APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS! This saying got me through the random mid-April snowstorm and now it’s time to celebrate with cake. I made a lemon cake with mango curd and blueberry buttercream. I “painted” sunflowers onto the cake using some plain swiss meringue buttercream that I dyed yellow, orange, green, and brown using some gel food colouring. I thought it would be a super simple, rustic, and cute way to decorate a cake.
I started by baking my lemon cake, then making my mango curd, and buttercream while my cake chilled (all recipes below). I took my sweet time planning out where each sunflower was going to be, and which colours I would use. I wanted the base to be an ombre of blue to white from bottom to top.
And then I took my mini offset spatula and placed a small amount of yellow buttercream on the very tip, and made brushstrokes to create the petals. I added a little bit of depth in my petals but using some orange and a light green. I also used green and brown buttercream to create the leaves of the cake and, brown for the center of the flowers. When making the centers, I applied it in a tapping motion to create some texture in the middle.
Feel free to check out the video tutorial below.
142g (2/3 cup) soft butter
200g (1 cup) sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
219g (1-3/4 cup) flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
156mL (2/3 cup) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
- Grease two 6″ round pans with butter and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream your butter and sugar, lemon zest on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
- Add in your eggs one at a time, scraping the bottom of the bowl between mixing. Beat on high speed until pale and fluffy.
- Sift and whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Combine milk, vanilla, and lemon extract.
- Add in half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until some of the flour is absorbed into the butter (about 15 seconds)
- Add in all the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed for another 15 seconds.
- Add in all the remaining dry ingredients, first mixing on low speed until most of the dry ingredients have absorbed most of the wet ingredients. Turn your mixer on high speed for 15 seconds to quickly incorporate all the ingredients and create a smooth batter.
- Take the bowl off the stand mixer and hand-fold any remaining bits of butter at the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans and bake for 30-40 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely before levelling and decorating. Serve immediately.
This recipe makes about 973g or 4-1/3 cups of buttercream.
6 egg whites
300 (1-1/2 cup) sugar
400g (7/8 cup) soft butter
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g (3/4 cup) blueberries***, or to taste
Gel food colouring, if using
- Heat the egg whites and sugar in a bowl on top of small saucepan with an inch of simmering water (a water bath or “bain marie”), whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved completely (check this by rubbing a little bit between your fingers) and the mixture feels slightly hot to the touch.
- Transfer to a stand mixer and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form or the meringue is cooled to the touch.
- Add in soft butter in small chunks until full incorporated. It may start to curdle at first, but keep whipping until the meringue and the butter come together.
- Split the buttercream in half and flavour one half with blueberry. Leave the other half for colouring.
- Add in the blueberries and colour with gel food colour, if using.
Swiss meringue buttercream freezes well in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
***Note: I used frozen blueberries and reduced them down into a jam-like consistency to flavour my buttercream. Alternatively you can use store-bought blueberry jam.
6 large egg yolks
50g (1/4 cup) sugar
130mL (1/2 cup) mango juice
113g (1/2 cup) butter
- Combine all ingredients except butter in a small saucepan.
- Place on low-medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 5 min.
- Take off heat, stir in butter.
- Pour through a sieve to catch any cooked egg bits and place into a shallow pan or wide bowl. place plastic wrap directly on it.
- Place in the fridge to chill thoroughly, about 2 hours or overnight. If in a rush, place pan or bowl in a larger pan or bowl full of ice and water (to make an ice bath), and place in the fridge to chill quicker. Use once chilled.
The curd will last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.