At 11:59 AM central time on Monday, this Blueberry Eclipse Cake will move in between you and your sense of decency, completely blotting out your self-control. This spectacular event will last about two hours, and at it’s height, those of you in its path of totality will abandon your utensils and just shovel it into your face with both fists. During this period, it is very important that you do not look directly into this cake without special glasses.
We found this recipe innocently calling itself “Blueberry Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting” online. The miLam crew enjoyed it, but we felt it needed some tweaking. After a couple experiments and some excellent advice from Eva at Kitchen Inspirations, we nailed it. The color of the crumb is outstanding. If you’re ever in need of a blue (purple, indigo, violet) cake, and would prefer to avoid food coloring, this is for you. It’s also quite moist and has an appealing texture similar to apple cake. The frosting is perfect. The cream takes on the lemon curd flavor like it was born to it, and the consistency is marvelous. It’s a truly outstanding cake. One of the miLam crew suggested calling it “Blueberry Black Hole” cake, but moments later he was sucked into its inescapable indigo blueberriness and never seen from again.
I’ve revised this several times. This is my definitive version.
FOR THE CAKE:
15 oz. fresh blueberries (2 2/3 cups)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
10.25 oz. AP flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
5.25 oz. butter (2 2/3 sticks), at room temperature
10.5 oz. granulated sugar (1 1/3 cups)
2 oz. brown sugar (1/4 cup)
0.25 oz. vanilla (2 tsp)
3 oz. sour cream (1/3 cup)
Prep two 9-inch pans by buttering them, lining the bottoms with parchment, buttering the parchment, and then flouring them. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. If you have a baking stone, use it. Meanwhile, place blueberries and cinnamon into a blender, and blitz on highest speed until liquefied, and then about 30 seconds more. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Place flour, powder, soda, and salt into a mixing bowl, and mix them on speed 4 (of 10) for 30 seconds. Set aside.
If you forgot to take the butter out of the fridge, or if you didn’t forget, but you’re just impatient, nuke it at 10% power for 1 minute, but watch it carefully – you want to soften it, not melt it. Place it along with both sugars into a mixing bowl. Mix on lowest speed until just incorporated, then take it just to the point of creaming by upping the speed to 4 for 30 seconds, and then speed 6 for 1 minute. (You don’t want it the way you do for most butter cakes – pale and fluffy – you just want it barely creamed.) On lowest speed, add eggs one at a time, blending each just until incorporated.
Stir the vanilla and sour cream into the blueberry mixture, but not thoroughly. Let a few streaks of white remain distinct.
By hand, fold 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, followed by 1/2 of the berry mixture. Continue in this manner, ending with the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Scrape into pans, about 1 lb 8 oz. batter per pan. Level the batter and bake until the edges are just barely browned and the centers test clean, 25 minutes.
Cool on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks and cool completely. As they cool, the cakes should pull away from the sides of the pan.
- All in all, between the cake and the frosting, you’ll need three pints of berries.
- In the original recipe, I recommended placing the berries in the freezer for two hours. (Not to freeze, but just to get them frosted.) Then, I suggested placing the frosted berries in the microwave at low power and bringing them to room temperature, or slightly warmer (but not very warm, and certainly not hot – for me, this is about 5 minutes on 50% power). If you do this, the berries should no longer be a dusty, Prussian blue, but instead they should be glossy and black. After that, I blended them as the recipe directs. I also suggested that you could use thawed, frozen berries and skip the “frosting” and “microwaving” process, you know, if you’re one of those “smoothie” people who buys frozen berries. I also said that you could use very ripe/slightly overly ripe berries without frosting and freezing them. What I was after was juicier berries, but in the end, I’m not convinced it matters.
- Something strange happened to me. (I should probably publish an entirely new blog by that name.) After I puréed the berries, I left them in the blender and went about other things. When the time came to blend in the sour cream, I noticed that the purée had completely gelled … and I mean completely, to an impressively coherent semi-solid exactly the consistency of jelly. I realize that blueberries have a good deal of pectin, but I’ve made plenty of blueberry sauces to know how that works. This was way beyond. I’m wondering if it has to do with the Ninja that I used. Maybe it decimated them to a degree to which I’m not accustomed. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the “obliterate” setting.
- If you’re tempted to skip the parchment, don’t. I didn’t use parchment; one cake came out of the pan nicely, the second had problems that I could fix, and the third was unsalvageable (which is why there are only two layers in my photos). This brings up a second issue, though: the two-layer version was the perfect volume, given the cake’s density. Three would be over the top. In my most recent bake, I cut the batter by a third and updated this post with measurements for 2 or 3 layers.
- If you bake the cakes on a baking stone, you must make sure that the entire bottom surface of the cake pan rests on the stone. Otherwise, the cakes will cook unevenly.
- Before turning out a cake, always run a plastic knife around the circumference, to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. You can do the same thing with a spatula if you’re careful. Don’t use a metal knife! You’ll ruin my pans, Becky!
- Normally, I turn butter cakes out into my hand, and from there transfer them onto racks. These cakes are too delicate for that. Place an inverted rack over the pan, rotate the rack and pan as if it were one unit, set the rack onto the countertop, and if the cake hasn’t already fallen onto the rack, give it a couple of small shakes. Here’s another trick: if the pans are cool enough to handle, turn one of your stove’s burners on to its lowest setting. Set the cake pan on the burner, and shift it back and forth from left to right, always keeping it in motion. Keep this up for about ten seconds. It will help loosen the bottom of the cake.
FOR THE FROSTING:
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup lemon curd
3 cups fresh blueberries
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the curd and whip to stiff peaks (which takes only seconds).
Reserve 1.5 cups of the frosting. Divide the rest in half. Into one of the halves, gently fold 1.5 cups of berries. Spread this mixture on top of one of the cakes. Place the second cake on top of this one, using a powdered-sugar-dusted cake lifter. Spread the other half of the frosting on top of this cake. Frost the sides with the reserved frosting. Mound remaining berries on top of the cake and scatter them toward the sides.
Best served at room temperature, but good cold. Should be refrigerated for long-term storage.
- This is a really, really good frosting. It’s delicious, easy, luscious, and holds up well.
- I’ve tried a few different curds, and store-bought Dickenson works best, because it’s really sweet, very tart, and so firm that it’s almost like a paste. If you use a homemade curd – one that’s softer, and eggy, and on the comparatively mild side, you will probably want to add 1/4 cup of sugar to cream before whipping and make sure the final beating takes the cream to the extra-stiff phase; your frosting will be more subtle, but still delicious. It’s worth seeking out the Dickenson.
- The berries you use for the top of the cake must be firm and dry, otherwise their juice will stain the frosting.
Blueberry Eclipse Cake
Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! This content was not solicited, nor written in exchange for anything. This recipe began as a modification of one from Simply Suzanne, but since then it’s taken on a life of its own.
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