Mascarpone Cakes with Blueberry Syrup (and a Toddler’s Hair Caked with Same)

17 Sep

Week one is in the books. We kicked things off with mascarpone cakes topped with blueberry syrup. The boy and I even wore pants for the occasion, which is most atypical for a Saturday.


Planning: My greatest challenge early on had to do with proper pronunciation of “mascarpone” so I could appropriately ask where to find it when I failed to locate it in the store, which I was sure would happen. I also had to learn how to zest a lemon, which is much harder than ordering a lemon zest in my drink , which had been the extent of my lemon zest knowledge before my cakes. It’s harder, that is, unless you have an actual zester, which apparently we do. Who knew!

Gathering: I couldn’t find mascarpone in the store, but due to the work I put in to pronouncing it, I was able to confidently seek help from my friendly New Pioneer staff. Sourcing my ingredients locally was a bit of a challenge as well. I am past blueberry season in Iowa, so had to settle for the best of the frozen options. I’m unaware of any lemon groves here in-state, so I had to make do with imports there, too. I did score some Wisconsin mascarpone, which was excellent. The rest was the best of what I could find.

Execution: No wrinkles, except I did realize cooking the cakes a little lower and slower than normal was good given their density. I kept the griddle around 350. Also, unlike with thinner batter, I learned not to wait for many bubbles before flipping. As soon as I saw one, it was time to flip.

Results: Great cakes, decadent syrup. In fact, the syrup may be a bit too decadent for some. My wife found it a bit sweet. I loved it, but I also consume 1,000 calories worth of boxed candy at movies. It was all a bit much for the boy’s palette, but he liked the couple of bites he had.

Crossover Potential: I cannot imagine how amazing the syrup would be over ice cream. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t have visions of a bacon sandwich with two of the cakes as bread. Also, I am not above mashing the cakes and syrup together (toddler style!) and eating it as a bowl of ridiculous food therapy some Sunday. Just sayin’.

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the unbelievable smell that filled the kitchen while the syrup simmered and the cakes browned. I think I inhaled a few hundred calories just in the preparation period alone.

I added what I chose for the ingredients purchased, where appropriate. Alter as you see fit.

The cakes recipe:

  • 2 cups flour (organic all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup sugar (organic pure cane)
  • Pinch of salt (sea salt)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (brown, free-range)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (cultured organic)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup mascarpone, lightly whisked by fork
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (organic)
  • Optional: Zest of 1 lemon (organic)
  • Optional: 1 tsp. orange peel
  • Butter on reserve for griddle surface
  1. Preheat oven to ~175
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
  3. Add buttermilk, eggs, butter, mascarpone, vanilla, and lemon zest
  4. Stir with wooden spoon, or something that will allow you to combine, but not “over-mix”
  5. Preheat griddle to 350 (or medium heat if using the stove top) and brush with enough butter to coat, more if you’re feeling sassy
  6. Use measuring cup to scoop batter onto griddle (1/3 or 1/4 cups work well–same size will ensure even cook times for all your cakes)
  7. Watch the first cake(s) you put on your cooking surface for bubbling–when those start to appear, flip gently until both sides are golden
  8. Depending on the number of cakes you’re preparing, use your preheated oven to keep your first batch(es) warm as you prepare the rest
And the syrup recipe:
  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen organic)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of about half of your lemon
  1. Combine ingredients in an appropriately sized saucepan and allow to boil
  2. Reduce to a simmer, and use a potato masher to crush blueberries to your desired chunkiness
  3. Let simmer until the mixture starts to look, well, syrupy–when it coats a utensil the way a syrup should, you know you’re getting to the right consistency (ROUGHLY 10-15 minutes all together for your cook time)

Note: You can add more water to syrup that has thickened too much, but you cannot un-scorch scorched sugar–tread lightly with you heat! The best things take time and vigilance. Cakes recipe culled from


4 Responses to “Mascarpone Cakes with Blueberry Syrup (and a Toddler’s Hair Caked with Same)”

  1. Mom September 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Hmmmm…I bought you that zester. You’re making me smell “virtual” smells..and making me hungry.

  2. Amber Cummer September 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Overall I rate this round a B. Very much enjoyed these – truly tasted like actual cake. Kind of sweet for breakfast but that didn’t stop me from inhaling my fair share. What’s next?

  3. Susan September 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    I am so excited!! One of my favorite blog writers and food all in the same place?! Heaven!! PS. When I left in June the only place in Iowa City that carried mascarpone was the HyVee in Coralville and it was prohibitively expensive!! Since I used it in my cheesecakes (which I hope you tried at least once while we were both at Penn) I special ordered it from the Hawkeye Foods Outlet Store. So excited for this blog!!

    • The Griddler September 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm #


      I found two lonely containers of mascarpone at New Pioneer in Iowa City. It was $4 for an 8 oz. container. Not cheap, but not as expensive as I thought it would be. And yes, I remember your cheesecakes well! And now I’m hungry for one…thanks for that.

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