Every year when I go to Jamaica I try to make it home with a bottle of Jamaican vanilla. This year I purchased two 16-ounce bottles but didn’t make it home with either one! For some reason I never consider vanilla to be a liquid that must fit in the airline’s 1 quart bag for liquids. It wouldn’t fit anyway because the bottle is too large. I made it through customs in Jamaica with the vanilla in my carry on bag but when I got to Customs in Atlanta that is where I ran into trouble. They took my precious vanilla.
All the other tourists were going through with their bottles of Jamaican rum. Why couldn’t I get through with vanilla? Somehow vanilla must be inside a checked bag- not carried on the plane. Customs sent me to the Delta counter and the Delta employee told me I could put the vanilla in a checked bag or mail the vanilla home. Our checked bag had already disappeared on some conveyor belt to the “Great Unknown.” When I tried to mail it the attendant said she didn’t have a box to mail it in! I had no choice but to give the vanilla away. Maybe next year I will actually make it home with a bottle!
Blueberry Layer Cake with Lime Curd Icing
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
1/2 cup blueberry yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set aside. Take 1 tablespoon of flour mixture and add to blueberries. Stir. Set aside. Combine yogurt, milk, vanilla and lemon extracts and lime zest. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes. The mixture will change color and become pale yellow and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture like this: 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 milk mixture, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 milk mixture and 1/3 flour mixture. Stir each addition just until combined.
Fold in blueberries by hand. Divide batter equally between 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
As soon as you take it out of the oven – run a knife around the pan.
Wait 10 minutes and invert on wire racks to cool completely (about one hour) before frosting.
Lime Curd Icing
1 and 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
zest of 1 lime
2 (16 ounce) boxes powdered sugar
1 tablespoons lime juice
10 ounces lime curd (I use Dickinson’s brand)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
pinch of iodized salt
4 to 6 drops green gel food coloring
with mixer on medium high speed cream butter and lime zest for 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add 1 box powdered sugar. Add lime curd and mix until combined. Gradually mix in other box of powdered sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium high speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until fluffy. (Start with 2 drops food coloring then add more to get desired color.)
To assemble: Place 1st cake layer on serving plate bottom side up. Spread 1/5th of icing on top. Place 2nd cake layer bottom side up. Spread 1/5th of icing on top. Place 3rd cake layer bottom side up. Spread a thin layer of icing on top and sides of cake to make a crumb coat. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes to harden. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining icing. Store in refrigerator.
To serve: Slice cake cold then bring to room temperature before serving.
Published in The News and Neighbor on August 6, 2014