Filed under: Cakes / Layer cakes
July 17, 2021

Blueberry Layer Cake

A soft tender layer cake that tastes of wild blueberries, filled with a blueberry compote and wrapped in a sweet, blueberry buttercream. Fresh blueberries and freeze dried berries team up to turn this blueberry layer cake into a purple wonder. 

5 from 9 votes
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blueberry layer cake

 

 

Fresh blueberry cake, a very blueberry cake  

I went back and forth on this one. I had the cake recipe perfected and I thought, I bet they (they being people who come across my content and tell me they don’t like blue food, lol) won’t like the color of the cake. Should I redo it? I could add food coloring and make it more purple… I could redo the recipe… find a way to omit the baking soda (which is the cause of the color of the cake, as it reacts with the blueberry puree). 

Ugh, but the filling was already made and the buttercream was perfect. And I took a bite of the cake and I thought, , this it actually tastes like real blueberries! I didn’t want to change anything about the ingredients… and altogether I thought it all looked so beautiful as it was without any artificial food coloring. 

 

Why this Blueberry Layer Cake is wonderful

A long time ago I told you about a blueberry ice cream which spurred a fascination with blueberries fully incorporated into baked goods. This cake was born of that latent obsession. 

The thing about most blueberry cake recipes is that they aren’t blueberry cakes… they are lemon cakes with blueberries added to them. Which is fine, if you want fruit bits in your cake, but I wanted the cake itself to  taste like blueberries! And I didn’t want lemon to overtake it, because it is often quite often more obvious when mixed with a berry. 

You are going to take a bite of this cake (after giving me a funny look about the color) and you’ll say, god damn this tastes like blueberries! We get this wonderful flavor by adding a blueberry reduction and blueberry powder (both easily made at home). Together they make for a really, really special cake. 

 

How to make the blueberry cake layers 

Let’s start with the blueberry puree, first you’ll add the berries to a pot and begin cooking. It’ll take about 20 minutes to get the berries to fully soften and burst. 

 

It isn’t just the softening that needs to happen but some of the water needs to evaporate too. Once all the berries have burst (you can help some of them along by pressing on them with the back of a spoon/spatula) keep cooking until the water level has visibly reduced. 

Once that’s done you can strain it to remove the skins, or you can keep them in. Just make sure you have 1/2 cup of the puree. Let it cool while you make the cake batter. 

Start by adding all the dry ingredients, including ground up freeze dried blueberries, to your stand mixer bowl. 

We’re doing a reverse cream for this cake batter, so all the dry ingredients and the butter get beaten together until the mix is ‘sandy’

Once you can’t spot any more big butter bits, then you can start adding eggs. Do it one by one, allowing each to incorporate before adding another. When it’s fully ‘whipped’ you can add the blueberry puree, and the buttermilk. 

The batter will be airy and light, a bit purple from the lemon juice too! Split it between two cake pans and bake. 

Blueberry Buttercream: All-Natural Blueberry Buttercream 

This is a really basic buttercream, the only thing we do is add some ‘blueberry powder’ to it (basically freeze dried blueberries processed and sifted to remove seeds). I’ve found that as the powder sits in the buttercream base it gets more and more potent in color and taste. So we’ll only add a little and we’ll do it ahead of time. It’s going to be great! 

I didn’t do it here but I KNOW it would be wonderful: add about 4 oz softened cream cheese to the buttercream (and skip the milk). Even with the cream cheese this will be fine to sit overnight at cool room temperature (the amount of sugar in it will keep it from spoiling). 

 

Do Ahead  

  • Must do the night before: make the buttercream. This buttercream is made with freeze dried blueberries/blueberry powder and it gets more and more potent in flavor overnight. We’re only going to use a bit here, initially it will make the buttercream a light purple and have a hint of blueberry flavor. As it sits overnight, it gets more intense. When you stir it in the morning, you’ll see the color turn even more vibrant. 
  • Do a few hours ahead: make the filling. It’s pretty simple, just cook some fresh berries with sugar and lemon for a few minutes until they get a bit soft. This needs to chill fully before it goes between the cake layers. You can do it the night before along

 

 

 

FAQ for Blueberry Layer Cake 

Where do I get freeze dried blueberries? 

Check the nuts and dried fruit section of the grocery store 

Can I skip the freeze dried blueberries? 

Nope! We use quite a bit of it in the cake and it’s the reason the buttercream looks the way it does and tastes of blueberries. Without it you’ll miss out on a ton of flavor. 

Can I use frozen blueberries to make blueberry layer cake? 

I think that will be fine. I personally like the flavor of wild blueberries but you’ll need to use more of them (and there will be lots of skins to sieve out for the puree that goes into the cake. 

Can I bake this in a different sized pan? 

You could possibly do this in three 6” round cake pans for a taller cake. Or a 13×9” cake pan. Bake times will differ, check for doneness by pressing the top to see if it springs back and is firm (or with a cake tester). 

Why should I use organic powdered sugar for the buttercream? 

First, organic has a hint of the natural sugar molasses in it so the sugar is tastier. But more importantly, look for a sugar that is made with tapioca instead of cornstarch. It simply tastes better! 

 

Blueberry Layer Cake Recipe 



Blueberry Layer Cake

Two layers of tender blueberry cake flavored with both freeze dried berries and fresh blueberries cooked into a compote. A reverse creaming method gives this an excellent tender crumb. Blueberry compote in between the cake layers and a blueberry buttercream, naturally flavored and colored turn this into a very blueberry cake.
blueberry layer cake
5 from 9 votes

Ingredients

Blueberry powder

  • 2.4 oz or 108g freeze dried blueberries processed into a powder and sifted to remove seeds.

Blueberry Buttercream

  • 226g or 1 cup butter softened
  • 360g or 3 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry powder* from above
  • milk as needed to make a smooth buttercream

Blueberry Filling

  • 200g or 1 heaping cup blueberries
  • 50g or ¼ cup sugar
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Blueberry Cake

  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 300g or 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 170g or ¾ cup butter softened
  • 300g or 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 360g or ¾ cup lowfat kefir or buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons blueberry powder from above
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice freshly squeezed

Method

To make the buttercream (the night before):

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together the butter, salt, vanilla and blueberry powder. Add the powdered sugar (sift it in if it’s lumpy) and beat to combine, at least 3 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides as needed. Add milk or heavy cream to the mix until you have a smooth buttercream. Place it in an airtight container and leave it at cool room temperature. The color will darken as the blueberry bits dissolve, after a few hours, stir it to get the color to smooth and intensify.

To make the filling:

  • In a small pot, cook over medium heat all the ingredients together for about 15 minutes, until the blueberries soften and burst. Place in a container in the fridge. It will thicken as it cools.

To make the cake:

  • Using a blender or food processor, puree the 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries. Sieve the mixture to remove seeds and then cook it in a pot over medium heat, until it’s reduced, thickened and much of the water has evaporated. You can also cook the berries before pureeing. You’ll need ½ cup for the cake. Let it cool fully before adding to the cake batter.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and flour two 8” round cake pans.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, cake flour, baking powder, soda and salt until the mixture is fully combined and sandy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing for each to be fully combined before adding another. Once all four are in, let the mixture run for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer on, slowly pour in the blueberry reduction, blueberry powder, lemon juice and kefir. Once the batter is fully mixed, divide it between the two cake pans.
  • Bake until top is firm when pressed or a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Cake assembly:

  • Stir the buttercream really well with a rubber spatula, you’ll see the color change as you do. Put it into a large piping bag (this will help you create ‘walls’ so that the filling doesn’t leak).
  • Once the cakes have cooled, use a bread knife to slice off the tops of the cake domes. Pipe a border of buttercream around the top of one of the cakes. On the top of the other cake, spread a thin layer of buttercream.
  • Spread the filling inside the buttercream border and place the second cake face down. Pipe the rest of the buttercream around the cake and on the top and smooth it around with an offset spatula.
  • Get ready, blueberry heaven is about to happen.

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19 comments

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Recipe Reviews




  1. Is “125g or ½ cup reduced blueberry puree*” the asterisk supposed to direct to a note somewhere? it seems like this is what is described in Step 1 of “to make the cake” but I just want to confirm since there is also a similar instruction for the filling.

  2. I noticed you said “reduced” blueberry puree. is this a reduction as in thickened/syrup? or just add the puree?

  3. I followed recipe exact, but my dried powdered blueberries turned stiff ( like there was too much moisture. How do I turn it to a powder again.

    • This happens when the powder is not kept in an airtight container. I would still try to use it, you can try to either press it through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lumps or combine it with the buttermilk in a jar and blend it to get it to dissolve.

  4. Just curious about how this would turn out using half vegetable oil instead of all butter. I find that since I have started making only cakes with oil, they are so much moister and just taste so much better. Do not dry out within short time, so I would love to try that with this recipe. Blueberries are a total favourite here!

  5. 5 stars
    This is a lovely cake! And I am here to say that even if you are a dodo-brain like me and think that 1 cup of butter is 4 sticks, not 2 (it’s 2), the buttercream will still be delicious! It may not be as sweet as you planned but it works with the cake just fine. (It’s me. I’m the problem…) I can’t wait to bake this again and make it with the correct ratio of ingredients.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this for my husbands 39th birthday. He loves blueberries so I thought it would be the perfect choice. This turned out so amazing!!!! It was my first time making a layer cake with filling and frosting it myself. If you’re having a hard time finding freeze dried blueberries, check your local Target. We saved the leftover slices in the freezer to enjoy at our leisure and they are still super tasty after defrosting and letting them come closer to room temp. I would love to make this again and also try different fruits like strawberry or maybe a multi berry.

  7. 5 stars
    I made the blueberry cake, added a teaspoon of vanilla paste, forgot the lemon juice and it was delicious!! I used a cream cheese frosting with some puree. Great recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    I made it last night and it is probably one of the best cakes that I’ve ever made. I doubled the filling recipe so I could put it on top of the cake too. I found the freeze dried blueberries at Target.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this over the summer when we went blueberry picking and had lots of blueberries leftover that were going to go to waste if they didn’t get baked or preserved. I couldn’t wait to make this cake with them and was not disappointed. It was so intensely blueberry with the freeze dried berries and fresh berry filling.

    I did have a bit of trouble with the buttercream though. I used some other salt salt instead of seasalt (my mistake!) and the buttercream was way too salty. I ended up having to scrape it off the cake and make it again. My second try I also lowered the salt a touch.

    Also, Sam really does mean it when she says the buttercream needs to sit overnight. The color change is freaking magic!

  10. 5 stars
    Excellent cake. It was a perfectly salty, sweet, flavorful cake – I’ve made it three times now, one of my faves.

  11. Hi. I was curious about the * next to the blueberry puree and the first sighting of blueberry powder. I didnt know if something was supposed to follow them in a note or something. Also I love your plates and was wondering where I could get some. Will be making this in a few weeks as the little loves blueberries

  12. I was wondering how you dealt with the blueberry powder? I blended mine up and found that all the seeds just fell through the sifter. I tried two different sifters, a strainer, and cheesecloth and none of them worked. Eventually I used my grease splatter screen and that did the trick. After about 5 minutes of being out, the blueberries absorbed the moisture in the air and started clumping together and became even more difficult to work with. Any tips?

    • Yeah that’s true about those freeze fried berries, they will clump if left out so it’s best to sift them right into the batter. To remove those seeds you need a very fine mesh sieve, sounds like the ones you used had large enough holes to fit the seeds through.

  13. I’m glad you didn’t add food coloring to the cake, and I think the way it ultimately came out is gorgeous. We’re predisposed to eating with our eyes, yes, but ultimately no amount of “eye candy” so to speak is going to rescue a subpar flavor. I’ve yet to make any of your recipes that weren’t exquisite – and maybe someday I’ll even conquer marshmallows. 🙂