Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Light lemon cake packed with blueberries, with thin, crisp, buttery skin on the outside. There are no raising agents in this cake. Lemony sponge puffs up thanks to volume introduced by beating eggs with zesty lemon sugar.
There is a share 1lb of blueberries going into this simple and quick cake. We are spicing these up with cardamom (which is optional but recommended here). First batch of blueberries are placed on top of the cake, then the remaining part is placed on the cake 20 minutes into baking. The first part will form blueberry layer at the bottom (don’t worry - it will be light and airy, mellow goodness - no soggy bottom!). The remaining part will bake into the buttery thin skin. Sounds good?! It’s good and we won’t blame you if you eat it all in one sitting!
For a good bake:
Lemon flavour - rub zest into sugar to release lemon flavour.
Blueberries - use fresh blueberries in this bake. Frozen blueberries will leak too much water when baking. The sponge is very light. Most of fresh blueberries will bake at the bottom. It won't create soggy bottom - you will get an upside-down type of cake with light lemony sponge and layer of buttery skin and blueberries on top. Cardamom is a great option to introduce additional flavour dimension into this simple cake (totally optional but highly recommended). Otherwise - you may opt to bake with wild blueberries for even better blueberry flavour.
Eggs at room temperature - this cake relies on introducing volume during fairly long whipping. Eggs at room temperature will aerate the base faster. You can place eggs in a bowl full of warm water for few minutes, to bring to room temperature faster.
Beat eggs with sugar - don’t take shortcuts, do that workout (10-12min)! That’s your fluffy cake base. Don’t substitute sugar with other options - it won’t give you the same result.
Cold butter is placed on top of the cake and then sprinkled with sugar. Unusual but works and creates lovely buttery skin on the outside without impacting light texture of lemony sponge. Use coarse sugar for extra crunch (demerara, turbinado).
Place remaining part of blueberries when the cake is baking - there will be a small portion of blueberries which you will need to gently place on top of the cake 20min into baking. At that point, the cake will already form golden skin on the outside.
Drop cake from 20cm when baked - little bang will help to lock-in air bubbles and will prevent sponge from deflating.
Lemon and Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 20min prep + 45min baking
Tin: 23cm round tin with removable base or spring form
325g blueberries + 125g blueberries (placed on top of the cake 20min into baking)
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom (optional)
1 Tbsp (15g) caster sugar (skip if not using cardamom)
125g caster sugar
zest from 2 lemons
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt (use 1/8 tsp if using table salt)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or few drops of vanilla extract)
125g all-purpose flour
60g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge or freezer
20g coarse sugar (demerara or turbinado)
Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan forced). Line baking tin with parchment paper, grease sides and bottom with butter.
Prepare blueberries: Wash and dry blueberries, toss in cardamom and sugar mixture. If you are not using cardamom - skip sugar (you will be placing plain blueberries on the cake).
Prepare zesty sugar: Using palms of your hands and finger tips rub lemon zest into sugar to release flavour.
Prepare cake batter: Beat 3 large eggs on low speed for 2 minutes, after that time start adding zesty sugar - 1 Tablespoon at a time increasing speed to medium and making sure sugar is well incorporated in-between additions, 5 minutes into mixing increase speed to high. It will take you 10 minutes to fully incorporate sugar and beat eggs until creamy using stand mixer (or 12 minutes using hand held mixer). As a last step add salt, vanilla paste and continue mixing for another 1 minute. Sift flour into the egg mixture (in two turns) and using spatula gently fold in - only until combined, making sure no flour pockets remain. When ready, pour batter into the tin, spread 325g of blueberries on top of the cake. Now apply cake topping: take out cold butter, cut thinly (or grate) and spread across the cake. Then sprinkle the top with demerara or turbinado sugar.
Bake at 190C (170C fan forced) for 20 minutes. Then gently place remaining part of blueberries (125g) and bake for another 25 minutes at 180C (160C fan forced). Check with the skewer if fully baked through. When baked, remove from the oven and drop the tin from 20cm (read note above). Then let the cake cool for 10 minutes, run thin knife around the tin and release the cake. Enjoy!