Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath


 
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook
Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook

Hi hi! Happy Friday! I am super excited to share this recipe from my amazing friend Tessa’s book - a Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. This is Tessa’s second book, and is called “Icing on the Cake”, and is filled with not only a whole lot of incredible layer cakes, but other amazing desserts - there’s macarons, pies, marshies, eclairs, tarts, the whole nine yards. It’s an incredible go-to book if you need a show stopping dessert, whether it needs to be a quickie to whip up, or a more labour intensive recipe such as this cake!

I taught myself how to make buttercream flowers a while back, and did a quick wee 2 hour course with a friend a few years ago, and they are kind of something that I always forget that I can do, then get excited to make, spend a whole afternoon making them, get mad at myself for not making them more often because they really are learnt by repetition and I need to just sit down and make them more to learn, then do the exact opposite and not make them for ages. However, when I do sit down and take the time to do them, I am reminded how fun they are once you get the hang of them! They can be a teeny bit tricky to start off, but once you get going, they are a really fun and effective way to decorate cakes and cupcakes! I’m definitely going to make them more often if I can! I promise it’s worth all the little piping bags and couplers and tips. Tessa has a whole section in her book about how to make the different flowers, and how to pipe them directly onto cupcakes!

The flowers are great and pretty, but the cake underneath also deserves some spotlight time - it’s so, so good! It’s a pretty simple vanilla cake, but the milk in the cake is infused with lavender, giving it a super subtle floral taste. The lavender is then emphasised in the lavender syrup which is brushed on the layers, then the whole thing is stacked up with a cream cheese frosting and a blackberry jam filling. Lavender and blackberry go so beautifully together, and cream cheese icing is just the best in literally any occasion. There’s a fine line between not being able to taste lavender in desserts and accidentally adding too much and it tasting like hand cream (I’ve done both before), but when it’s good it’s AMAZING, and Tessa has absolutely nailed this one. Congrats lady - I’m so proud, and I can’t wait to bake my way through this bad boy! x

A few wee tips:

  • I’m not going to lie, the buttercream flowers on this take bloody ages. But, they are so, so worth it - It’s amazing seeing how you get better with practice, and I think that it’s a really fun thing to know how to do!

  • Tessa has a great tutorial on her instagram of how to make the flowers she used for this cake! I pretty much just followed that.

  • If you don’t want to pipe the flowers, Tessa has another cake topped with buttercream swirls and blobs that I love, that would also be perfect for this!

  • You need the Swiss buttercream to be slightly on the firm side for this - to help with this I kept the whisk attachment on my mixer and the bowl of buttercream in the fridge until I was ready for it, then gave it a quick whip to help smooth it out. I worked with one colour at a time. AC in your house will help too if it’s summer, but our foster cat has her bed on the AC, so we are still kinda working out how to let her know that she’s going to have to move. We aren’t there yet.

  • I made the cake and the lavender syrup the day before, which really helped to break up the process a bit.

  • Buy yourself a copy of Tessa’s book. Just do it - there’s so so many beautiful things in there!

 

 

Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath

- Makes one Three Layer, 8” cake -

Reprinted with permission from ‘Icing on the Cake’ by Tessa Huff

Lavender Milk
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
2 tsp dried culinary lavender

Lavender Cake
1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream
2 1/4 cups (325g) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Lavender Syrup
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried culinary lavender

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks/225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz (115g) cream cheese, at room temperature
5 to 6 cups (625g to 750g) powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp heavy cream or whole milk
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups (265g) granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (4 sticks / 450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

To Assemble
1/2 to 1 cup (120ml to 240ml) blackberry jam
Gel Food colouring

 

- PROCESS -

LAVENDER MILK

In a small saucepan, slowly bring the milk to a simmer over low heat. Add the lavender and remove from the heat. Let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and discard the lavender. Let cool completely.  

LAVENDER CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease and flour three 8-inch (20cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together 3/4 cup (180ml) of the lavender milk and the sour cream.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients on low speed until just combined. Add the butter, vanilla, and about 1/2 cup (120ml) of the lavender milk mixture. mix on medium until evenly distributed and the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the eggs to the remaining lavender milk mixture and stir to combine. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the egg mixture in three additions, mixing for about 15 seconds after each addition and stopping the mixer between additions to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely, right-side up, on the wire rack before removing the parchment. Level the tops of the cakes with a long serrated knife as needed.

LAVENDER SYRUP

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup (120ml) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the lavender. Simmer the syrup for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep until cool. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and discard the lavender.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth. Meanwhile, sift the confectioner’s sugar. With the mixer running on low, gradually add 5 cups (625g) of the confectioner’s sugar, 3 Tbsp of the cream, and the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium high and mix until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup (125g) confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup (65g) at a time, and / or the remaining 1 Tbsp of cream until the desired consistency is reached. It should be spreadable and creamy, not runny.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

Generously brush the cake layers with the lavender syrup. Place one cake layer on a cake board or serving plate. Place about 1/3 cup (80ml) of the cream cheese frosting on top and spread it with an offset spatula. Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip with some of the cream cheese frosting. Pipe a ring around the outer top edge of the cake to create a “dam”. Pipe a second ring of cream cheese frosting a couple of inches in from the outer ring, to create a “bulls-eye”.

Use a spoon to fill in the gaps between the rings of the cream cheese frosting with 1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 to 120ml) of the blackberry jam. Top with a second cake layer and repeat; place the final cake layer on top.

Crumb coat the cake with the cream cheese frosting and chill for 15 minutes. Frost the cake with the remaining cream cheese buttercream.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently whisk them by hand to combine. In a medium saucepan, bring an inch or two (2.5 to 5cm) of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double boiler (be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat the egg mixture, whisking intermittently, until it reaches 160°f / 70°c on a candy thermometer.

Carefully affix the mixer bowl to the stand mixer (it may be hot) and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture holds medium-stiff peaks and the outside of the bowl has cooled to room temperature.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the vanilla. Add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.

Turn the mixer to medium high and beat until the buttercream is silky smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.

Note - If your buttercream is a little soupy, refrigerate for 15 minutes then re-whip. You need it to be firm enough to pipe with.

DECORATE THE CAKE

Tint a small amount of buttercream green for the leaves. Tint the remaining buttercream the colors of your choice for the flowers. Cut about 30 2-inch (5cm) squares of parchment paper. Dab a small amount of buttercream on a flower nail and secure a square of parchment on top. Fill piping bags fitted with various piping tips with the tinted buttercream (I like to use a coupler so that I can switch out the tips). I used a petal Wilton #103 and #104 tip, a Wilton #81 tip for the Mum flower, and a small round tip for the little blobby flowers. Tessa has a great tutorial , and there are lots online!

Pipe various buttercream flowers on top of the parchment squares, then transfer the flowers to a baking sheet or cutting board. Chill the piped flowers in the fridge until firm, at least 15 minutes.

To create the flower crown, pipe a ring of buttercream around the top of the cake, about 1 inch (2.5cm) from the edge. Carefully peel the chilled flowers off their parchment squares and use a small offset spatula to arrange them on the ring of buttercream, angling them slightly in and away from the center of the cake.

Fill a piping bag with a leaf tip with the green buttercream and pipe leaves to fill in any gaps between the flowers.

Chill in the fridge until 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Lavender Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Piped Floral Wreath. Layers of delicately flavoured lavender cake are filled with a cream cheese frosting and blackberry jam, and topped with a beautiful floral wreath made from piped swiss meringue buttercream flowers. #pipedflowers #lavendercake #swissmeringuebuttercream #icingonthecakebook

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


 
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

Merry belated Christmas! I hope you all celebrated (if you do), with those you love, surrounded by loads of food. We had a super chill Christmas with Jill and her family, which was just what we needed. I always struggle a little with homesickness, especially around the holidays, so it’s always so nice to have people who are like family to spend it with.

I had planned to take between Christmas and New Year off, kicking off again once we are in 2019, but I remembered this morning that I was meant to share this recipe for Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting before Christmas, and life got in the way, so here we are now!

I know people think of Gingerbread as a holiday recipe, but as far as I am concerned, it should be a year round flavour. The recipe for the Gingerbread sheet cake comes from my good friend Brooke Bell’s book, “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”. The book is filled with cakes for every occasion, from a jazzed up box mix to more complex layer cakes. The recipe for this Gingerbread sheet cake jumped out at me - it is super simple to make, but still incredibly delicious, filled with warming spices, keeps well, and perfect for feeding a crowd. It would be perfect just with a little dust of powdered sugar, but I had some cream cheese that needed using up, so made a quick maple cream cheese frosting, which fancied it up just a tiny bit - definitely not totally necessary, but very, very delicious. This cake is perfect to help us bridge the weird gap between Christmas and New Years.

A few wee tips:

  • This cake is amazing just with a quick dusting of powdered sugar, so if you aren’t in the mood for frosting, feel free to skip it.

  • This cake keeps beautifully in an airtight container - perfect for if you have people drop by.

  • I love sheet cakes because they transport super well - provided you have a parchment paper sling in the baking pan, you can frost it right in the pan and serve from there.

  • You can either make this in a bowl with a whisk or electric hand mixer, or your stand mixer - I did it in my stand mixer because I am lazy, and it worked just as well!

 

 

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

- Makes one 9” x 13” cake - serves 12-16 -

Cake recipe reprinted with permission from “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake
320g (2 1/4 cups) All-Purpose Flour
200g (1 cup) Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
300g (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
170g (1/2 cup) unsulphured molasses
90g (6 Tbsp) Canola oil
2 large eggs

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
335g cream cheese, cold from the fridge
670g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
80g maple syrup

 

- PROCESS -

GINGERBREAD SHEET CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with baking spray, or grease with butter. Line with a parchment paper sling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add milk, molasses, oil, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at low speed until combined, about 1 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter twice to release air bubbles.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Dust with icing sugar, or frost with maple cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt, and mix on low to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, and beat until well combined.

Scrape the frosting onto the cake, and spread with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

“Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared” was written by Brooke Bell, and is Copyright 2018 83 Press.