Friday 24 May 2013


Blue food is supposedly revolting. I remember hearing of an experiment where chicken was painted with blue food colouring. People who tried them found their taste off-putting and nothing like chicken at all.

I am a curious sort of person and, although I have never been good in science, I like doing experiments in my kitchen. The most popular post on this blog is the red velvet cake I like it so much and I believe that a good thing is worth repeating. Following the process of the red velvet cake recipe, I experimented on making a blue velvet cake: a velvet cake that's blue in both colour and flavour. 

The most logical ingredient to use is blueberries. I changed the liquid I used in the red velvet cake recipe (coffee) to blueberry puree; lemon juice and zest added a citrusy tang. I used thicker Greek yoghurt instead of buttermilk to compensate for the bigger amount of liquid. I decided to make three cake layers; more layers means more space for the frosting, my favourite part. 

The experiment was a success. The blue coloured cake was delicious! The cake tasted of blueberries with a background citrus flavour. The texture is exactly like the red velvet cake. The crumb was moist and tender, as it should. I used the same cream cheese frosting, simply swept into soft swirls and topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries and mint leaves. On the whole, it is unmistakably a velvet cake with a subtle fruity twist. Although called a velvet cake, it had more of a chenille look to it. I think I prefer this one better. Sorry red velvet fans, I'm switching to blue.

Ingredients for the cake layers:

2 c. of fresh blueberries
2 c. plain flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs 
3/4 c. Greek yoghurt
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. blue and 1/8 tsp. red food gel colouring 
2 T. lemon juice
rind of 1/2 lemon


Pre-heat the oven to 325° F/ 170° C.

Line the bottoms of three 9" diameter cake pans. Grease the sides.

Put the blueberries in a pan and add a tablespoon of water. Bring to a boil and stir. The skin of the berries will soften very soon after. Press with a spoon and if they can easily be popped, they are ready. Transfer to a blender (or use a hand blender) and pulse briefly. No need to make it smooth. It is nice to have bits of the dark skin on the batter.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

Mix the sugar and vegetable oil in another bowl. If using gel food colouring, add it in at this stage. Add in the eggs, yoghurt, vanilla, lemon rind and juice. Blend everything together. Add 1 cup of the blueberry puree (no need to cool it down) and blend again.

Use a large mixing bowl to combine all the ingredients together. Put about a quarter of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients gradually, alternating with the dry ingredients, mixing after each addition just until combined. 

Divide the mixture equally between the prepared pans. Weighing the pans is the easiest way to ensure that the quantities are equal.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or when a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake. 

Invert on cooling racks. When the pans are just warm, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes. Invert onto the cooling racks, peel the lining paper off and leave to cool completely.

Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting:

1 1/3 c. whipping cream 
2 c. cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar 
2 tbsps. skimmed milk powder
a few raspberries, blueberries and mint leaves for decoration


I used whipping cream here instead of double cream because that is more available everywhere else. Although it has a lesser fat content than double cream, it worked really well. I added skimmed powder to give it more stability.

If the weather is hot, chill your beaters and bowl before using.

Whip the cream until thick and fluffy. Do not over beat. Add in the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and milk powder. Whisk again until all combined.

Lay one cake layer on a cake plate. Tuck in strips of baking paper under the cake edges to keep the plate clean.

Use 1 c. of frosting to fill the bottom cake layer then top with the other cake layer. Repeat the layers. Use the rest of the frosting to ice the whole cake. Top with blueberries, raspberries and mint leaves for decoration.

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