Purple Daisy Cake from Jane Asher This is a wonderful cake recipe that our Daisy Garland Patron, Jane Asher has created to support Purple Day. Unfortunately, due to Coronavirus, and the potential difficulties in sourcing ingredients we are postponing the competition that was planned for a purple day cake extravaganza but we will look at supporting Purple Day later in the year. It seemed too easy and a bit of a cheat just to make a cake and add loads of purple food colour to it, so I decided to use some blueberries instead: they turn surprisingly purple once cooked, and used in this recipe make for a truly delicious, light and tangy cake that’s splodged attractively with dollops of purple berries. I’ve used a traditional vanilla buttercream between the layers, but you could add some purple colouring to that if you like – I’ve got nothing against food colour in principle, and it would certainly help to make the point. And if you can’t be bothered to make the blueberry syrup icing, then just use more of the coloured buttercream on the top as well. I happened to have some perfect daisy-shaped cutters in my kitchen,(mine come from my range at Home Bargains if you live near to one, or they’re easy to find on line), or you could always cut some out from a template if you or someone nearby is artistic. Enjoy the cake and keep supporting the wonderful Daisy Garland! Love Jane x Ingredients Makes a three tiered 20cm cake, to feed 12. For the cake: 250g softened butter 250g caster sugar 100g packed light brown soft sugar 4 large eggs 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract 350g self-raising flour (I used the extra-fine baking flour – worth it if you can find it) Pinch of salt (if you use unsalted butter) 250ml buttermilk Juice of 3 medium lemons plus zest from 2 300-400g fresh blueberries – I used the larger amount but it would still be good with less Extra flour for dusting For the vanilla buttercream: 300g butter, softened 500g sieved icing sugar 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract A little milk Purple food colour as necessary (see my introduction) (these quantities will fill the two layers: to use as a topping as well, add a third more of the ingredients before mixing) For the blueberry syrup icing: 200g blueberries 100ml water 100g granulated sugar 2 tbsps (30ml) cornflour 150g sieved icing sugar For the daisies: 100g (approx.) white roll out icing Purple food colour A little icing sugar for dusting Method Pre-heat the oven to 180C (160C fan assisted, gas mark 4). Grease and line with baking parchment 3 x 18-20cm cake tins (or bake in batches if you’ve only one or two…) Toss the blueberries in a little flour to coat them to help prevent them sinking in the cooked cake. Set aside. Break the eggs into a jug or small bowl, add the vanilla essence and lightly break them up with a fork. Using a handheld or stand mixer (or by hand if necessary) beat the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, little by little, beating well all the time. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder (and salt if necessary), then add them bit by bit into the butter/egg mixture, beating on low speed all the time. The batter should be very thick – don’t over mix it. Gently fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cake tins, and bake for 25-35 minutes until lightly browned, firm to the touch and a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean – it might take a little longer still, depending on the size of the tins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes in the tins (the cakes are quite delicate to the touch), before gently turning them out onto a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the icing daisies and the butter icing. Knead the roll out icing until soft and smooth.On a work surface lightly dusted with sieved icing sugar, roll out the icing thinly. Dip a daisy-shaped cutter in icing sugar and cut about 12 daisies in various sizes. Allow to dry for a few minutes, then gently paint the centres with watered-down food colour. Leave to dry completely. In a mixer or by hand, beat the softened butter until light and creamy, then add the icing sugar bit by bit, beating all the time, adding a little milk as you go to soften the mixture. Once all the icing sugar is added, continue beating until well mixed, pale and fluffy. Add purple colouring as necessary. Place one cake on a board, plate or cake stand and spread with butter icing. Add a second cake and repeat, then add the third cake. Either top with remaining butter icing or chill while you make the blueberry syrup icing: Wash the blueberries well, then put them into a heavy saucepan with the sugar and about ¾ of the water. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then turn up the heat and bring the mix to the boil, then turn down to a simmer. Mix the cornflour and water together with a fork until smooth, then slowly pour it into the syrup, stirring constantly, and allowing the mixture to simmer gently until thickened. Pass the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl and allow to cool a little. Take the chilled cake out of the fridge and place on a rack over baking parchment to catch any drips. Add the sieved icing sugar gradually to the blueberry syrup until the consistency is thick enough to pour over the cake without running off, then either drizzle it haphazardly or try to cover the top and sides, scooping up the drips as necessary. Add the daisies to the top and sides once the icing is beginning to set.