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. To the butter mixture, add the 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 cup unsalted butter, softened
zest of 1 lime
5 to 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup lime curd
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
pinch of table salt
2 to 3 drops green gel food coloring
Cream butter and lime zest on medium high speed of stand mixer for 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. After powdered sugar is added mix for 2 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium high speed for 3 to 4 minutes or until very fluffy.Start with 2 drops food coloring then add more to get the color you want.
Filling: 1 and 2/3 cups lime curd
To assemble: Place 1st cake layer on serving plate. Make a 1-inch dam with icing around the edge of the cake layer and fill center with half of lime curd. Top with second cake layer top side up. Repeat icing dam and remaining half of lime curd. Top with third cake layer top side down. Spread a thin layer of icing on top and sides of cake (crumb coat). Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes then frost top and sides of cake with remaining icing. Store cake in refrigerator. To serve cake- Slice cake while cold then bring to room temperature before serving. Enjoy Friends!
Published in The News and Neighbor on August 6, 2014