Marbled Blueberry and Cinnamon Cake

This is the perfect cake for a sunny late winter afternoon- the comforting warmth of cinnamon with a hint of spring sunshine to come. For later in the year I might try it with lemon in place of the cinnamon for a fresher, lighter flavour. The recipe is taken, with a few simple adaptations, from April Carter's excellent new book 'Decorated'.

Ingredients

Blueberry Puree

175g fresh blueberries

1 tspn ground cinnamon

2 tbspns caster sugar

Cake

250g unsalted butter

450g caster sugar

375g plain flour

2 tspns baking powder

pinch of salt

180ml whole milk

1 tspn vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream

300g unsalted butter

480g icing augar

120ml double cream

A few tbspns whole milk

1 tspn vanilla extract

A few whole blueberries to decorate.

Method

Preheat the oven to 170c fan/gas 3. Butter 3 18cm sandwich pans and line the bases with baking parchment.

Make the blueberry puree by placing the puree ingredients with one tablespoon of water in a small pan. Heat gently until the blueberries are soft and then crush to a puree with a fork, or whizz with a stick blender.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a clean bowl, and then add half to the butter and sugar mix. Beat til just combined. Add 120ml of the milk, the vanilla and the remaining flour to this mix and again beat until just combined. Seperate a third of the mix into another bowl and beat in the blueberry puree. To the remaining vanilla mix add the rest of the milk and beat in.

Divide the vanillla mix between the 3 tins and smooth slightly with a spoon or spatula. Add the blueberry mix on top of this in 3 equal parts and then gently fold together and smooth the surface of each tin with the spatula. Be careful not to overmix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes spring back to the touch or a skewer inserted into the centre of each comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins and then turn out onto a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the icing sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. If the mixture is too stiff, add whole milk by the tablespoon until a smooth, spreadable consistency.

To assemble the cake

Level the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife. Place a dab of buttercream on your chosen plate or cake board to hold your first cake layer in place. Sandwich together the three layers with buttercream, and then cover the whole cake with a thin 'crumb coat' - an offset palette knife will be useful for this if you have one. Chill for 20 minutes until firm. Cover the cake completely with the remaining buttercream., and decorate with whole blueberries.


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