Red apple spice cake + fluffy whipped cream + fresh blueberries = my salute to the red, white and blue.
What could be more American than apple pie. How about taking all the warm baking spices and juicy apples from a pie, lightening them up into a mini cake, then sandwiching it with fresh blueberry cream? Now that’s a dessert that spells Americana and can be the star of your table this Fourth Of July holiday. Did you know that blueberries are thought to have been around for over 13,000 years and are indigenous to North America? Native Americans called them “star berries” because the blossom end of each berry forms a perfect 5-pointed star. So what better way to honor our country and its homegrown fruits than with Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream.
I wanted to create a dessert featuring the ingredients we typically associate with Fourth of July—but, with a twist. Everyone tends to make an apple pie for the Fourth right? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some good apple pie. But when I saw these cute little gingham baking cups at the store…and then some delicious looking blueberries…well, the idea hit me to borrow all the traditional holiday flavors, but use them in a slightly different way.
You can make the cake (and whip the cream) the night before the big cookout, then easily add in the fresh blueberries to the cream and fill the mini cakes the morning of. Just before serving, top with a small dollop of cream and garnish with a couple of blueberries. Oh, and some patriotic sprinkles for good measure. Sprinkles are always welcome on desserts….at least I think so! Also, this is not fancy dessert and is meant to be rustic— so the cutting of the cake and piping of the cream doesn’t have to be perfect. These should be low-fuss and something your family and friends will enjoy tucking into at a barbeque or summer picnic. There you have it. A light, summery, sweet bite that pays tribute to this great nation on its special day. Happy Fourth of July everyone!
Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream
yields 18 mini cakes | Apple Spice Mini Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Cream PDF
Apple Spice Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water
3 apples, cored and finely chopped ( I used two Honey Crisp and one Granny Smith)
Fresh Blueberry Cream
1 cup heavy whipped cream, chilled
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries, chilled + extra for garnish
patriotic sprinkles (optional, but c’mon, why wouldn’t you?)
For Apple Spice Cake:
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch high pan. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, spices, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla bean paste, continue mixing until well-incorporated. In a separate small pinch bowl, mix baking soda and warm water until smooth and no lumps. Add to butter/sugar mixture and continue to mix on low speed. Blend in flour mixture just until all the flour has been incorporated. Remove bowl from machine and by hand with a spoon or spatula, add in the apples until well blended. Batter should be thick but still have air in it. Pour batter into prepared pan. You may have extra batter (like I did) so spoon it into a 6 slot muffin tin–snack on those later! Bake at 375F for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove cake from pan. Set aside.
For Fresh Blueberry Cream:
Place fresh berries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to firm up, not become frozen. In a medium size chilled bowl, whip heavy cream until soft peaks. Add in confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until cream is firm. Using a sharp knife, chop chilled blueberries into halves or quarters. It’s super important to start with ice cold berries, otherwise you’ll have a juicy mess. *See note below on fresh versus frozen berries. Gently fold chopped berries into cream just until you see the cream begin to streak the blueberries. You’re going for a swirled look here.
Move cake to wooden board. With a biscuit or cookie cutter cut out desired shape. I used a 2-inch round cutter which was slightly smaller than my presentation cup. But you could totally skip the baking cups and use a star cutter or any other shape. Get creative! With a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally so that you have a top and a bottom. Put bottom piece into presentation cup and pipe or spoon blueberry cream onto bottom layer, then pop top layer back on. Use a smaller star tip or spoon to decorate top with more blueberry cream. Add a garnish of blueberries and sprinkles. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Notes: Although you’re going to chill the berries in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before chopping them, it’s not recommended to use frozen (packaged) berries. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but you need fresh berries for this recipe. Frozen ones contain too much water and will ooze juice into the cream. The fresh berries, once firm, will hold their shape (and liquid) just enough to swirl the cream. Plus there’s nothing like the taste of fresh blueberries!