Ed and I are on a quest for shelving. (How boring is that for the start of a blog post? But if it’s boring to read about, it’s even more boring to actually shop for shelves, I guarantee it.) The other day, as we were leaving the 100th shop on our hunt, we passed the shop’s cafe and Ed spied a cake that rather took his fancy. We were in a hurry to get to the 101st shop before it shut, so I didn’t see it… but I am informed (I won’t say ‘reliably’ – sorry my sweet) that it was a divine-looking blackcurrant and vanilla cake. It apparently had purple berries speckled throughout the layers of cake and “white icing” on the top. And, I was asked: could I make one? With that description?… Yeah, why not?
My intention to try and recreate it was somewhat foiled by the fact I couldn’t buy blackcurrants anywhere. But! I was only alarmed for a second. Because I remembered a rather amazing-looking cake that I’d once seen on thecakeblog.com (recipe by Tessa Huff), a brilliant resource. It was a vanilla layer cake with blueberries in it, and a creamy swirled icing on the outside.
I located it (here), the hungry husband approved the last-minute berry change, and I decided to recreate it.
I made the cake exactly to the Cake Blog recipe, so if you fancy trying it, follow the recipe you find there, using the link above.
But the brief had been vanilla icing, and that yummy-looking cake didn’t have vanilla icing. So… I made a vanilla buttercream frosting for both the filling and outside of the cake, and it paired beautifully (the recipe for the buttercream is below). You can’t get better than a super fluffy vanilla icing, in my book. It occurred to me afterwards that the addition of some crispy crumbled candied bacon (I’m a fan) would swirl into the vanilla icing quite amazingly well… and maybe even better, maple syrup and crumbled bacon buttercream? I think that’s an adventure for next time though, as I did offer Ed that option, but he wanted a hearty vanilla instead. Fair dos. It is divine, after all.
I must confess that I’m not a huge blueberry fan. I know, I know, everyone else loves them. But I am not dead keen on them unless they are baked in a cake! (Which negates their health benefits slightly, probably.) I find they become more tart when they are cooked (which I like), and I like the bright purple colour they give out! Anyway, studded into this fluffy, moist vanilla cake, they are perfect.
They add extra moistness and a great flavour and texture contrast. Soft, sweet cake with a cinnamon edge, and slightly tart berries, on a bed of fluffy, creamy vanilla frosting. YUM.
Cake Recipe here
Creamy-fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Recipe:
500g icing sugar
395g unsalted butter
1.5 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Approx. 3-4 tablespoons milk
Good pinch of salt
1. Whip the butter in a stand mixer (on medium-high speed) or with a hand held electric whisk for about 4 minutes, until the butter is fluffy and very pale.
2. Add about half of the icing sugar and mix on a slow speed to combine (otherwise you’ll get a sugar cloud!).
3. Add the other half of the icing sugar and mix to combine.
4. Add in the vanilla and 1-2 tablespoons of the milk and whip the buttercream on medium-high for about 4 minutes until it is light, fluffy and smooth. If you would like a slightly looser or softer buttercream, add another tablespoon of milk, or add milk (sparingly) until you reach the desired consistency.
You can use the buttercream immediately, or it will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.