Last week I spotted some local, fresh blueberries at the market, and I went a bit overboard. I bought too much. Way too much. As my family and I worked our way through the berries, I quickly realized that we’d never be able to eat all of them. So I decided to use a good amount of them by making these mini-cakes that are packed with fresh blueberries and lemon zest.
Why are they mini? Well, because I love mini-desserts. And I love cake. I’ll take cake any day, any time.
I used a ton of berries in the cake, so the cake layers actually turned a bluish-purple. The frosting is an American-style frosting mixed with a lemon curd. After making the frosting, I had leftover lemon curd. Don’t fret because it didn’t go to waste. My girls dipped some madeleines into the lemon curd for their afternoon snack. Yum!
I made the recipe in steps (as usual). I made the curd a day ahead. The next morning I baked the cakes, let them cool, and filled and frosted them. They were super easy to fill and frost because they’re only about 5 inches in diameter!
You could make this into one 8-inch, 3-layer cake, but I prefer mini-cakes because they make the most wonderful gifts. I dropped two of these off to our friends, and you should have seen their kids’ faces. To say they were excited is an understatement. I mean, who wouldn’t love a mini-blueberry lemon cake to dig into? I know I would!
Mini-Blueberry Lemon Cakes
The cake portion of these mini-desserts comes from Sweetopolita’s Triple-Lemon Blueberry Cake. The lemon curd recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated.
Blueberry Lemon Cake Ingredients
2 cups + 6 tbs all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Instructions for the Blueberry Lemon Cakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Line 3, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the pans and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
Mix 1 tbs of the sifted dry ingredient into the bowl with the fresh berries. This will help the berries from sinking to the bottom of the batter as it bakes.
In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, milk, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest until just combined.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the egg is incorporated.
Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches and the wet in 2 batches.
Using a spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter.
Divide the batter equally between the three pans. Bake for about 25 minutes.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn cakes out of the pans. Allow them to cool completely.
Lemon Curd Ingredients
2/3 cup lemon juice from about 4 lemons
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbs heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
Lemon Curd Instructions
Heat lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until hot (but not boiling).
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks. Gradually whisk in the sugar.
Slowly pour hot lemon juice into the egg mixture while constantly whisking.
Return the mixture to the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F, or until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 3 minutes).
Immediately remove the pan from heat.
Stir in the cold butter pieces until they are incorporated.
Stir in the cream, vanilla, and salt. Then pour the curd through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg and lemon zest.
Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Lemon Frosting Ingredients
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon curd
pinch of salt
Yellow gel food color (I used lemon yellow by AmeriColor)
Lemon Frosting Instructions
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Add the lemon curd and salt. Mix until just incorporated.
Add a few drops of food color, and mix until the color is evenly distributed.
Instructions for Assembling the Cake
Using a 5-inch circle cutter. Cut out 3, 5-inch circles from each cake.
Each mini-cake will be comprised of 3, 5-inch circles of cake. Fill each cake with about 3 to 4 tbs of frosting between each layer.
Apply a crumb coat to the mini-cakes and chill until the frosting is firm.
Using the balance of the frosting, frost each cake.
Yields 3, 3-layer, 5-inch mini-cakes.
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