You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, let me tell you -- there is a whole story to be told about this blueberry vanilla cake you see in this photo above. It started out as a simple idea. My friend Henry suggested that since Caroline's birthday is coming up on January 5, we buy a cake from Marsh or Costco to celebrate. But I thought, "Well, Caroline is my co-chef, and it doesn't feel quite right to buy a cake for her when we can make one from scratch!" And so, it became our mission to make the ultimate golden blueberry vanilla cake for Caroline's 19th birthday.
As in any mission, Henry and I needed to recruit some people to help out and make it a success (but actually, it's because it's more fun this way). So Nikhil, Katie, and Nimisha were invited to lend their expertise.
I did some research on my own before baking day and found this promising recipe from
, espousing this glorious cake dubbed, "Moist Yellow Cake." We didn't end up following the instructions exactly from first letter to period--we even added a few of our own innovations--but the cake still turned out tasting and smelling delicious, which is all that mattered. The funny thing about this recipe is that it uses sugar water spray to keep the cake ultra moist throughout the entire process. I don't know about you, but that's the fanciest thing I'd ever heard of. Nikhil, for one, was
with the sugar water trick, and we would've done it too, if it weren't for the fact that we didn't actually end up with a layered cake as the directions called for (you'll see, read below).
First alteration came along right before we poured the cake batter into the pan. We wanted to add a little twist to the recipe so that it's not just plain ol' vanilla cake. Nikhil highly recommended blueberries, so blueberry it is.
Next alteration is quite a bit more impacting on the final result. This might be an amateur mistake, but we ended up using a springform pan that's typically used for making cheesecake. You see, there's a huge problem with this decision. Springform pans naturally bake from outside to inside, while regular pans bake from bottom to top. Needless to say, when we took the cake out of the oven after 50 minutes, the outside was golden and definitely done, but the center was still pudding-like -- pretty much done, but not really done. Which is a problem.
Take out the center and make it a donut cake! Well, what a waste, right? How can we just throw away perfectly delicious-looking cake that's pretty much cooked (but not quite)? There's only one thing to do...eat it. Yay! Yummy.
So...now, we have this gaping hole in our perfectly delicious blueberry vanilla cake. What to do?
Our idea was to frost the inside of the cake, and ideally everywhere on the cake, to cover the crumbs. Except, the frosting didn't work for whatever reason. It tasted okay, but something seemed to be off. It was kind of sad, actually. Which is why I'm not going to post the frosting recipe we used. :P
So that didn't work. But then Nimisha suggested instead that we fill the inside with bananas! It's perfect. It's simple. It's delicious. It's beautiful.
Our final step was to add chocolate garnish to the top, along with powdered sugar. What we did was melt chocolate and pipe abstract swirlies, stars, hearts, and other designs onto wax/aluminum foil. At this point, we've been winging it in many respects, so we decided to use this exotic African milk chocolate my dad brought back for me because he knows I love chocolate (he knows me so well). But this chocolate...it had the scent of rose germanium flowers. I'm not kidding. That chocolate literally smelled
. Which I find absolutely mind-blowing. But hey, it works, and it tastes decent (:
Let the chocolate designs cool and harden in the freezer for 1 minute, and then take apart and place onto cake before dusting with powdered sugar. All in all, I'm extremely pleased with the final result. Doesn't look half-bad, and it tastes more than amazing.
Happy birthday, Caroline!
Golden Blueberry Vanilla Cake
Moist, golden, delicious vanilla cake with blueberries (and banana center).
Time: at least 2 hours
Yield: 3 layer cake, or 1 big cake
2 sticks butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temp
3 cups self-rising flour*
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups blueberries
some bananas (if you choose to have a donut center)
*Note: You may substitute with 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
1. Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and mix until completely incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
2. Add flour and milk (alternating to creamed mixture), beginning and ending with flour.
3. Add vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Don’t overmix!
4. Wash the blueberries and coat lightly in flour. Carefully incorporate blueberries manually into the batter to make sure the blueberries don’t break and leave blue streaks across the batter.
5. Grease three 8-inch cake pans. Divide batter equally. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes (if in 3 separate pans), or 40-50 minutes (if 1 giant pan), until done.
6. Cool in pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove and completely wrap each layer in plastic wrap to seal in the moisture. Cool completely and then assemble the three-layer cake. Or, if you made the cake in one giant pan like us, you’re done!
Frost with any type of frosting, garnish in chocolate, sprinkle powdered sugar, beautify, add bananas, and enjoy!