Earl Grey Blackberry Cake With Torched Meringue (Inspired by Andy Bowdy)

torched meringue earl grey cake - Coco Cake Land

earl grey buttercream blackberry cake recipe - Coco Cake Land

torched meringue earl grey cake - Coco Cake Land

Fragrant earl grey buttercream, tangy tart blackberry-laden vanilla cake layers and an artful swath of toasty torched swiss meringue – it’s all a beautiful mess! Inspired by pastry chef Andy Bowdy (his cakes are gorgeously gargantuan, momentous and almost human!), I’ve been wanting to try decorating a cake with the “torched meringue” look – and, with a mini blowtorch burning a hole in my cupboard, the earl grey blackberry cake with torched meringue idea was born!

torched meringue earl grey cake - Coco Cake Land

earl grey buttercream blackberry cake recipe - Coco Cake Land

I decided to make swiss meringue for the artful swath, using the same method I use for my meringue kisses – that is, whipping the beautiful daylights out of a mixture of hot egg whites and granulated sugar. KitchenAid Canada sent me one of their new, very cute KitchenAid Artisan Mini Mixers in the mail! When I pulled the shiny pink mixer out of its box, my first thought was “oh my gosh, this is children’s sized.” I really thought it was so small at first and I was worried the cake and buttercream recipes I had in mind wouldn’t fit the bowl… but I was PLEASANTLY surprised that this lil baby whirred up my cake batter, buttercream and meringue just as beautifully as my old classic Kitchen Aid, with no spillover! In fact, the bowl is a generous 3.5 quarts, though it looks small. Which I guess is the point of the mini mixer – it’s compact, and perfect for a small kitchen! My only wish is that the bowl had a handle, as I’m so used to maneuvering the bowl by the handle. (Teddy and I also had fun turning the KitchenAid cardboard box into a race car! Cake board rounds make excellent steering wheels, FYI!)

earl grey buttercream blackberry cake recipe - Coco Cake Land

My favourite tips for getting a lovely, fluffy swiss meringue – ensure your bowl is very clean and completely grease-free. You can even rub the inside of the bowl with a wedge of lemon to cut any semblance of grease. Use a candy or digital thermometer! You’ll want the hot egg and sugar mixture to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill any nasty bacteria hanging out in the eggs.

slice of earl grey blackberry cake - coco cake land

torched meringue earl grey cake - Coco Cake Land

Along with the earl grey swiss meringue buttercream, I had some leftover salted caramel in the fridge so I added some for the dramatic drip effect. For the filling, I used blackberry jam and lemon curd, both store-bought – but you could make your own if you’re feeling truly heroic. Now go forth and make cake!!

new Kitchen Aid Mini in Guava Glaze

Earl Grey Blackberry Cake With Torched Meringue

12 slices

For The Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries, chopped into smaller pieces

For The Earl Grey Buttercream

For The Meringue

  • 1/4 cup egg whites (75 ml)
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar

For The Caramel and Fillings

  • I used leftover caramel from a previous cake, made from this recipe by Tessa Huff for The Cake Blog! 
  • For the fillings, I used store-bought blackberry jam and store-bought lemon curd.
  • You could also use store-bought caramel or dulce de leche; simply warm it up slightly to loosen it so it “drips.”

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 7×2 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray and parchment paper rounds. 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  3. Add the pure vanilla extract.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the whole milk, ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Mix until incorporated into a batter, about 30 seconds – do not over mix!
  7. Fold in half of the chopped blackberries; divide the other half into three equal portions.
  8. Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans; use an offset spatula to level the batter.
  9. Sprinkle each batter-filled pan with the remaining blackberries, pressing in lightly.
  10. Bake on the centre rack for 23-25 minutes, turning pans halfway to ensure even baking. Cake is baked when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

Make The Buttercream

  1. Place 1 cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for another 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the butter through a fine-mesh-sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate until it reaches softened butter consistency – 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisking to combine.
  5. Fill a medium saucepan with water and place it over medium-high heat.
  6. Place the stand mixer bowl on top, creating a double-boiler effect (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water.)
  7. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) on a candy thermometer.
  8. Carefully move the mixer bowl back to the stand mixer.
  9. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white and sugar mixture on high speed for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches medium-stiff peaks. The mixture should have cooled down now to room temperature.
  10. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment.
  11. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla paste, tea infused butter and remaining 1 cup of butter about a tablespoon at a time.
  12. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until buttercream is thick and lustrous.

(If your swiss meringue buttercream “breaks” apart, your butter might have been too cold – place the stand mixer bowl back onto the water filled saucepan and gently heat up for a minute or so, then try beating the mixture again. You’d be amazed at how something can go from curdled soup to fluffy perfect buttercream. See this post for more troubleshooting tips!)

Make The Meringue

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisking to combine.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with water and place it over medium-high heat.
  3. Place the stand mixer bowl on top, creating a double-boiler effect (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water.)
  4. Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) on a candy thermometer.
  5. Carefully move the mixer bowl back to the stand mixer.
  6. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg white and sugar mixture on high speed for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches medium-stiff peaks, glossy and fluffy.

Assemble The Cake

  1. Using a serrated knife, level off your cake layers, reserving trimmings for chowing down on later.
  2. Place a dab of buttercream on a cake board or large plate and put the first cake layer on top.
  3. Using a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe a generous buttercream dam on the top far edge of the cake layer.
  4. Fill the center area with blackberry jam.
  5. Place the second cake layer cut-side-down on top of the first.
  6. Pipe another generous buttercream dam on top of the second layer.
  7. Fill the center area of the second layer with lemon curd.
  8. Place the final cake layer cut-side-down on top, pressing in lightly to adhere. Slightly adjust your layers as needed.
  9. Using an offset spatula, frost the entire cake with a crumb coat, using a cake bench scraper to smoothe as needed.
  10. Place the cake in the freezer to set up, about 12 minutes, or in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove cake from the freezer; using your offset spatula, frost a second layer of buttercream, smoothing with cake bench scraper.
  12. Place the cake back into the freezer for about 12 minutes.
  13. Remove cake from the freezer. Using a small spoon, add drips of caramel.
  14. Using a large spoon, dollop a generous amount of meringue on top of the cake. Using your spoon (but without touching the cake), spread the meringue into an artful “swath”, going across the center of the cake and going down one side.
  15. Get your blowtorch ready! In a safe uncluttered area of your kitchen, torch the meringue in little bursts to avoid melting away your buttercream. (freezing it beforehand as above will help here too); torch until you’re satisfied with the toasted-level of your meringue.
  16. Finally, decorate with blackberries, fresh fruit and/or edible flowers!

torched meringue earl grey cake - Coco Cake Land

earl grey blackberry cake recipe - Coco Cake Land

Thank you KitchenAid Canada for sending me the mixer and for sponsoring Coco Cake Land. Pretty stoked to be a Mini Moments Ambassador! All opinions are my own. My first Kitchen Aid was a wedding present from my very beloved Poh-Poh. I miss her very much. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Coco Cake Land chugging along, and happy baking, buddies! PS if you’re looking to amp up your meringue-based buttercream and frosting skills, here’s my affiliate link to Craftsy class Icing On The Cake by Jenny McCoy – I just watched it and learned a ton! xo Lyndsay 

In Memory Of John Dumont

in memory of John Dumont

in memory of John Dumont

This cake is so bright in colour, joyful, and I loved making it, hoping it would put a smile on the recipient’s face. But now when I look at pictures of it, I can’t help but have tears in my eyes. I made it for John, on his 41st birthday, just two and a half months ago. John passed away this past week on September 1st, one year after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer – sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma. John was a dear friend of my sister’s, and the decades-long best friend of her husband, so I knew John over many years, but not closely – I’d see him at a party or at my sister’s house. It was only after his cancer diagnosis that we became friends via email, as those diagnosed with cancer often do – you tend to gravitate towards each other, grasping through the haze and daze of fear, strength, doubt, sickness, hope.

turquoise drippy cake - coco cake land

In our emails he would always ask ME how I was doing, even though I knew he wasn’t feeling well himself. I would check in with him and see how he was feeling, or try to send messages of encouragement. He once told me he was inspired by me and happy to see how strong I was feeling. I remember crying after reading this, just so hopeful that he would be okay.

turquoise drippy cake - coco cake land

The last time I saw him was just after he was diagnosed, and we ran into each other at the cancer agency. I was in for my daily radiation appointment and he was there with his wife Trixie. He was a tall man, dark haired, athletic, handsome, and I recognized him immediately through a sea of shell-shocked patients. We hugged, with tears in our eyes. Why us? A shared fear and a sense of support. The unknown can be a gutting place. I have always admired Trixie too – strong, blunt, funny and beautiful. John was such an awesome person, adored by so many. I remember him being easy going, incredibly likeable, the type of person you like to be around. He was a powerhouse athlete – a star basketball player, and in more recent years, a marathon runner – he qualified for, and ran the Boston Marathon only three years ago. He was an amazing husband, and incredible father to three growing boys.

turquoise drippy cake - coco cake land

In memory of John Dumont

Rest in peace, John. You will be missed by so many friends and loved ones. To read more about John, visit here. To support John’s family and contribute towards a fund dedicated to the future education and endeavours of his three sons, please visit Support John Dumont. xo Lyndsay 

Sweet Child O Mine – Teddy’s 4th Birthday Party

ghost piñata - coco cake land

teddy-and-cake-1

Dear Teddy. It’s mama. Or mommy, or MA. You call for me in the mornings when you wake up to let me know you’re awake. Or you yell at me to come in to your room, and bleary eyed, I stumble out of bed. “Is it morning?” you ask. How did you get to be four years old? Just yesterday, you were the basketball bump in my tummy. The baby-to-be, forcing me to ingest whole ice cold watermelons and cut-up cantaloupes, and large cups filled to the brim with ice cubes, shimmering like a sculpture. Rolling around like an alien in my tummy, the strangest sensation. Now, here you are. Tall for your age, with soft lightly brown skin, cheeks of dough and eyelashes so thick and long they would make a drag queen jealous. You are growing your hair out like Joey Ramone’s. You don’t mind being called a girl at the park. You are fascinated by good and evil, good guys and bad guys. You say things like “mommy if a bad guy ever comes to take you I will PUNCH HIM and lock him up in jail!!”You really are a pretty little guy.

party garlands - coco cake land

sweet child o mine - coco cake land

Every day you are learning so much, questioning the world around you, asking what words mean, with a growing independence. I miss you so much when I am working and we are apart, yet you often make me lose my cool with your wildness. You shred on your guitar and sing all day long. You seem to love pop punk music, which is questionable. You love make-believe play and you are obsessed with cars. You ask about death and dying a lot. I try my best to answer your super-goth questions without freaking both of us out. I don’t have all the answers – sometimes mommy just does not know.

teddy birthday party - coco cake land

blue ghost piñata - coco cake land

ghost piñata - coco cake land

teddy in racing helmet - coco cake land

You are my whole heart. You are a huge nutbar. You are hilarious and fun and sweet and thoughtful but you can also sometimes be an asshole. You love jokes. I am trying my best to raise you as a cool guy, one who thinks of others, who loves freely, who shares (haha) and has gratitude. Lately we have been singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin together and at the end I always say “nice singing, Teddy!” and you say “nice singing, mom!”

whacking the ghost piñata - coco cake land

dairy queen ice cream cake - coco cake land

turdwicks family pic - coco cake land

You are the one who makes me truly happy, Teddy! My heart and life is full because of you. You are so well loved by so many people. I am so glad I am here to be with you. Love, Mom

Easy Chocolate Ganache Pie Recipe – OHHH YEAH!

easy chocolate ganache pie recipe - Coco Cake Land

You know my deal. Sweet and easy, casual times. This pie is that. That pie is this. Pie, pie, who am I??? No but really – easy chocolate ganache pie recipe, right here, right now. Ohhh yeah. I’m busting through a brick wall like a giant glass jug sloshing with electric pink Kool-Aid yelling “this is EASY, guys!!! EASY!” If you want to complicate things, make your pie crust from scratch, because… I just used a frozen pie shell. ZING! Gimme another OHHH YEAHHH!!!

easy chocolate ganache pie recipe - Coco Cake Land

But isn’t it pretty? I would wear this as a face mask if I didn’t hate having food on my skin. The reason why I know I hate having food on my skin is because in grade 9, I was on student council and for a fundraiser, we had pies thrown at our faces. Disgusting whipped edible oil product pies thrown at us. I can still feel the remnants of non-dairy oiliness in my ear. It felt like it would never come off of my skin. Also: make this pie or I will pinch the above blackberry til it bursts into a million little juicy tangy bits.

modern chocolate ganache pie - Coco Cake Land

Chocolate Ganache Pie With Fresh Berries

12 slices (maybe 8 if you're feeling piggy?)

For The Crust

  1. Walk to your nearest supermarket and go down the frozen foods aisle.
  2. Open up those cool heavy doors and let that cold air blast at your face.
  3. Select your favourite frozen pie crust. I selected Tenderflake, because they paid me to - but it really did bake up all cute and wonderful!
  4. Pay for your frozen pie crust.
  5. Bag it and bring it home. See you over at Ingredients Two!

For The Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 2 cups of full fat high quality coconut milk
  • 1 pound of good quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate - chopped chocolate, or chocolate chips
  • fresh berries
  • edible flowers

Make The Pie Crust

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring the frozen pie shell to room temperature; poke all over with a fork.

Bake in the oven for ten minutes; let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Make The Ganache

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk on medium heat unit it reaches a low boil.
  2. Remove from heat; add the chocolate, making sure the coconut milk covers the chocolate.
  3. Let it sit untouched for ten minutes.
  4. After ten minutes, gently whisk together until a glossy smooth ganache forms.
  5. Pour ganache into cooled pie shell and chill for 60 minutes until set.
  6. Decorate with fresh berries, edible flowers, fresh herbs.

fried chicken picnic - Coco Cake Land

In other news: my friend Michelle from Hummingbird High tells it like it is in this timely post about what it means to be a food blogger. It’s a good reminder to consider WHY one blogs. For me this past year, my blog was a place I could shit it all out there and talk about my breast cancer diagnosis and treatments, and a place to put some of my thoughts and feelings. Also? Two of my favourite things, writing and photography, get to combine with another favourite thing, baking stuff. Plus, jokes. And another thing i’ve learned about myself is that I think food styling is fun. That I will food style a fucking family picnic of fried chicken because it’s THAT FUN and the light is too beautiful for me not to be the food stylist turd family member. It makes me giddy and happy. So that’s why I do it I guess. I’ve also met some DELIGHTFUL people through being an online wingwang. Did you know you can find a list of my favourite blogs ( and people) at the bottom of my ABOUT page? These are all the bitches who I admire, or who are hilarious and real, and create insanely good and/or delicious content but are also good people, or funny people. Or just crazy talented people. But there’s a no jerks allowed rule. So feel free to browse my favourites and know that there are no jerkturds on those lists! (PS – Tenderflake compensated me to create this video, but not this post – but I love these pie photos so decided to post the recipe!) xo Lyndsay 

Blackberry Lemon Parfait With Oat Cookie Crumble + Whipped Mascarpone

blackberry lemon parfait recipe - Coco Cake Land

blackberry lemon curd parfait recipe - Coco Cake Land

Note to self: never layer a f*cking dessert again. Do it for food photos, but then when you want to eat it yourself – JAM IT ALL TOGETHER IN A NORMAL PERSON BOWL. You’ll still get all the elements of this beautifully easy summer blackberry lemon parfait. Cool, creamy, not-too-sweet whipped mascarpone, the tang of lemon and blackberry and the crispy toasted texture of the salted oat cookie crumble.

easy summer blackberry lemon parfait recipe - coco cake land

blackberry lemon parfait recipe - Coco Cake Land

easy summer parfait - blackberry, lemon, whipped mascarpone + oat cookie crumble

I used store-bought lemon curd because I am completely okay with not making every element from scratch. But if you want to make the lemon curd, I’ve made Martha Stewart’s lemon curd recipe several times with excellent results. I also added a smidgen of blackberry jam on the top of the parfait too for an extra colour blast!

easy summer parfait - blackberry, lemon, whipped mascarpone + oat cookie crumble

Blackberry Lemon Parfait With Oat Cookie Crumble + Whipped Mascarpone

4 parfaits in 6 ounce glasses

For The Oat Cookie Crumble

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature

For The Whipped Mascarpone

  • 8 ounces of mascarpone, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • zest of one small lemon
  • 1 cup heavy cream (33% milk fat), cold

Make The Oat Cookie Crumble

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the sugar, oats, flour and salt.
  3. Add the unsalted butter, using your fingers to combine it all together until incorporated enough that it forms clumps.
  4. Using your fingers, place the oat mixture clumps onto the parchment paper, spreading out evenly.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toasty and browned. Let cool completely before using.

Make The Whipped Mascarpone

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the beater attachment, whip the mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon zest on high to give it some volume.
  2. Turn off the mixer; swap out to the whisk attachment.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; add the cold whipping cream and beat on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  4. Beat on medium-high until soft peaks form.

 

Assemble The Parfait

  1. Using a spoon, dollop a generous amount of whipped mascarpone into the bottom of your bowl or glass.
  2. Add a layer of lemon curd.
  3. Add another layer of mascarpone.
  4. Add a generous crumbly amount of cooled oat cookie crumble, broken into small pieces.
  5. Add another dollop of mascarpone.
  6. Add a spoonful of blackberry jam and top with fresh blackberries!

easy summer blackberry lemon parfait recipe - coco cake land

You will have plenty of oat cookie crumble left over – but I tell ya, this stuff won’t last long. Whether you’re sprinkling it straight into your mouth or topping an ice cream sundae, it really is crunchy salty sweet delicious! xo Lyndsay 

Iced Matcha Latte With Coffee Jelly

iced matcha latte with coffee jelly recipe - Coco Cake Land

I’m freaking out over this iced matcha latte with coffee jelly drink (could I just be on an insane caffeine high from drinking two of these in a row? Probably.) I don’t think I’ve ever posted a drink recipe on this blog but this is GOLDEN and will catapult your hot summery day into icey matcha green tea milky condensed milk coffee jelly outer space. Inspired by one of my favourite little cafes here in Vancouver, this drink is painfully easy to make, which is always A-PLUS IN MY BOOKS. This iced matcha latte is for those people (MY PEOPLE!) that love bubble tea and jelly-type stuff in their cold drinks. You’ll need bubble tea straws to slurp up all the sweet coffee goodness. It also brings together Japan (matcha) and Vietnam (condensed milk coffee jelly cubes!) and America (milk??). Run, run! Hurry and make this and watch your day get better!!

iced matcha latte with coffee jelly recipe - Coco Cake Land

iced matcha latte with coffee jelly recipe - Coco Cake Land

iced matcha latte with coffee jelly recipe - Coco Cake Land

Iced Matcha Latte With Coffee Jelly

2 matcha lattes

For The Condensed Milk Coffee Jelly

Recipe adapted from The Food Librarian
  • 2 packets of unflavoured gelatine powder (I used Knox brand - it comes with 4 packets)
  • 2 shots of strong good quality espresso with boiling water added to make 2 cups of liquid
  • 1 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk
 

For The Matcha Latte

Recipe adapted from Japan Centre
  • 2 teaspoons green tea matcha powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 cups of your favourite milk (I used organic 2% milk)
  • ice cubes!

Make The Coffee Jelly

  1. Place 1/2 cup of cold water in a bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the contents of the gelatin packets on top of the water, lightly stirring to combine – allow it to bloom, about ten minutes.
  3. Stir in the hot espresso coffee mixture until combined.
  4. Add the sweetened condensed milk mixture and lightly stir until incorporated.
  5. Pour into an oblong glass pan or dish – I used my 3 quart/2.8 L glass baking pan.
  6. Let the gelatin set up overnight, and it will be ready for lattes in the morning!

Make The Matcha Latte

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the matcha powder, sugar and boiling water to form a paste.
  2. Pour milk into a liquid measuring cup.
  3. Add the matcha paste to the milk, whisking until combined.

 

Assemble The Drinks

  1. Remove coffee jelly from the fridge; using a paring knife, slice jelly into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Spoon the coffee jelly into a glass, about 1/3 full.
  3. Add 4-5 cubes of ice (your preference)
  4. Divide evenly and pour the matcha milk into the glasses.
  5. Place a bubble tea straw in the glass and DRINK AWAY!

iced matcha latte with coffee jelly recipe - Coco Cake Land

Recipe notes: You will have plenty of coffee jelly leftover – but making the matcha latte is so easy, you can reserve the jelly for the following morning, and so on, and so on – til the jelly is all eaten up. The matcha latte recipe can easily be doubled to accommodate 4 latte-drinkers. If you prefer a sweeter matcha latte, you can add an extra teaspoon per serving as you like it. Happy summer vibes, my friends! xo Lyndsay 

Frozen Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake

blueberry lemon icebox cake

Summer is breezing by like a little flip book of dreams. Blueberry bushes are sprouting their little juicy jewels; plucked, and packed into boxes. Carried home from the store, into our homes. Baked, transformed, or sprinkled on oatmeal, or run under the cold tap for a few seconds then thrown straight into mouths. We took Teddy to the pool yesterday and it was teeming with children. I marvelled at the wonderful body types of a million mothers. Tall, short, fat, thin. Rolls of Costco-fueled emotional eating exhaustion, tucked into swaths of lycra, and lean machines who wake up at 5am for a morning run to keep sane. I’m always searching for the bikini or swimsuit that best fits my body type – fat ‘n fit. That is, strong legs, strong arms but abdominal fat round my middle because I can’t stop making fried chicken and fruit pie. The hot sizzle of oil when the dredged chicken drops in. Crispy and juicy, with a side of cold watermelon. The sweet, toasty aroma of bubbling pie baking in the oven, Teddy bursting in to tell me “I want to eat that smell!!!” And how about some blueberry lemon icebox cake for dessert.

blueberry lemon icebox cake

I’ve been a subscriber to Bon Appetit magazine for several years now – first I got hooked on Food and Wine magazine thanks to watching Top Chef, then I decided to mix it up and switch magazines because I don’t drink much, and the “Wine” part I would always skip through. While sometimes I feel like BA tries too hard to make people feel uncool, I do love the recipes, photos and designs. The July issue had a stunner of a story, all about blueberries – which I dog-eared the shit out of. I posted this blueberry lemon icebox cake on the old Instagram and MAGICALLY, the RECIPE AUTHOR commented, saying she was a big fan of mine!! So cool. Now I’ve discovered that she is the wonderful Nicole Rucker, pie maker and chef extraordanaire, and I’m just a tired turd here in Vancouver doing my thing in my modest kitchen, and amazingly she’s a fan of me.

blueberry lemon icebox cake

Teddy’s little not-quite-4-year-old hand. I want to cry thinking of him turning 4. It’s so painful for me to see him continue to grow so far away from babyhood.

blueberry lemon icebox cake

Here’s the frozen blueberry lemon icebox cake recipe by Nicole Rucker for Bon Appetit. I used store-bought lemon curd, and I didn’t have chia seeds for the blueberry jam, so I just used a tablespoon of cornstarch to help thicken it somewhat. The jam set up beautifully in the fridge overnight and I couldn’t stop spooning it into my mouth. The recipe is so simple, and it tastes like magical slices of summer: fresh, bright, creamy and cool. xo Lyndsay 

Chocolate Caramel Drippy Cake with Summer Fruit

chocolate + caramel drippy cake recipe - coco cake land

I just need to stare at this colourful blast of happiness for a while. Fuchsia pink swiss meringue buttercream, drips of golden salted caramel and the bounty of summer mixed with the nostalgic whimsy of sprinkles. In reality, my mind has been feeling the opposite of this pretty thing. So much sadness, fear and hate in the world yet so much goodness, beauty, innocence. So today, I will quietly share this cake, a vibrantly pink frosted caramel drippy cake bursting with happy colours.

caramel drippy cake - coco cake land

bright and cheery cake recipe - coco cake land

hot pink drippy caramel cake - coco cake land

Chocolate Caramel Drippy Cake With Summer Fruit

12 slices

For The Chocolate Cake

Adapted slightly from The Barefoot Contessa
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup of high quality cocoa powder 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used two shots of espresso topped up with hot water equal to 1 cup)

For The Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from the amazing Style Sweet Ca
  • ½ cup (120 ml) egg whites (from about 3 to 4 large eggs)
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks – 340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (optional)
  • Americolour electric pink gel colour

For The Salted Caramel Drip

Adapted from the Layered cookbook! Makes about 1 cup
  • 3/4 (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt which I broke down into smaller bits)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Fresh Fruit, Sprinkles

For the cake decor, I used fresh local blueberries and cherries – I loved the minimalist roundness of both fruits, and the summery feel they added.

For sprinkles, I used my special mix from Sweetapolita’s Sprinkle Shop.

Make The Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 7-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper circles.

  1. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Make The Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the egg whites and granulated sugar.  Whisk them together by hand, just until they are combined so that the egg whites don’t begin cooking by themselves.
  2. Fill a sauce pan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer.  Place the mixer bowl with the egg white mixture on top to create a double-boiler. The water should be kept at a simmer but should not touch the bottom of the bowl.  The double-boiler acts as indirect heat for the egg white mixture. 
  3. Occasionally stirring, heat the egg white mixture until it reaches 155 to 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  The mixture should be very hot to the touch and the sugar should have dissolved.
  4. Once the egg white mixture is hot, carefully return the bowl to the stand mixer.  Fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed for about 8 minutes.  When done, the meringue should hold shiny, medium-stiff peaks and be cooled to room temperature.  Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.
  5. Swap out to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, begin adding in the butter a couple tablespoons at a time. The butter must be room temperature in order to incorporate properly with the meringue.
  6. Once the butter has been mixed in, add the vanilla bean seeds (if using) and the vanilla extract.
  7. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until silky smooth. This may take a few minutes, but continue to mix until light, creamy, and free from most air bubbles.
  8. Remove 1/4 cup of cream-coloured buttercream and set aside for piping.
  9. Add your gel food colouring to the rest of the buttercream and mix for another minute on medium speed to incorporate.

 

Make The Caramel

  1. Place the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a heavy bottomed, small or medium saucepan. Stir to combine.
  2. Heat over hight heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until turns a medium, golden amber colour – 8-10 minutes. The mixture will begin to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in colour. Remove the saucepan from the heat once the correct colour is reached and the bubbles start to subside.
  3. Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream; I add 1/4 cup at a time, whisking between additions – I found this helped it from foaming up and splattering out – be careful, this can happen!
  4. Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine.
  5. Pour the caramel in to a heat-safe container (I used an empty glass jam jar) and let it cool until it reaches the desired consistency – it will thicken as it cools. For maximum drippage, you will want it to cool down a fair amount – a few hours in the fridge will help it along. If it’s not cool enough, it will be fairly runny.
  6. Leftover caramel can be stored in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to 10 days – if it even lasts that long! (I continually spooned it into my mouth until it was gone. Oops.)

Decorate The Cake

Click here for all the tips on how to frost a cake!

  1. Fill and crumb coat your completely cooled cake with the pink swiss meringue buttercream.
  2. Chill the cake for 15 minutes in the freezer.
  3. Remove cake from freezer and apply second and final coat, using a cake bench scraper/smoother to make the cake nice, and smooth!
  4. Once your caramel is completely cooled, use a small teaspoon to apply the drips while simultaneously creating a “dam” around the edges of your cake. (go here for drip tips). Use an offset spatula to fill the rest of the cake top.
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with an open star tip (such as Wilton 1M) with the remaining cream-coloured buttercream. (Or colour it the colour of your choice!) Pipe drop stars onto the top of your cake in a pretty pattern; decorate with fresh berries and a border of specialty sprinkles!

 

hot pink drippy caramel cake - coco cake land

hot pink drippy caramel cake - coco cake land

Roxane Gay on Black Lives Matter 

This is such a great little video on empathy. Found via Oh Joy. Perspective taking – being able to see from another person’s perspective, staying out of judgement, recognizing emotion, feeling with people.

and another happy-making cake – to bring you back to your childhood, days of innocence.

Wishing much peace and love for this world. xo Lyndsay