Lemon Blueberry Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting
Here, at 🐼-🐸 household, the quarantine has had some upsides.
At the risk of sounding like a quarantine cliche, I must say that my sourdough adventures are starting to show strong potential. After killing one starter a couple of weeks ago (luckily I had two going), this week's loaf rose about double the last one - it was soft and airy with lots of wild holes - a huge feat in my opinion.
We've managed to travel all over the world via our food, cooking everything from simple Thai curries to pizza and Korean scallion pancakes. (I think there was actually one week where I made curries from four different places - Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian and Japanese! It's a great way to use up vegetables.)
The kitchen has never had such a workout and it's given me a huge sense of satisfaction going through the 40+ different spices I didn't even know I had.
A lot of our time has evolved around food.
Needless to say, it's also given me plenty of time to make cake and slowly eat it slice after slice whenever I please. The fridge is always so close you know.
So without ado, here's a recipe for a little cake that you might fancy: my lemon curd and blueberry cake with mascarpone frosting.
Try it this weekend, take pretty pictures, and keep on cooking.
Happy quarantine folks.
Some tips on making this lemon curd and blueberry cake
This cake uses the same frosting I use on my limoncello lemon olive oil cake. It's such a versatile frosting that goes very well with the lemon curd and just about any recipe that calls for lemons as the main flavouring. I've always had problems with pure whipped cream frostings - they always tend to be on the softer, floppier side. I'm sure that there is a secret that the pros are using which is obviously unknown to me, but in the meantime, I found that the addition of mascarpone seems to do the trick in making a stiffer consistency that holds its integrity.
> My Limoncello Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Mascarpone Frosting is truly lovely - try it here!
The vanilla sponge is one that I find myself going back to time and time again. Here, I have added a lemon drizzle that bumps up the lemon flavour and keeps the sponge nice and moist for days. The drizzle is a simple mix of lemon juice, water and sugar that is warmed up just enough to dissolve the sugar. Poke lots of holes over the sponge when it is out of the oven and drizzle all over so that it gets absorbed into the vanilla sponge.
Always make sure the cake is cool without a single hint of warmth before adding the frosting - I can't emphasise this enough.
Note that you can make the layers and the lemon curd beforehand and keep in the fridge for a couple of days before frosting the final cake.
Lemon Blueberry Cake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting Recipe
Makes one 2 layer, 15 cm cake
This is a beautifully sunny cake that combines some of my favourite things - lemons and blueberry. The lemon syrup keeps the layers moist and fragrant, and the tang from the lemon curd is a wonderful contrast against the just-sweet, light mascarpone frosting. The lemon curd will be plenty and you won't need it all for the cake, so keep it in a jar in the fridge and enjoy for the next 5 days. It's delicious over fruit, yoghurt, french toast, or anywhere a touch of creamy lemon is desired. Follow my photos below for a peek into how to assemble the cake.
For the lemon curd (makes over 1 cup)
120 g fresh lemon juice
30 g butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
100 g sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the sponge (2x15 cm layers)
130 g flour
130 g sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 lemons (save the juice for the lemon drizzle, see below)
70 g butter, at room temperature
1 egg plus 1 yolk
75 ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the lemon drizzle
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
For the mascarpone frosting
125 ml heavy cream, very cold
100 g icing sugar
125 g mascarpone cheese, very cold
Plus about 150 g fresh blueberries
Make the lemon curd
The lemon curd can be made a day ahead if you like, and needs to be chilled in the fridge before using.
1. Combine the lemon juice, butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it is just about to boil but not quite. As you are waiting for this, whisk the eggs, egg yolk and sugar in a small bowl on the side until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture looks creamy.
2. Remove the lemon juice mixture from the heat and slowly drizzle it into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously. Add just a little in the beginning - if you pour it in too fast it will scramble the eggs! Continue whisking in the hot mixture until it is all in.
3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent the curd from burning, until it has thickened: you should be able to draw a line in the curd coating the back of the spoon. This can take from 2-4 minutes depending on your pan and heat.
4. Remove from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh into a heatproof jar. Cover the curd with cling wrap directly in contact with the surface of the warm curd, place a lid on top and let it cool. Pop in the fridge to cool completely.
Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line two 15 cm cake tins with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt). Beat in the butter with an electric beater on medium until the mixture looks like sand.
3. Add the eggs, beat until just combined.
4. Add the milk and vanilla and beat on medium then on high until the mixture is lighter in colour, about 2 minutes.
5. Divide between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Let the cakes cool in the tins for about 15 minutes, adding the lemon drizzle all over the cakes (see below). Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the lemon drizzle
While the cakes are baking, add all the ingredients for the lemon drizzle in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the sugar has just dissolved. Remove from heat. When the cakes are out of the oven, poke several holes with a skewer/toothpick all over the surface and brush over with the lemon drizzle.
Make the mascarpone frosting
Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding the frosting. Place the cream and icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk (or beat with electric beaters) until soft peaks are about to form. Add the mascarpone cheese and beat until stiff peaks form. This shouldn't take very long - be careful to stop when the frosting looks firm; the cream will start turning grainy when you go over the 'stiff peaks' stage.
Assemble the cake
1. Position a plate or cake round on your workspace. Dab a small dollop of the frosting on the plate or round and place one cake layer on top (the frosting keeps the cakes from sliding). Add about half the frosting on the cake and smooth out to the edges. Using an offset spatula, create a dam with the frosting so that it rises higher along the edges. This is easy to do if you have a pastry bag, and will prevent the lemon curd from spilling over the sides. Add about a quarter cup of lemon curd, then dot with fresh blueberries.
2. Position the second cake layer on top, flipping it upside down so that the smooth lower side is now on top. Add the rest of the frosting to the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting all over the top of the cake, then push it down to the sides and smoothen.
3. Decorate with extra lemon curd, fresh blueberries and piped frosting.