It’s official ~ today is the first day of Spring ~ well, maybe not quite the first day of Spring but it is the first day of the It’s a Spring Thing Blog Hop and Linky Party.  It’s time to start thinking about Spring and Easter and together with 13 other bloggers we are going to get you ready with recipes, crafts, decor and more! Check out this list of fabulous bloggers/blogs: Jennifer from Dear Lillie {lovely tablescape!}, Kristin from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia {super cute Spring sign made from scrapwood}, Kristin from Simply Klassic Home {simply elegant and easy DIY Centerpiece}, Heather from At the Picket Fence {Bird’s Nest Coconut Cupcakes in Mason Jars}, Shannon from Fox Hollow Cottage {Spring at the Cottage ~ Nicole Miller Inspired Mantel}, Debbie from Debbiedoo’s {spring and summertime crafting projects}, Heather from Setting for Four {lovely spring mantel}, Angelina from JoJo & Eloise {spring chevron tote bag}, Vanessa from At the Picket Fence {Spring Centerpiece and Mantel Decor}, Maryann from Domestically Speaking {spring wreath with blues and greens}, KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms {tea-stained eggs}, Courtney from French Country Cottage {decorating with spring blossoms}, and Jennifer  from Jennifer Rizzo {delightful spring display and an edible chocolate basket} ~ we’ll each have a Spring or Easter inspired post everyday so be sure to follow along and on March 18th we’ll all be hosting one HUGE It’s a Spring Thing Linky Party where you can link up your spring and Easter posts.  We’ve already pinned some great Easter and Spring inspiration to the It’s a Spring Thing pinterest board and once the party starts we’ll be adding some of our favorite links to the board.

I’m kicking off the party with a Thee-Layer Lemon and Blueberry Butter Cake using fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest and fresh blueberries ~ the perfect dessert for Easter dinner and Spring get togethers. Three-Layer Lemon Blueberry Butter Cake {adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes}

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1½ tsp lemon extract ~ I used Lorann Lemon Bakery Emulsion which retains a robust flavor when baked
  • 7 egg whites
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper. In a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract {or emulsion} until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites 2 or 3 at a time, beating well between additions and stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk gently to blend. In 2 or 3 alternating additions, beat the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute to aerate the batter. Reserve 1 cup of the batter in a small bowl. Divide the remaining batter equally among the 3 prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. This gives you a smooth surface to work with. Add 2½ tbsp of the lemon blueberry jam {recipe below} to the reserved batter and blend well. Drizzle heaping teaspoons of this blueberry mixture over the batter in the pans. Use a skewer to swirl the blueberry mixture in short strokes to drag it down through the lemon batter without mixing it in. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer stuck in the center comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, peeling off the paper and leaving to cool completely. Blueberry Lemon Jam

  • 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp grated lemon zest

Puree the blueberries with any juices that have exuded in a blender. Pass the puree through a coarse strainer to remove the skins. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the blueberry puree with the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat, stirring often for 20 minutes, or until the preserves have thickened and are reduced to 1 cup. To check the proper thickness place a small amount on a saucer and put in the freezer until cold. Drag your finger through it. If a clear path is made through the preserve then it is ready. Let the preserves cool before using. (Can be made up to 5 days in advance). Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238° F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat. In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs briefly. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, pouring it down the sides of the bowl; be careful to avoid hitting the beaters or the syrup may splatter. When all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is very fluffy and cooled to body temperature. This can take 15-20 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the softened butter 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions. After adding the second set of two tablespoons of butter the mixture appeared to break down {I panicked a bit} but with a bit more beating it fluffed right back up. Beat in the lemon juice and zest, and the frosting is ready to use. To assemble the cake, place a layer, flat side up, on a cake stand. Spread half of the lemon blueberry jam over the top. Place a second layer on top of the first and spread the remaining jam over it. Finally place the third layer on top and frost the top and sides with the lemon buttercream. Decorate with fresh blueberries and serve. Linking to:  It’s Party Time, Live Laugh Rowe, Yesterday on Tuesday, Free Pretty Things for You, The Hopeless Housewife, Beyond the Picket Fence, House of Hepworths, French Country Cottage, Craftberry Bush, The Frugal Girls, Tidy Mom, One Project Closer, Shaken Together Life, The Home Girl, Tatertots and Jello, Power of Pinterest, Your Homebased Mom, Chef’s Day Off, Will Cook for Smiles, Flamingo Toes, Monday Funday, House Stories A to Z, The Taylor House