A Cake for Spring

SpringCake-9

5.24.16

I love a challenge.  I love a delicious challenge even more.  So when a friend approached me and asked me to make a cake for our friend’s baby shower, I was excited. And then she pulled up a picture on Pinterest of the layer cake she had in mind.  I had never made anything like it. But game on. I brainstormed about the flavors I wanted, and ended up with a lemon cake, with blackberry compote, all topped with vanilla bean frosting.  The result was more than acceptable and the flavors were a perfect way to celebrate our friends’ future addition to their family.

A six-layer cake can sound daunting. But I’m going to break all this up for you to make it easier. If you need a small cake, creating just the top portion of this is so fast. If you want to make the bottom portion, I made two layers, and cut them in half so the layers wouldn’t be too thick. If you want to make an epic centerpiece for a table, then make the whole damn thing.

For the Blackberry Compote
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For the Cake
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For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream
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Spring Layer Cake (6")
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For the Cake
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  3. 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 cups sugar
  7. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  8. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  10. zest from 1 1/2 lemons
For the Blackberry Compote
  1. 1 pint of blackberries
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1/4 cup water, splash lemon juice
  4. zest from 1 lemon
For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  1. 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  4. 2-3 tbsp buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Spray 2 6" cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, and line the bottom of both with parchment paper, give the top of the paper a quick spray as well
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt set aside
  4. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed cream butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes
  5. Slowly pour in sugar and add eggs one at a time, allowing each to mix thoroughly before adding the next, scrape down sides of the bowl through all this as needed
  6. Add buttermilk, then slowly add in flour mixture, about half a cup at a time on low speed
  7. Add vanilla, then lemon zest, allow to just combine, do not overmix
  8. Evenly distribute batter between 2 pans
  9. Bake for 25-30 minute, rotating at halfway point to ensure an even bake, make sure a tester comes out clean in the middle before removing from oven, otherwise pop it in a few more minutes
  10. Allow to cool, then flip pans upside down to remove cakes
For the compote
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally
  2. Once boiling, turn down heat to low and allow to simmer 10 minute, breaking up blackberries
  3. Allow to fully cool before using
For the Frosting
  1. Combined all the ingredients into mixing bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix on low to combine
  2. Move up speed to medium high for a about 10 seconds, if frosting is too thick, add more milk, too thin, add more sugar
To Assemble
  1. Cut off domes to cakes to create even layers
  2. On bottom layer, spread an even layer of compote
  3. Using a piping bag, pipe frosting in a spiral over compote, starting from the outer edge and working your way in
  4. Place second layer upside down on top to give your cake a flat top
  5. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting on top of cake
Notes
  1. *Compote can easily be stored in airtight container in the fridge for for a few days before using
  2. *I used buttermilk in the frosting because I forgot to buy real milk, it was delicious, don't buy two kinds of milk to make this recipe, use buttermilk in the frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
Spring Layer Cake (9")
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 3 cups AP flour
  3. 1 tbsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 2 cups sugar
  7. 4 large eggs, room temperature
  8. 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  10. zest from 3 lemons
For blackberry compote
  1. 30 oz of blackberries (about 5-6 pints)
  2. zest of 2 lemons
  3. 3/4 cups sugar
  4. 1/2-3/4 cup water
For Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  1. 6-8 cups confectioner's sugar
  2. 2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean
  5. 4-5 tbsp buttermilk
For the Cake
  1. Spray 2 9" cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, and line the bottom of both with parchment paper, give the top of the paper a quick spray as well
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, set aside
  4. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed cream butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes
  5. Slowly pour in sugar and add eggs one at a time, allowing each to mix thoroughly before adding the next, scrape down sides of the bowl through all this as needed
  6. Add buttermilk, then slowly add in flour mixture, about half a cup at a time on low speed,
  7. Add vanilla, then lemon zest, allow to just incorporate
  8. Evenly distribute batter between 2 pans
  9. Bake for 25-30 minute, rotating at halfway point to ensure an even bake, make sure a tester comes out clean in the middle before removing from oven, otherwise pop it in a few more minutes
  10. Allow to cool, then flip pans upside down to remove cakes
  11. Once fully cooled, take a serrated bread knife and cut off the domes of the cakes, creating a flat surface (eat the scraps)
For the Compote
  1. Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Once bubbling, turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Allow to cool completely before using
For the Buttercream
  1. Add all ingredients into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment
  2. On low, allow all ingredients to come together, adding sugar or milk to create desired consistency
To assemble
  1. Take both layers and slice horizontally in half with a serrated knife
  2. Spread compote evenly on first layer, then using a piping bag, pipe frosting in a spiral over compote, beginning with the outside edge and working toward the middle
  3. Take second layer and lining up the edges, place on top of frosting
  4. Spread frosting only on this layer, using piping bag, or an offset spatula
  5. Take third layer (use the TOP half of the second cake) and place on top of frosting, repeat compote and frosting steps
  6. Take the BOTTOM HALF of second cake and flip upside down to give cake a flat top, spread frosting evenly on top of cake
  7. Use remaining frosting to spread sparingly on outside of cake
Notes
  1. *To make this into a two layer cake, do not slice layers in half, reduce compote by about a third, and frosting by half
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/

I separated this recipe in case you wanted to make one or the other. Especially because you should make the 6″ cake once a week.  Just because, eating it is good for moral.

I also upped the ante in the recipe for the blackberry compote from what I actually made.  I really had to spread out what I had, and wish I had had a little bit more to even out the layers.  Because of this, my cake leaned a bit from the lack of evenly spread filling.  Which frustrated me.  But the cake still tasted good so I let it go.  

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To assemble the whole cake:

  • Put a small dollop of frosting in the middle of your cake stand to hold the first layer in place.  

  • Take the first layer of cake, and with a serrated knife, carefully cut off the dome of the cake, and then cut in half horizontally

  • Place the bottom half of the cake in the center of the cake stand, spread a layer of blackberry compote onto the cake, making sure to get all the way to the edge

  • Fill a piping bag with frosting and pipe in a spiral on top of the compote, starting from the back, along the edge, working your way in toward the middle

  • Carefully place the second half of the cut cake on top, making sure to line up the layers before placing

  • Cover this layer with frosting only, using the piping bag, or an offset spatula to spread out

  • Take the second full layer of cake, repeat the same steps as the first layer (i.e. dome, halving, filling)

  • When placing the final fourth cake layer, flip upside down so the top of the cake is flat, spread frosting only on this layer

  • Cut the domes off of the 6″ layers, spread blackberry compote onto the bottom layer of cake

  • Take bottom 6″ layer and place in the center, on top of the assembled 4 layer cake

  • Pipe frosting onto compote

  • Take the second 6″ layer and flip, to create another flat top

  • Spread an even layer of frosting on top

  • If frosting remains, spread some around the outside of the cake, otherwise, leave completely naked for a rustic look

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It was a little messier than I had wanted.  I was trying to carefully spread the frosting on the outside, but some areas were a little crumbier than others, so the look wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but it was close enough for a first try. And the taste made up for it.

 

This cake is definitely a lot of steps, but the result is worth it.  The bright flavors come together for a perfect warm-weather cake.  And skipping a layer of compote in the middle makes the blackberry more subtle, allowing it to complement all the lemon in the cake itself.  I was so happy with the final outcome, and when I need a quick fix for a cake, this is definitely going to be what I make.

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Spring Layer Cake

My friend even made my creation a cute little sign!!! I was so happy to be a part of the celebration. It was a beautiful day out, perfect for mingling, hugging the mom to be, and eating cake.

We all deserve a little treat.....share!
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