Blueberry Lemon Birthday Cake

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A number of my best girl friends all have fall birthdays and nothing is more festive than a pretty birthday cake! This one is given an extra lemony hit with a Limoncello soak, sweetened with a thin layer of blueberry jam and wrapped in a rich buttercream.

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Not feeling the extra work of icing a cake? Opt for a more rustic naked cake version. Line a cake ring with a piece of parchment 7 inches tall and proceed with the same assembly, just divide the buttercream across the three layers making sure to get right to the edges!

Cake Base

  • 55 g butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tsp
  • 60 g vegetable shortening
  • 240 g granulated sugar
  • 50 g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line the base of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Combine the butter, shortening, zest and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides.

On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. Make sure the mixture is completely emulsified. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spread the cake batter evenly into the pan.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense.

Once the cake has cooled, remove from the pan and cut two 6-inch round circles. Cut a third by using the leftover scraps. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty to snack on! The ‘scrap’ layer will be the your center layer.

Buttercream

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Food coloring in red and blue
  • Silver or gold dragees, optional
  • Blueberries for decoration
  • 1/3 cup blueberry jam

Pour the egg whites and sugar into a bowl of a double boiler. Use a whisk to beat the mixture over the heat until the sugar has entirely dissolved. Remove from the heat and either transfer to a stand mixer or get out an electric hand mixer. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Slowly add the butter in tiny pieces. If the frosting starts to separate or curdle, keep beating! It should smooth out.

Add enough food coloring to achieve a bluey purple hue.

Place the buttercream into a piping bag. You can use a plain or star tip.

Soak

  • 1/4 cup of milk or 2 Tbsp Limoncello mixed with 2 Tbsp water

To assemble the cake, place your base layer on a cake plate. Dab the top with a bit of your soak and spread half the jam over this layer. Careful not to push the jam right to the edges. Pipe about 1/2 cup of butter cream over the jam and even out using a spatula. Repeat with the second layer. Top with the final layer and give the entire cake a thin layer of buttercream. Pipe rosettes with any remaining buttercream and decorate with blueberries and dragees.

Allow the cake the sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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