Mascarpone is a triple-crème cheese - whatever that means, it sounds gorgeous. And so is the cake with mascarpone in the batter and blueberries bleeding purple tang into the loaf.
Mascarpone is usually a frosting
Think mascarpone cake: that usually means a cake with mascarpone filling. It is gorgeous too: you can just use it as it is only a little sweetened and flavoured with fruit puree, chocolate or vanilla. It will be quite thick.
For lighter, but not less rich frosting, you can whip mascarpone with double cream in 3:2 proportion.
We cannot fail to mention tiramisu here: this time mascarpone is whipped with egg yolks and sugar, and folded into beaten egg whites. That's the cream which covers sponge fingers soaked in strong coffee.
Baking with mascarpone
Contrary to expectations, mascarpone is not usually used to make cheesecake, unless it is a no-bake version of the dessert. It is because it is actually TOO heavy and rich and for that purpose, cream cheese or ricotta serve better.
This is no cheesecake then - mascarpone isn't the bulk of the cake batter. It's the dairy ingredient which makes for the tenderest, loveliest crumb.
It is really a variety of yoghurt cake with mascarpone replacing the yoghurt. I’ve found that cakes are pretty tolerant in terms of what kind of dairy should be used.
Dairy products in cakes can be swapped
If your recipe calls for buttermilk, you can use yoghurt with impunity if you’re clean out of buttermilk. And the other way round naturally, or use a mix. I’ve at times scraped pots clean of whatever I had in the fridge: yoghurt, buttermilk, soured cream and even crème fraiche, to put in my cake batter.
It does of course change the taste subtly but you’d have to have the two cakes side by side and have a forkful of each to be able to precisely describe the differences.
Generally buttermilk gives a lighter crumb. Crème fraiche is rich and has to be diluted with milk, so does soured cream if it is very thick.
Yoghurt is neutral - but beware of the low fat varieties. I personally never ever use them since they are packed with extra sugar and salt on account of not sufficient fat content. The same applies to everything else that carries that pointless label.
My mascarpone cake
It's a quick and easy cake to make: beat the wet ingredients until smooth, then fold in the flour with raising agents. I like to stir half the blueberries into the batter and to scatter the rest on top in the tin, for more even fruit distribution. And because it looks so gorgeous when the blueberries are peeking through the golden, sugary crust.
Mascarpone with blueberries are two of my most favourite dessert ingredients. Frankly, I could have mascarpone and blueberries without the sugar, eggs and all, and without the mixing or baking… but that would be a completely different story.