Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today I am sharing the cake I made for Easter. I wanted to make something Spring-y this year and something that wasn’t the typical yellow or chocolate cake. Not that there is anything wrong with those. You can never go wrong with a classic! After searching around the internet for some ideas I settled on a Lemon cake with a Blackberry filling and Cream Cheese Frosting. I used to love lemon flavored desserts and then I went thru a phase where I just didn’t care for them. I must have eaten a lemon dessert that rubbed my taste buds the wrong way. Thankfully this lemon cake was just the right amount of lemon without being overpowering or sweet.

Now, this cake was almost a complete failure!  I made my blackberry filling a few days before and I followed a recipe I found online that seemed good but turned out to be overly sweet and was more syrup-like than a cake filling. I soon realized that the amount of sugar that the recipe called for was more so for a pie filling that also required a lot more blackberries than I was using. Now some people have that much of a sweet tooth but not me. Thankfully I bought two packages of blackberries in case of a mishap. The second time I added less sugar and I didn’t strain the blackberry mixture to remove the seeds. I did that the first time and I think that contributed to it being more of a syrup as well.  And once I refrigerated the mixture it was the perfect consistency to fill my cake.

And the first cake I made was a fail as well. I followed a recipe that called for altering a box cake mix and I have done this before with no issues. Well, this time my cake looked more like a pancake. Or an inflated pancake I should say. And even though I added in a good amount of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice my cake just tasted sweet with barely any lemon flavor. Granted the recipe I was following did call for a lemon box cake and I used a white box cake because I was concerned that the lemon would taste a bit artificial but that doesn’t explain why my cake had no height. As it was cooling on my kitchen counter, I was staring at it from my couch in my living room and I was trying to figure out how to get more height out of it. Ultimately, I decided to toss it and just bake a lemon cake from scratch.

After baking and cooking the cake, I wrapped the layers in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. After whipping up a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the layers of the cake and then piped a dam around the cake and filled it with the blackberry filling.

Next, I topped it with the other lemon cake layer, crumb coated it and finally frosted and decorated the cake.

The components of this cake worked well together. If you are not a fan of blackberries you could use raspberries instead and if you want to up the lemon flavor you can add lemon extract to the frosting as well.

Blackberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the lemon cake:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Zest from 1 lemon

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup whole milk

For the blackberry filling:

6oz. fresh blackberries

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

For the cream cheese frosting:

2 8oz. blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a hand mixer or electric stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. The batter may appear to break apart at this point. It will come together once the flour is added in. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the milk. Continue mixing until the ingredients are just incorporated.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on wire racks.

For the blackberry Filling:

In a small bowl combine the water and cornstarch and set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the blackberries and sugar over medium heat. Stir until the blackberries begin to breakdown and the sugar has melted and it turns into a sauce and begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and add in the cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine.

Transfer to a small container, with a lid, and stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cream cheese frosting:

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds.

To assemble the cake:

If necessary, torte the lemon cake layers. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese frosting over one of the layers. Transfer about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag and snip off the end and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the layer with the frosting. Fill in with the blackberry filling. Top with the other cake and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake (crumb coat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes and then finish frosting the cake as desired.

Recipe for the Lemon Cake from Food Network

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Can you believe that Easter is just a little over a week away? Where is the time going? Today’s cake would be perfect for your Easter dessert. Coconut is a great Spring flavor and passion fruit is a flavor that’s not too common but pairs well with coconut. If passion fruit isn’t your thing you could try a key lime curd instead. Coconut and lime pairs together deliciously.

IMG_8672

To begin, I made the passion fruit curd. I wanted to make sure that it would thicken enough so I made it two days before assembling the cake. I have never seen passion fruit at any of the supermarkets I go to, so I opted to buy frozen passion fruit pulp  and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you are thinking of using passion fruit juice, I would just advise on using one that is 100% passion fruit juice, not a blend of other fruits. I began by combining egg yolks, passion fruit juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stirred it until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Since it can sometimes be a little difficult to determine this with the spoon I am stirring with I normally take a small spoon and run the back of it in the mixture to make sure it is thick enough. Once it was, I removed the saucepan from the heat and added in unsalted butter that I cut into chunks, stirring between each addition to make sure the butter was completely melted. I then strained the curd through a fine mesh sieve two times before placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of it and refrigerating it until I was ready to use. A quick tip, the second time I strained the curd I did so into the container I was planning on refrigerating the curd in.

IMG_8643

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures while making the cake layers. I intended to take pictures of them once they were cooled and I was ready to use them, but I was running short on time. The weekend I made this week I decided was also a good weekend to finally paint my hallway. I had been intending to do it ever since I finished my living room remodel, but the paint cans just sat on the floor with me walking by them everyday and the task on my to-do list every week. Well, the paint cans just started to annoy me, and I didn’t have anything to do so I went ahead and started to paint. Initially I was going to prime beforehand, but I had a lot less primer than I thought and since the paint I was using was paint and primer combined I decided to just use that. Well, I ended up needing a another can of paint. And painting the second coat took a lot longer than I was anticipating so my cake suffered. I shouldn’t say suffered, but it didn’t get the full attention that I was planning on giving it! But back to the cake… I used a recipe that I have used in the past for coconut cupcakes and just baked the batter in two 8-inch cake rounds.

After making a batch of cream cheese frosting it was time to assemble the cake. I sliced the small dome that each of the cakes had to flatten them and then piped a cream cheese border around one of the cakes to create a dam for the curd. I then filled the cake with the curd and placed the other round on top. I crumb coated the cake and after refrigerating for about 20 minutes I finished frosting the cake. I love cream cheese frosting, but I always find that it’s not the easiest to work with when it comes to piping. The cream cheese really makes the frosting soft, so I popped it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before filling a piping bag fitted with a large tip to pipe the rope border around the cake. It didn’t come out as neat as I liked but it was all good. I then sprinkled the top and sides of the cake with coconut and it was good to go. Note to self, don’t ever plan on painting and making a cake on the same day!

IMG_8649

So, the flavors of the cake – passion fruit, coconut, and cream cheese frosting – worked well together. If you want to up the coconut flavor in the cake, you can substitute coconut milk for the buttermilk. For this recipe you could use a cup of coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to get the same consistency as the buttermilk. And you could swap out the almond extract and use coconut extract instead. One more suggestion, I would slice this cake while it’s on the colder side. Once it gets too warm the passion fruit curd makes it difficult to get clean slices of the cake. You could always slice while the cake it’s cold and then let the slices come to room temperature before enjoying.

Passion Fruit & Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Passion Fruit Curd:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

7 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks

For the Coconut Cake:

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract**

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk***

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decorating cake

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 8oz. blocks cream cheese, at room temperature

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I refrigerated overnight to defrost

**If you are not a fan of almond flavor you can reduce the amount or substitute with coconut extract

***To make my own buttermilk I combine 1 cup whole milk with 5 teaspoons of vinegar in a measuring cup and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens. You could also use a cup of unsweetened coconut milk with a tablespoon of vinegar.

Directions:

For the curd (make a day or two in advance to assembling the cake): In a medium saucepan combine the passion fruit juice, egg yolks and sugar. Over medium heat stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and add it the pinch of salt and the chunks of butter, one at a time. Stirring between addition to ensure the butter has melted before adding an addition piece. Strain through a fine mesh sieve 2 times. Place in a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray, or grease and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could also use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In three parts, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, alternating between each. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the shredded coconut and divide the batter between the two prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer (you could use a hand mixer) using the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract on medium speed. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

To assemble the cake: If necessary, torte the cakes. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag with the end snipped off and pipe around the perimeter of the cake to create a dam. Fill the cake with the passion fruit curd and top with the other cake. Frost the cake with a crumb coat and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Use remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Passion Fruit Curd Recipe from Garlic and Zest

Coconut Cake Recipe from Food Network

Spring Striped Cake

Happy first day of Spring! I hope you are all safe and healthy. I am sure Coronavirus / Covid-19 has changed the way you do a lot of things these days. I started working from home this week and while the first day was a bit of a challenge using my desktop and laptop in tandem, the second day was much better since I had my desktop and two monitors from work set-up at my kitchen table. Which also means I can enjoy some sunlight during the day… There’s no sunlight to be seen at my job. I must say, and I am sure most (if not all) of you would agree, it’s so surreal how many things have closed, been cancelled, rescheduled and so forth. It’s the best choice though if we want to contain this virus.

Back to Spring though, to welcome the season I decided to make a Spring themed cake. Spring themed because I used Spring colors. I decided to gives stripes another try. I tried them for the first time back in October for a Halloween themed cake. They were not pretty though! But, I figured since it was a Halloween cake the smudged stripes went with the holiday.

I decided to keep the cake small so I made a two-tier 6-inch cake. I made a cookies and cream cake by preparing a box of white cake mix – instead of using just egg whites though I used the whole egg – and then folded in a cup of Oreo cookie crumbs. To make the crumbs, I placed about 15 Oreos in a Ziploc bag and then used a rolling pin to crush the cookies. I actually have a whole post dedicated to making a Cookies and Cream Cake if you want the specific directions. After baking, cooling and filling (with additional Oreo crumbs) the cake I crumb coated it and then finished frosting it. Then using a cake comb I created stripes on the cake. I then placed it in the refrigerator overnight so the frosting could set (i.e. harden). You cannot create stripes on a cake that has just been frosted. You need the base frosting to be hard so you don’t scrape it completely off when smoothing the stripes.

Once my cake was ready I divided my remaining frosting into three and tinted them – one pink, another yellow and the last one a teal color (I combined green and blue to make this color).

And then I started filling in the stripes. You need to fill them in generously to get a smooth look when smoothing the cake with a flat edge.

After smoothing the cake a few times and filling in any gaps in the frosting my stripes didn’t look that bad. I definitely need to practice them a few more times though.

I used the remaining tinted frosting to create a swirl border on top of the cake. I wasn’t too happy with the way it came out though because I forgot colors 101, mixing certain colors together will create new ones. So I had hints of orange and purple in the border. Oh well!

Be safe, stay healthy, stay home and bake!

Spring Themed Palette Knife Painted Cake – Tutorial

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate I decided to try my hand at a Palette Knife Painted Cake. Using a spatula and buttercream frosting you basically paint a picture, design, flowers onto the sides of a cake. It’s definitely a lot more forgiving that piping a design on a cake and cake easily be fixed with a little more buttercream and some extra strokes of your spatula.

I used a yellow box cake mix to bake a two layer 6-inch cake. While the cake was cooling I whipped up a batch of my go-to Fluffy-Vanilla Frosting from Martha Stewart. I reserved about 3/4 cup of the frosting and then applied a thin crumb coat to the cake and then refrigerated the cake for about 30 minutes. While the cake was in the refrigerator I tinted the reserved 3/4 cup yellow and tinted the remaining frosting teal, for the background of the cake.

I then applied a generous amount of frosting to the cake and smoothed it as much as possible. I wanted a fairly thick layer of frosting around the cake for the next steps.

Next, using the tines of a fork I created a basket weave pattern around the cake. To begin, I placed the tines of a fork at the base of the cake and dragged them upwards about 1-inch. You don’t want to press so deeply that you are touching the cake though, hence, having a thick coat of frosting on the cake. Then, holding the tines horizontally above the first set of lines on the left I dragged the fork to the right stopping when I reached the last line from the bottom set of lines. I repeated this pattern up the side of the cake until I reached the top. I then started the next row with a set of horizontal lines, and then vertical and so forth. Continuing the alternating pattern until the entire cake was covered.

I then reserved about a tablespoon of the teal frosting and then tinted the remaining frosting green by adding in green gel food coloring. Using a tapered spatula and starting at the base of the cake I began dragging the tip of the spatula through the buttercream to create stems. Making sure not to press too deep as to touch the cake, but, going deep enough to create a channel. I passed the spatula through a few times to make sure it was deep enough making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass. I did this around the cake and even added in a few smaller channels between the larger stems.

To paint these channels, I picked up a small dollop of the green frosting and then using my fingers I round the frosting onto the tip of spatula so it was smooth. Next, I simply dragged the frosting through the channels. I repeated this step – making sure to wipe the spatula between each pass – until all of my stems were painted with frosting. At this point I placed the cake in the refrigerator for about an hour.

After the hour, I removed the cake from the refrigerator. Using the reserved yellow buttercream I painted flowers onto the cake. Using a rounded spatula I picked up a small dollop of yellow frosting and once again smoothed it with my fingers. I then pressed the dollop onto the cake and pulled the spatula away to create a petal. I continued doing this around the cake. I’ll admit, my petal didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped. This step actually reminded me of the pulled dot design on a cake. I actually wondered afterwards if it would have been easier to create the petals using that technique, although then the cake wouldn’t completely be a palette knife painted cake then.

I got the idea for this cake from The Cake Blog, for more detailed instructions click here .