Now that I am back in the blog writing saddle, as it were, it feels good to write this post and share the recipe that I created for this summery cake. It is a Blueberry and Lime cake, flavoured with a Lime and Mint sugar syrup, and I created it for the birthday of my partner’s youngest daughter.
I have been musing over a blueberry and lemon cake for a while. I have seen several recipes online but they all seem overly complicated. I also really wanted to use lime instead of lemon. And then I remembered the lime and mint sugar syrup that I made for my friends’ naked wedding cake two years ago. It’s such a wonderful and refreshing combination: the mint makes the berries zing. I just needed an excuse to experiment.
I usually make a cake for my partner’s children’s birthdays. We try to get together for a big blended family dinner with cake and candles. His youngest didn’t have a preference for what kind of cake she wanted, so I took the opportunity to make something that I fancied. And this is what I came up with.
Ingredients for the Cake
230g of Butter, softened
400g of Caster Sugar
1 Heaped Tablespoon of Lime Zest (5-6 limes, depending on their size)
5 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
4 Medium Eggs, lightly beaten together
450g of Self Raising Flour
1 Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
300g of Buttermilk
400g of Blueberries
A punnet of fresh Blueberries and Blackberries
Fresh Mint leaves
Purple and Gold Spinkles, plus gold sugar
- Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C for a fan oven) and grease and line three 9″ baking pans.
- Using two tablespoons of the flour, coat the blueberries (so that they don’t sink in the cake so much) and put to one side.
- Mix and sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
- Cream the sugar, butter and zest until pale and fluffy.
- Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, with the addition of a dessert spoon of the flour mixture to prevent curdling.
- Mix through the lime juice.
- Add the flour and buttermilk in alternating thirds. [I did this by hand because my mixer is on the blink but a paddle attachment would do the trick if you wanted to use your mixer]
- Lastly, fold in the blueberries as gently as you can. I reserved a couple of handfuls to sprinkle on top of the batter to ensure a better distribution of the fruit in the finished bake.
- Split the mixture between the three pans and bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. I had to rotate the pans in my oven and one was ready before the others, so start checking after 30 minutes. They should also be a light golden colour when baked.
- Allow to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before turning them out on to a rack to cool completely.
Lime and Mint Sugar Syrup
80ml of Lime Juice
80g of Caster Sugar
A bunch of fresh Mint leaves
- Roughly chop the mint leaves add to the juice and sugar in a saucepan. Gently bring the syrup to a simmer for two or three minutes then take off the heat and allow to cool.
- When you are ready to use it, strain off the mint leaves.
- Brush the cakes with the syrup once they are cool.
I decided to put a thin layer of Blueberry Jam, in addition to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, between the layers, but, to be honest, the cake is so fruity and moist I am not sure it was really necessary. You can decide if you fancy using it or not.
I also made the decision to make a Swiss Meringue Buttercream because I thought it would allow me to achieve a particular coloured decorative technique on the side of the finished cake. I’ve seen an increasing number of cakes finished in this way and wanted to give it a go. Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks. As with most random or haphazard effects, they actually require a lot of control *and* creativity. I made a double batch of Peggy Porschen’s SMB recipe from her most recent book Love Layer Cakes, colouring a small quantity an acid yellow and another deep purple.
I covered the cake in the plain SMB and chilled it down in the fridge, then gave it a second coat of plain with some blobs of the coloured SMB dotted around the sides. I then used my side scraper so smooth the sides and blend the colours. I wish I could say it took one swipe around the cake, but I wasn’t happy and touched it up here and there. I think I would definitely get a better finish next time, having tried this technique once before. I think the biggest danger is merging too many colours and ending up with a muddied finish. It was wise to start with two colours the first time, but if you want to see what you can really do with this technique then head over to Katherine Sabbath’s Instagram.
I decorated the top of the cake in a crescent of fresh blueberries, blackberries, mint springs, sprinkles and gold sugar. Edible gold leaf would also look terrific on this kind of cake.
Unfortunately, the mint had become a little floppy by the time we ate it, so that was another lesson learned.
If you don’t fancy going to the trouble of making Swiss Meringue Buttercream then make regular buttercream or even a Cream Cheese Frosting (as many others pair with their blueberry and lemon cakes). This is a big cake that goes a long way, so save it for a party or other special occasion. Feel free to switch up the toppings: I think a crown of all kinds of summer berries would be equally delicious, in fact, serving extra fresh berries on the side would make for a great dessert and counter the sweetness of the icing a little more.
I am delighted to have come up with another recipe and hope that someone out there enjoys it too.
And Happy Birthday, Rosie. ❤