Inspired by a recipe from David Lebovitz. He made some lovely Apricot Jam. I just lessened the sugar and used some wild blackberries that I found while wandering around London.
- 1 pound (or so) fresh blackberries (found at Regent’s Park along the canal path)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) water
- 2 cups (i think – we have no measuring cup in our rental apartment) sugar
- Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Put a small plate in the freezer.
- Add the fruit (blackberries) cook, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens and reduces, stir frequently to make sure the jam isn’t burning on the bottom.
- When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: If the jam mounds and wrinkles, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, then re-test the jam until it reaches that consistency.
- Once done, ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.
Storage: I find this jam will keep up to one year if refrigerated. If you wish to can it for long-term preservation, you can refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines for techniques.
Today was Joe’s and my two year anniversary, and I wanted to mimic our wedding cake as a gift to Joe. I found this recipe on Gourmet.com that sounded just right. Of course, i had to improvise a little bit, as usual. It took nearly all day to make. I wanted to make sure that i did things right and gave the cake sufficient time to cool before decorating.
The cake was way too heavy. This is the second cake i have ever made in my life (the first being my father’s birthday cake back in April). I guess i should have known that pound cake was heavy. The texture of the pound cake was all wrong for this otherwise light and fruity flavored cake. If you couldn’t tell, this was nothing like my wedding cake.
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 C low-fat buttermilk
- 2 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 C cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 C sugar
- Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment or wax paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour and salt in another bowl.
- Beat together butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour and egg mixtures alternately in 3 batches, ending with egg mixture and mixing until just incorporated.
- Divide batter among pans, filling each one to 1 inch from top. Put 12-inch pan on upper rack and other pans on lower rack 20 minutes. Gently turn pans around and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out of each with a few crumbs adhering, 10 to 20 minutes more, depending on cake size. Transfer each one as done to a rack to cool.
- Cool layers slightly (12-inch layer for 20 minutes), then invert onto racks. Peel off paper, turn cakes right side up, and cool completely.
- Put each layer cut side up on a plate. Brush tops generously with syrup. Stir jam until smooth, then spread about 1/3 cup on one layer. Invert another layer (on plate) onto jam. Spread about 1 cups frosting on top of layer. Scatter a layer of blackberries over to cover frosting. (If berries are 1 inch or larger, first halve them lengthwise.) Slide the third 12-inch layer, syrup side up, onto berries (discard cardboard) and press down gently. Spread about 1/3 cup jam on layer and invert last 12-inch layer (on cardboard) onto jam, discard cardboard.
- Spoon 1 1/2 cups frosting onto top of 12-inch tier and cover cake with a thin coating.
- 1/2 C lemon juice
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/4 C water
- stir sugar into lemon juice until fully dissolved and add water.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 (8-ounce) packages neufchatel cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 box confectioners’ sugar
- mix cream cheese on medium speed in an electric mixer until soft.
- add butter and sugar (slowly) and mix on low speed until fully combined.
- keep refrigerated, pull it out of the fridge about 10 min. before applying to the cake to soften.