*Originally posted July 2014, updated April 2021!*
I have to tell you about where I got the inspiration for this Blueberry Lemon Cake! Back in April, I made this Strawberry Lemon Cake, which was adapted from a Southern Living recipe. Originally I linked back to SL for the lemon cake and used my own, best-ever, strawberry frosting.
The more I made that cake, the more I realized it needed some more lemon. I ended up changing it quite a bit—reduced the sugar and eggs, switched from cake flour to all-purpose, and bumped up the lemon juice from 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup, plus a teaspoon of lemon extract—and now I think I’ve got it just right. Perfectly lemony, slightly tart, and not too sweet.
After I made my Strawberry Lemon Cake recently for a client of my dad’s, I started thinking about other fruity frostings I could pair with it. Back at the beginning of July (JULY IS ALMOST OVER, FYI), I saw this beautiful Fresh Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting from White on Rice Couple. (BEYOND excited to be attending their photography workshop at Food Blog Forum in August !!!)
I wanted to make my own version of that, and make it thicker so I could pipe big, purple swirls of it on the cake (updated version doesn’t have much piped frosting). So I left out the cream cheese and used my own method of creating a jelly of sorts to flavor the frosting. It’s basically buttercream with homemade blueberry reduction.
Typically, from my experience, flavored or tinted frostings use juice or a liquid for flavor, and food coloring for color. I’ve seen some recipes that use a lot of juice in order to get a strong flavor, but then you have to add even more powdered sugar to get the right texture. Sometimes that can make frosting TOO sweet. And yes, there is such a thing as too much sugar. It’s weird, I know. But it’s true.
The key to making frosting that’s packed with flavor and still has a nice, fluffy texture is to use a reduction or homemade jam. I’ve done it a couple of times with amazing results! I did it with these Champagne + Pomegranate Cupcakes (with both the champagne and the pomegranate juice), and with the best-ever Strawberry Frosting. The jam texture is basically boiled down fruit juice, which keeps all the flavor and loses the liquid. That way it doesn’t thin out your frosting.
And it makes this blueberry frosting a bold shade of purple without any food coloring! It’s a win for everyone. 🙂
Have a slice!
Blueberry Lemon Layer Cake
Lemon Cake with Blueberries
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup veg/canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 ½ cups blueberries + 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 tbsp whipping cream
- 4 cups powdered sugar
Lemon Cake with Blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 8-inch cake pans with baking spray with flour.
- If using frozen blueberries, spread blueberries across several sheets of paper towels and let them thaw. Pat dry with more paper towels.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Mix on medium speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are mostly combined Add lemon extract, juice, and zest. Mix well.
- Combine blueberries and 1 tbsp all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Gently stir until berries are evenly coated. Fold blueberries into cake batter.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cakes cool in pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine blueberries, water, sugar, and cornstarch. Use a potato masher or the back of a spoon to smash the blueberries. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring often. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and resembles the texture of jelly. Remove from heat, press blueberry mixture through a mesh sieve, and discard the solids. Transfer blueberry jelly (I had about 1/4 cup) to a heat-resistant bowl, cover, and store in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until completely cool. (You can also make the blueberry reduction a day in advance and store covered in the refrigerator.)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add cream and the (1/4 cup) blueberry jelly. Mix until completely incorporated. Add half of the powdered sugar, mix well, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the second half of the powdered sugar.
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate or stand, spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top; spread frosting over the outside of the cake, or transfer frosting to a piping bag and decorate as desired.