It’s the time to share a different layer cake recipe for a change, as up to now I mostly shared chocolate cake recipes. This time here’s an easy vanilla layer cake with blueberry and cinnamon swirls. The sponge is soft and moderately moist, with that sweet vanilla flavour. I think blueberry and cinnamon combination played really well here both in taste (some of the berries were still whole and created that nice juicy pop when having a slice, and addition of flavourful cinnamon went well with it) and in looks - be ready for the wow-effect when you cut a first slice 🙂
The recipe also makes a great plain vanilla cake if you omit the blueberry part.
The cake is very soft and rich and creamy thanks to the egg yolks used.
It goes well with any type of cream, be it chocolate ganache, buttercream or even whipped cream.
The recipe makes a 3-layer 6″/ 15 cm cake, or 7″/ 18 cm 2-layer cake.
Stewed blueberries with cinnamon:
- 180 g blueberries/ bilberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 ¼ t ground cinnamon
- 2 T/ 1 oz/ 30 g white sugar
- 1 T/ 15 ml berry liqueur or water (I used Crème de cassis)
If using frozen berries, do not defrost them before using.
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan, heat over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft, ~10 min. Remove from the heat and crush the blueberries slightly with the back of a fork. Set aside to cool.
Adapted from Shuna Lydon
- 1¾ sticks/ 6.7 oz/ 200 g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- ½ t salt
- 1¾ c/ 11.7 oz/ 350 g white sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 T/ 15 ml vanilla essence
- 2¼ c/ 9.2 oz/ 275 g all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 2/3 c/ 5.7 oz/ 160 ml milk, at room temperature (divided 125 + 35 ml)
Grease and line bottoms of 6″/ 15 cm spring form tins with parchment paper. It’s possible to use just one tin, too, and work in batches.
Preheat the oven to 340ºF/ 170ºC.
In a bowl of electric mixer, beat together the butter, salt and sugar until light and creamy, 5 - 7 min. Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla essence.
In a separate large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
Using a spatula, mix in about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter. Add ¼ c/ 60 ml of milk and mix until just combined. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, then another ¼ c/ 65 ml of the milk and, finally, the remaining flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. Do not overmix.
Spoon 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl and mix it with the stewed blueberries and the remaining 35 ml of the milk.
Prepare 4 additional bowls (you will have the total of 6 bowls). Evenly divide the vanilla and blueberry batters into 3 equal parts each and place into a separate bowls. If using a 7″/ 18 cm cake tins, divide both the batters into 2 equal parts.
Working with one bowl of each batter at a time, spoon half of the vanilla batter into the prepared tin, then randomly spoon half of the blueberry batter followed by the remaining vanilla batter and then the remaining blueberry batter. Using a skewer, draw random lines across the tin to create a marble effect. Level the surface with a spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 - 40 min., or until done. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin and then invert to fully cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with the remaining batter to have 3 marble cakes in total.
Cut the domed tops off to level the cakes.
Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream:
- 105 g/ 3.5 oz/ 3 egg whites
- ¾ c/ 5 oz/ 150 g white sugar
- 2¼ sticks/ 8.3 oz/ 250 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 t vanilla essence
To see step-by-step, please check here.
Fill a medium saucepan 1/3 with water, bring to a simmer.
In a big heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar and stir with a whisk. But the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and, stirring with a whisk continuously, bring the mixture to 140 - 150ºF/ 60 -65ºC, the sugar should fully dissolve. It is very important to watch and prevent the mixture from scrambling. The mixture should become liquid, with soft foam.
Remove from the water bath and transfer the bowl contents to a stand mixer bowl. Whisk on high until the meringue forms stiff peaks and cool, 7 - 10 min.
When the meringue reaches the room temperature (this step is very important! as if the meringue is still hot, the butter will melt), with the mixer still running, start adding butter in small batches, beating well before the next addition. At some point the mixture may seem curdled, but that’s fine, just keep whisking and it will reach the right consistency eventually. After all the butter is added, continue beating the cream for another couple of minutes until it is smooth and thick. Add the vanilla essence and beat again until incorporated.
- 2 oz/ 60 g milk or dark chocolate, break into pieces
- 1½ t vegetable oil
Put both the ingredients in a small heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate over water bath or pulse in the microwave. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Let cool, but do not let it thicken.
- purple (or any other colour) gel food colouring
- chocolate ganache, recipe above
- meringues (recipe here), Oreos, macarons (recipe here) - as desired
Place the first cake layer on a serving platter. Spread a layer of buttercream over it (6 - 8 mm thick), smooth the top and top with another layer of cake, spread some more cream over it and finish with the last cake layer.
Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream (crumb coat) and chill for 15 - 20 min. Then cover the cake with a thicker layer of the buttercream and smooth the top and sides using an offset spatula.
To make the purple strokes on the sides of the cake, apply some food colouring on the side of the offset spatula that comes to contact with the cake. Go around the sides of the cake again, as if you smooth them, making the purple strokes as you go.
Pour the melted chocolate on top of the cake and, using the back of a spoon, starting from the centre of the cake, push the chocolate to its edges, letting the excess chocolate to drip off the sides.
Decorate the cake with meringues, Oreos and macarons.