By now you are aware I have a love-hate relationship with cake. The love part is easy: it’s all about the devour (okay, and as of late, the cake smashing). The hate part comes with—well, sculpting it. But even with that, I have a foot on each side of the dividing love-and-hate line. As a result, this year I’m going to ask the magnificent one to please bless me with a deft caking decorating hand for my birthday.
Because come’on no one wants to hear me drone on about my cake carving skills paralleling those of a crying toddler whose crayon-fisting hand can’t stay in the lines while coloring. Yeah, I’m dramatic—spank me.
Dramatics aside, it’s a bit tiresome and frustrating, trying to get vision and reality to align at times. This as you can imagine happens beyond just caking. So in the bigger scheme of that mention, I would really love it if caking could just be taken out of that mix. You know, leave the blurry-and-shifting vision and reality line, to say things of consequence like: telling my Stanford bound 6-year-old that becoming a pro-basketball player is probably not in his future being that neither of his parent is breaking the vertical 6ft. minimum requirement.
Alright, I guess we should talk about the cake at hand, since I seemingly (more of that fuzzy vision and reality stuff) run a food blog.
The cake: A rustic two layer affair with a generous spreading of blackberry and lime jam in the middle and some honey buttercream in between and on top. Deliciously easy and simple to construct. No tips, no pastry bag–just you, an offset spatula and a little back-and-forth wrist action.
- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons lime zest
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Blackberry & Lime Jam
- 1 lb. blackberries, fresh or frozen (about 3 ½ cups)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Honey Whipped Cream
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup honey
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly cover with baking spray and a small amount of flour; tap out excess.
To make cake:
Place black tea in a coffee grinder or food processor and process to a fine grind. Sift ground black tea, flour, baking powder and baking soda into a small bowl; set aside.
Place milk, lime juice, and lime zest in separate small bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Place sugar and eggs in stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. With the mixer still running, slowly pour olive oil into the egg and sugar mixture and beat until emulsified, about 3-4 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low, and alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).
Evenly divide and transfer the batter to the two prepared pans and bake at 350°F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make Blackberry & Lime Jam:
Set aside a handful of blackberries for garnishing. Place remainder of blackberries and lime juice in a blender and process until pureed. Place pureed blackberry mixture, sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Remove from heat.
Push mixture through a fine mesh strainer and discard any solids and seeds.
To make Honey Whipped Cream:
Place a stand mixer bowl in the freezer to chill briefly in preparation for step 4.
Place water in a small microwave-safe shallow bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand until gelatin has bloomed (about 5 minutes; mixture will become solid).
Place bowl in the microwave and heat on low for 10 seconds or until mixture dissolves to a syrup consistency. Set aside to cool slightly.
Place heavy cream in chilled stand mixer bowl and on medium-high speed beat until thick, about 2-3 minutes.
Turn mixer to lowest setting and add in honey and beat until combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer still running, slowly add in gelatin mixture and beat until stiff peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.
Transfer one of the cooled cakes to a plate and spread with ¼ cup of blackberry jam on top and then layer with half of the honey whipped cream. Top with the remaining cake and layer with ¼ cup of blackberry jam. Spread remaining honey whipped cream on top. Cover side of cake with remaining blackberry jam. Add blackberries on top of when ready to serve to prevent any bleeding.
- For the olive oil portion of this cake, make sure to use a very lightly flavored olive oil - nothing to strong in taste or you can use vegetable oil. If you use vegetable oil, keep in mind the cake will not have the bright yellow crumb and there's is a slight difference in taste—both are equally good, but the olive oil will give a slightly bolder flavor.
- The cake can be made with stabilized whipped cream or regular whipped cream. The only thing setting the two apart is the addition of the gelatin to give the stabilized whipped cream more form. To make regular whipped cream skip the gelatin and water.
- The blackberry lime jam can be made with or without seeds - your palate, your preference.
- The cake can be made two days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.
- The jam can easily be made up to a week in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.
- The whipped cream should be made the day of serving as should the assembly of the cake.