The inspiration for this cake came from a Clandestine Cake Club event I was hoping to attend, but ended up being postponed to a date I couldn’t make – I had already made the sponge before I found out so I thought I might as well carry on and bring it into work instead!
The theme was to bake a cake inspired by art, and I was planning to recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night in cake form. I chose lemon and blueberry because I thought the inside would reflect the colours of the icing, plus it’s a combination I love anyway.
I thought a Starry Night cake might be a little OTT for my colleagues, and so instead I had my first go at ‘ombre’ style graduated colour, going from pale yellow in the centre to a bright sunshine yellow at the edge.
For a first attempt I was pretty impressed with how it turned out! I used a lemon buttercream with added white chocolate, which I find makes a better textured icing than regular buttercream and is a lot easier to work with.
The juicy bursting blueberries inside looked and tasted exactly how I imagined. I’m sad I didn’t get to share this cake with everyone at Cake Club, but it’s a recipe I would definitely make again, and an icing technique I look forward to experimenting with more.
Lemon Blueberry Cake (adapted from Domestic Adventure)
- 150g butter
- 270g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 210g plain flour
- 20g cornflour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
- 200g blueberries, fresh or frozen
For the icing:
- 75g butter
- 225g icing sugar
- 50g white chocolate, melted
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- Yellow gel food colouring
Start by beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – because there’s quite a high ratio of sugar to butter I found I needed to add a splash of the milk to bring it together but you might not find that necessary. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, then the lemon zest and juice. Sift together the flour, cornflour powder and add to the mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, so it’s – flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.
Whisk the egg whites until they stand in peaks, then fold into the cake mix a third at a time. Make sure no white bits are left but be careful not to overmix. Finally fold the blueberries through the batter and spread into a greased and lined 8″ round cake tin, and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 170 degrees, or until nicely golden, springy and a skewer comes out clean.
To make the icing, beat the butter to soften, then add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice, then the melted white chocolate. If you’re not icing the cake straight away, leave the icing covered on the worktop – if you put it in the fridge it will set too hard because of the chocolate.
Spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake to crumb-coat, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
To create the graduated colour effect, start by spreading a small circle of uncoloured icing in the centre on top of the cake. Add a little yellow food colouring to the remaining icing until it’s a shade or two darker, then spread a ring of icing overlapping the inner circle. Add a little more yellow colouring, then spread another circle – repeat, going a shade or two darker each time, until you reach the edge of the cake and it’s a nice bright yellow. Use the leftover icing to cover the sides of the cake, then transfer to a serving plate and cut into nice big wedges!