Sunday, July 8, 2012

Purple blueberry cake: Baking with my son (and Legos) for #SundaySupper


OK, so the title should probably be lavender or perhaps lilac blueberry cake, but it's a work in progress and a deep, rich purple is the goal. I am aiming for a purple like Juana Cocina's blueberry sour cream ice cream, which is out of control gorgeous. And I am aiming to create rich color without using artificial food dyes. But the spectacular color was not to be this time. Oh well. My five (and a half) year old son and I had fun baking this cake. So did some of his Lego friends, especially Captain America who defended us from the flour monster.


This week's theme for #SundaySupper is kids in the kitchen. Getting kids in the kitchen early and getting them involved in making some of their own food is a great idea. It builds basic cooking skills like measuring, reading recipes (my boy isn't there yet, but he will be), some basic math, some nutritional information, but more important it creates a sense of comfort and confidence in a kitchen, like this is a place that you know and feel at home in. The best way to control what and how much you eat is to learn to cook it yourself. Without the confidence built from familiarity, the kitchen can seem intimidating. (I've written about fear in the kitchen before.) Thankfully, my boy won't grow up with that fear. 


I asked him what he wanted to make for this blog post, and he decided he wanted to make a cake and frosting from Williams-Sonoma's The Kid's Cookbook, which has lots of great somewhat simplified recipes (good for adults too) that are almost all made from scratch (which is really important to me; I am afraid I don't much care for "recipes" that start with processed, packaged foods). From the basic recipes in there, we modified them a bit to try to get color into the cake and the frosting. Like I said, I am not ecstatic about how the color turned out and will probably have to try a few more variations until I get it as purple as I want it to be, but it's a tasty cake anyway. (As you will no doubt notice, I am not skilled when it comes to decorating cakes. Perhaps one day I will learn to do better, for now, I'll just muddle through.)


Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE
  • butter for greasing the cake pan (about 1 Tbsp)
  • flour for the pan (about 2 Tbsps)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pureed frozen blueberries (I really like Wyman's frozen wild blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup milk
FOR THE FROSTING
  • 12 Tbsps butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar (sifted)
  • 2 Tbsps pureed frozen blueberries, strained
  • 2 Tbsps heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
  • plus about a cup of blueberry jam for the inside of the cake 

Instructions
FOR THE CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then grease and flour an 8-inch springform pan:


Measure flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and mix it together. Set it aside for now. 


Add sugar and butter to a mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer until the butter and sugar are creamy. 


Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating the mix until smooth. Reduce the speed on the machine and add the blueberry puree and the milk. Finally, add the flour mixture. 


Combine everything quickly, but completely, and spread the batter into your springform pan (note, the batter isn't very runny, you will want to smooth it out with a spatula). And, because I trust the farmer who raises my eggs, I let my son sop the pot. (I wouldn't do this with industrial eggs anymore.)


Bake it in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. When it's done (test for doneness with a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake; if it comes out dry, the cake is done), take it out and let it cool in the pan on a baking rack for 15 minutes. 


Then, get the cake out of the pan and let it cool completely on the baking rack. Go ahead and get out your butter to soften and blueberries to defrost during this time. (My boo and I watched Captain America while it cooled; it was on the fourth of July that we baked this after all.)

FOR THE FROSTING
To make the frosting, puree about a quarter cup of blueberries and strain the puree. I went ahead and poured the heavy cream through the strainer to try and pick up more of the color. 


Add the butter, cream, blueberry puree, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar to your mixer bowl.


Beat until the frosting is fluffy. 


Cut the cake into two layers. Spread a layer of blueberry jam on the bottom layer. Then gently place the top layer onto the bottom layer. Try to line them up as evenly as possible. 


Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake. This layer is called the crumb layer and will basically glue down the crumbs. Then spread a thick layer of frosting all over. To make my super fancy border, spoon frosting into a plastic bag, cut a tip off one corner, and push out one little dollop of frosting at a time all around the outside rim of the cake. 


Then invite some friends over to eat it. 


And of course, it wouldn't be #SundaySupper without all the other great meals that my fellow bloggers have put together this week. Check out all these tasty meals that can get your kids in the kitchen:

Start your day:
Healthy snackers:
Main meal:
Sweet treats:
Our #SundaySupper live chat will start at 3 pm EST. Follow us on twitter by using hashtag #Sundaysupper or using Tweetchat.

34 comments:

  1. I think the color of the cake is lovely. It would actually be perfect for Easter with all the pastels. I gave the same cookbook to my niece one Christmas and she loved it. Great cookbook for kids.

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  2. Thanks! I am not typically one for pastels, but it is a pretty color, just not the intense color I was looking for. I'll to remember the Easter connection and try to share the recipe again when that time of year rolls around.

    Yeah, we've given the same cookbook to several friends' kids for their birthdays. I really like it and use it myself quite frequently.

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  3. Looks yummy! Baking at home with the kids is certainly a great way to get them involved in cooking.

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  4. We had fun, and he's very good at measuring (he knows to level off each measure, for example). I have him help bake our bread most weeks. He really enjoys kneading.

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  5. The cake turned out fine Tora, it looks yummy. Your kid is the perfect helper, together with his lego friends!

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    1. Thanks! I see all these gorgeous cakes out there, and mine just never stack up to them. (Not being willing to use artificial food dyes kind of hurts that, but I have seen great color without dyes, so I will continue to try.) My dude and his Lego buddies are definitely great helpers.

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks! We had a lot of fun. I was going to get a lot more elaborate with staging the Legos, but there were just a few too many things to manage at once.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks! Like I've said, I am not much for pastels, but it is a fairly pleasing color even if it wasn't what I was aiming for.

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  8. I can see Captain America kept you all safe. Carry on with the deliciousness... ;)

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    1. No Legos were harmed in the making of this cake, although a few got a little dusty.

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  9. This looks delicious. I absolutely love that Lego's, or rather Captain America helped you all cook and kept you safe from the flour monster. It's important we make cooking fun and it looks like you did this. I love your cake, I think it's beautiful and I cannot wait to try it!

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    1. It was so much fun. I need to get the little guy and his friends involved in more of the cooking. He does help out with baking our weekly bread.

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  10. You might not have gotten the color you wanted, but I'm sure the blueberry flavor was all there!

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    1. There was plenty of blueberry flavor, but I think I could get some more in there. Next time, perhaps...

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  11. Looks like a fun experience! And I love the beautiful lilac color.

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    1. Aw, thanks. It was a pretty color once I got over not getting the really intense color I was hoping for.

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  12. Love the Legos! (I actually had a Lego bride and groom on my first wedding cake.)

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  13. My boys loved the Legos too, what kid doesn't right. Nice to see what fun you all had. And I love the idea of wild blueberries!!

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    1. Oh gosh, our house is flooding with Legos, and it's not all because of my son. My husband is crazy about them too. And I've been known to get a set or two...

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  14. I love all the positions of the Lego men. That is too cute. This cake looks so good, and your son looks like he really enjoyed being in the kitchen. Happy #SundaySupper!

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    1. I think he enjoyed helping out with making the cake, but he was even more excited about sopping the pots and eating the cake. Talk about a sugar rush!

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  15. Awe this post made me wish my son was young again. He loved lego. This got me all misty eyed. I love the cake too. Looks delish.

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    1. Aw, that's sweet, and that's such a great point. I'll be so happy to be able to look back on this day.

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  16. Wow, what a pretty cake! And I'm glad you had Captain America to defend you from the flour monster, very important when baking, I find.

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    1. Well, thank you so much. Oh yes, you can't have enough defense from the flour monster.

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  17. I loved seeing the Lego buddies. My sons are mostly too old to play with them any more, but there were days that I found many a Lego man around my house.

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    1. Yeah, my son is crazy about the minis, especially, so we get the mystery packs pretty often. I think they are a lot of fun too. Pretty much the best toy there is.

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  18. Looks like you guys had fun, and the results look delicious.

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    1. A great time was had by all, and we definitely enjoyed the results too.

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  19. Brilliant addition of berries to cake and frosting. I'm hungry!

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    1. Thanks! I think I may try to increase the amount of berry in there next time. I love blueberries.

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