Have y'all been feeling the winter blues?! The bitter cold of that Arctic Vortex gave me a serious case of the blahs! Being cooped up in the house with nothing but snow and grey skies outside can really bring you down. That's why I thought this delicately sweet blueberry cake would be perfect for this weeks installment of Sweet & Savory. The blueberry gives a hint of springtime (which many of us are desperately awaiting) and the white cake and buttercream frosting give just a kiss of sweetness.
Usually I'm a wiz when it comes to baking a cake. Tie one hand behind my back, blind fold me, spin me around 10 times and set me loose and I can still bake one hell of a cake. Well.. this cake chose to be challenging every step of the way. My first mistake was being in a hurry. Bubba and I have been stretched for time lately and I had forgotten to pencil 'Bake Cake' into my schedule. Never a good way to start. Trying to be one step ahead, I kept stumbling around like a stranger in my kitchen. A perfect example of inefficiency. Second, I made a complete mess! On a good day I'm a very tidy cook, but this week my kitchen looked like a powder sugar bomb had exploded. Last, but not least, I had a major fight with the buttercream frosting. The consistency was off because I couldn't be patient and take my time, however; that didn't stop me from cursing it seven ways from Sunday.
Did I mention that it has come to my attention that my oven is not level!! That's a story for another day. Anywho.. Initially I was really upset with how imperfect this cake turned out. This cake wasn't going to win any beauty contests and my goal is to bring y'all quality content. That doesn't include lopsided cakes. I was about to just chuck the whole thing and then Bubba took a bite, gave his cheshire cat grin and an approving 'mmmmm that's good'. In that moment I realized perfection wasn't the goal with this cake. It was that smile. All the other stuff was just trivial. Light bulb moment! Honesty is a big part of creating quality content. One of my many goals for 2014 is to live an authentic life and this was a great example of what it takes for me to do just that. If I'm to share this authentic life with you that includes all the flaws as well. My cakes may not be picture perfect, but I promise you that the recipes are delicious.
Bake your cake with love and enjoy sharing it with your loved ones because that's what it's all about!
Winter Blues Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup) at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) softened, but not melted
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Set oven rack in middle position. Pre-Heat oven to 350°. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper then lightly dust with flour. Be sure to remove the excess flour by inverting the pans and giving them a good tap.
Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into a small bowl and mix together.
In a large bowl (or bowl of standing mixer) combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix at a slow speed. Add butter and continue beating at slow speed until mixture looks like moist crumbs with no powdery streaks remaining. Add about 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using a handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape sides and beat for another 20 seconds.
Divide batter evenly between your two cake pans. Using a rubber spatula spread the batter to the pan walls and smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean / about 25 minutes.
Let cakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove and set on wire rack to completely cool.
In a medium pot combine blueberries, water, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce to medium heat and constantly stir (from time to time mash the blueberries on the side of the pot to help mix) until blueberries are cooked and mixture is thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer to cream. Slowly add 3 cups of powdered sugar. You're going to want to turn mixer to low so that sugar doesn't blow everywhere. Mix until the sugar has been incorporated into the butter. Increase mixer speed back to medium and add your vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream. Beat for several minutes. If you want a stiffer frosting, add remaining sugar. If you want to thin your frosting, simply add remaining milk.
For this cake I made another 1/2 batch of frosting so I could add a heaping spoonful to mix with the blueberry filling. This was just a personal choice.