Cook & Bake with Me(z): Lemon Blueberry Cake

Lemon Blueberry  Cake Blog Post Header_edit1

Happy May 2015! Remember when I said I’d be blogging more often? Well, as usual, life’s events have been getting in the way. I’ve come to accept the fact that my blogging schedule will continue to be fluid, just as my life has been these past couple of months. I hope you understand πŸ™‚

It’s just that I’m going through a fair share of transition in my life and sorting all of that out is time consuming! I finished my undergraduate studies at SDSU this past December, started training for my first half marathon scheduled in July, had my last day at my internship in April, I started doing some freelance PR on the side and as of two days ago, officially moved back to the South Bay. On top of that, I am currently sitting in bed awake at 2 a.m. because I’ve been sick for the past couple of days, which has thrown my sleeping schedule off. I always seem to be getting sick just before or during important life events. I think this time around it was because of the 90 degree heat spike, all the dust from the moving process and all the stress that accompanies that.

Anyways, I intended this baking-related post to be written just after the Easter holiday, but as you can tell, that did not happen. But regardless of the poor timing, let’s get to it!

Holiday seasons always bring the wanna-be-baker out of me and Easter was no exception. A couple days before making the trip home for the weekend from San Diego, I thought about what type of treat would be tasty and easy to consume (as we have a handful of kids in the family). I thought about making traditional rice-krispy treat/shredded wheat Easter egg nests, but all the recipes I saw included some type of chocolate. Anyone that knows me is aware that I’m not much of a chocolate fan. If it’s not dark chocolate, I pretty much stay away from it. Yes, just add that to the list of odd things about me. It’s a long list.

Anyways, I wanted to challenge myself by making something different, which is when I stumbled across this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction for a lemon blueberry cake. I enjoy blueberries, but let me just tell you, I don’t prefer lemon-flavored baked goods and I am not too keen on cake in general.Β This cake changed my mind. I decided to try it because I know my older brother enjoys lemon-flavored pastries, so I figured, why not. He actually helped me decide what to bake and helped me throughout the process. Mind you, prior to this, I had never made cake from scratch, let alone a multi-layered cake, which it ended up being.

The Cake

My wanna-be baker longs for a Kitchen Aid mixer for situations like these. Luckily, my aunt, who bakes quite often, had a hand mixer for me to borrow, along with majority of the tools I used for the post-baking process. Maybe one day I’ll have room in my cupboard for my own mixer, but for now, I’m fine with borrowing the needed supplies. This recipe calls for the usual ingredients for a regular vanilla cake, but with the added lemon and blueberries of course. For the exact recipe measurements, click here.

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The Frosting

Frosting sweetness-level is important to me. The main reason I don’t usually enjoy cake is because the icing is usually way too sweet. I think icing should be complementary to the flavors of a cake as opposed to overpowering. That’s why I like cream cheese frosting. I think with the tart flavors from both the lemons and blueberries, this frosting added a dimension of subtle sweetness. Not the healthiest choice, but who said this was a healthy recipe to begin with? Holidays are meant for a little indulgence. Again, for exact measurements, check out the recipe I used here. I know for a fact I reduced the amount of sugar I used for the frosting, but feel free to do as you please in terms of sugar-content.

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The Baking

The oven at my house is ancient and it infamously has one temperature: BURN. This element is a contributing factor as to why I don’t bake as often as I’d like to. Along with the Kitchen Aid mixer, I will one day own an oven that doesn’t lie to me when I set it to 350 degrees. Both my brother and I thankfully kept a watchful eye on the cake as it baked and while the pictures below look like they are on the verge of being on the burnt side of the baking spectrum, considering our scary oven, I think they turned out well!

I baked the cakes and made the frosting the day before the party, so both would have plenty of time to set and cool before working on the decorating process. I believe it took about 25 minutes for the cakes to bake. The suggestion is to bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

The Final Presentation

I used a cake slicer in an attempt to even out the layers, but the cake still turned out a bit wonky. Oh well! I think it added a Alice in Wonderland charm to it πŸ˜› I ended up cutting each cake in half to make four total layers in the end. I used a frosting knife to spread the icing out between each of the layers and on the outside of the cake. Watching lots of Cake Boss episodes made me think I could spread frosting on a multi-layered cake like a professional. I was definitely wrong. It’s so difficult! Good thing I had the cake set on a spinner so it made the process slightly easier. I put some lemon zest and blueberries on top to give it a little pop of color and I loved the way it turned out! The colors definitely exuded spring time πŸ™‚

The cake itself turned out to be on the denser side, but it did no lack on the flavor. My aunt says it may have been due to over-mixing the batter. I actually liked the density because it gave the cake a richer texture, which isn’t typical for most cakes. When I think cake, I think airy and fluffy. Prior to serving it out at the party I got a little nervous, as it was my first time baking a cake. But everyone ended up liking it! The kids ate it as-is and some of the parents enjoyed it with some hot tea. People even came back for seconds!

It was definitely fun to experiment with cake-making. I for sure want to try this recipe again in the near future. My brother’s girlfriend really loved the cake, so maybe I’ll try my hand at making some cupcake versions for a future birthday of hers. We’ll see πŸ™‚

IMG_2064As I’m writing this I notice that it is now 4 a.m. I am definitely back to being an insomniac. As always, if you end up trying this recipe, please share your thoughts and pictures with me! I like seeing what other people come up with. Also, I appreciate those who have been commenting on my posts, it makes me smile to know that there are people out there that actually take time out of their day to read my ramblings, so thank you!

Sincerely,

❀ Mez