Okay, so mid-November ’tis not the season for blueberries and lemon buttercream, but Scott’s mom recently found this recipe and passed it on to me. I couldn’t resist trying it out as soon as possible.
The occasion? Birthdays, of course. There were a few birthdays among our friends, and our favorite almost one-year-old is on that list. I’m saving him an actual piece of cake for his actual birthday. In the meantime, I discovered that while he’s okay with lemon buttercream icing, he’s absolutely in love with blueberries. Love our kid. I can’t get enough icing and just like blueberries. He has his life in order.
Oh, and there’s zucchini in the cake. I didn’t actually taste it, but you can feel good about having at least 1/10 of a zucchini in your cake, right? This stuff was delicious. It was essentially one of the best blueberry muffins I’ve ever had topped with light but flavorful buttercream icing. As a huge fan of lemon, it was pretty dreamy.
Blueberry (Zucchini) Cake with Lemon Buttercream Icing
- 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pint fresh blueberries (save a few for the top, and this is about 2 cups if your blueberries don’t come in pint-sized containers)
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large lemon, juice and zest (about 2 tablespoons of juice, also save some of the zest for the top)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (or 9-inch or use cooking spray–do what you normally do here… I used butter and a paper towel to get a thin layer of coverage on each pan).
Grate zucchini (one large or two small should get you to 2 cups–used the small part of a box grater) and place in a clean dish towel. Squeeze until most of the liquid is out of the zucchini. Set aside the 2 cups of zucchini after they have been drained.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Hand-mixer works well here, but go with what you’ve got–spoon or stand mixer would be okay, too. Fold in the zucchini.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in another bowl and stir to combine. Then slowly add those dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide cake batter evenly between cake pans.
Bake 35-40 minutes in preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean (blueberry stains permitted). Cool 20 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. If you need to hurry that process along, a few minutes on the wire rack in the freezer will do the trick (said the person who never allows for cooling time before the cake needs to be done).
For the buttercream, combine butter, sugar and salt and beat until combined. Add lemon juice and vanilla and beat for 3-5 additional minutes or until creamy (maybe even a tiny bit fluffy). Fold in the lemon zest except for the zest reserved for the top. Frost the cake as you please (d0llop on the bottom to hold it in place, then between the layers, then top and sides). I thought there wasn’t quite enough icing when I was putting this together. You definitely have to ration the icing. BUT when I was eating it, I realized that the buttercream is fairly sweet, so if there was more icing, it would be too much. So trust the recipe even if you have a tiny bit of cake showing through your icing. It tastes just right.
Top with blueberries and lemon zest, and then eat some cake!