to thaw or rinse with warm water. Toss together gently using a spoon or clean gentle hands.
- Add the blueberries with the flour into the batter bowl. Remove your batter bowl from the stand mixer and use a spoon or rubber spatula to gently fold the berries into the batter. Fold just enough to gently incorporate the berries.
- Pour batter into your prepared pans, taking care to eyeball it as evenly as possible. Place all pans in your preheated oven and cook until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean of moist cake batter after insertion and removal and the top of the cake feels set to the touch and springs back slightly if you touch it with the pads of your finger tips.
- Cook the three 8 inch pans or the two 9 inch pans (whichever you use) at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I am at a higher altitude and in my oven my 8 inch cakes cook in 38 minutes. 9 inch cakes take 35. Watch your cakes and test them for doneness beginning at 33 minutes to ensure you don’t over bake and dry out your cakes. Remove from oven when baked. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Using a butter knife, insert the blade between the cake and the sides of the pan to help release the cake from the pan without sticking. Turn the cakes over to allow to release from the pan. If you are uneasy, you can use a cookie sheet or plate to help the de-caking process. Simply place the flat object against the top of the cake and turn over both the flat object and the cake pan while keeping them together. The cake should release easily. I release my cake to parchment paper to allow to cool on the countertop. Remove the parchment circle from the top of the cake. Allow the cakes to cool completely. (At this point you can wrap and freeze your individual cakes to frost later, or frost and serve, or frost/refrigerate and serve up to 24 hours later.
- For the frosting, add the cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest to a mixing bowl and mix together on medium high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy in texture. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time on LOW speed to avoid a mess of powdered sugar. Add the lemon juice, lemon extract, whipping cream or whole milk, and pinch of salt to the mixture and mix on medium-high until the frosting has a light and fluffy appearance and has a texture that will be easy to spread on a cake.
- Place your bottom cake layer on your serving vessel of choice. To help with frosting and keep your serving vessel clean, place small rectangular pieces (2 inch by 5 inch) of parchment paper underneath the edges of the entire cake towards the outside of the serving vessel. The parchment paper will contain any messy frosting boo boos at the bottom of the cake and can simply be removed after the entire cake is frosted to your liking.
- Frost the bottom layer with desired amount of frosting (realizing the rest of the cake will also need frosting…smile). Add another layer of cake to the top of the bottom layer and add frosting again. ( If using 8 inch pans, add the last layer after frosting the top of your second layer.) Once all your layers are in place with a frosting layer in-between each, begin frosting the sides of the cake, filling in any unevenness with frosting. Frost the top of the cake and blend your frosting to your liking using a n offset spatula or butter knife.
- Decorate to your liking with blueberries, strings of lemon zest, candied lemon slices, or just fresh lemon slices. (Note-you can also use frozen-thawed blueberries but they have a more wrinkled texture after being previously frozen, thawed, and dried off.)