happy berry to you – ‘american pie’ cake

by hungryrabbit on June 29, 2012

'American Pie' Cake

Last week, rainbows—this week, only three colors.

Every year I think about not making a patriotic-hued dessert for Independence Day, but those three colors really do work well together. I love the colors, especially the blue.

Navy, royal, midnight blue are my favorite variations. While black is a great go-to color for playing dress up, a dark blue shirt in the right fabric adds depth and dimension. It’s easy to pick out a blue outfit—when it comes to food, however, the challenge is bigger.

In the last post, Rainbow Cubes blushed with multiple pigments with the help of food coloring. If I could achieve that palette without it, I would have, but Mother Nature has her own palette and interpretation.

With berries bursting at the markets this time of the year, who am I not to use them for a celebratory purpose? Raspberry and blueberry offer unique sweetness, while layers of sweet berries are balanced by the bright flavor of lemon in the mousse.

Pies are very American but cakes seems more apropo for celebration; so it’s obvious that I should married the two for the birthday of America. Having said that, if you are short on time, you can forego the pie crust and layer the berries and mousse into a trifle. Think of it as a firecracker instead of fireworks.

‘American Pie’ Cake

recipe by hungry rabbit
yield: one 6-inch cake

Note: You’ll need a total of  3 cups each of fresh raspberries and blueberries for the entire recipe.

Pie Crust

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6-1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vodka, cold
2 tablespoons cold water


1. Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle positions and heat oven to 375℉. Roll refrigerated disc of dough on lightly floured work surface to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to a 7-inch (2-inch high) ring on a silpat lined baking sheet. Ease dough into pan by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Allow excess to drape over edge. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

4. Remove prepared crust from freezer, press parchment inside dough shell; evenly distribute ceramic pie weights over parchment. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights, continue baking until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

5. Using a sharp pairing knife, carefully trim around the edge of the ring to get a clean top edge. Set aside.

Blueberry Layer


1 cup, plus 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, separated
2 tablespoons water
1-1/2 tablespoons powdered pectin (Sure-Jell)
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt


1. Cook 1 cup of  berries and water in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to give up their juice, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and salt and return to full boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

2. Gently fold in remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries into puree. Spread fruit mixture evenly over bottom of pie shell and set aside.

Creamy Lemon Mousse


Lemon Curd
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Lemon Mousse
1-1/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
12 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces and softened
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)


Lemon Curd (you will only need a portion of this to make the mousse)
1. Whisk egg, egg yolk, sugar, and salt together in small saucepan. Add lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and pudding-like, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and heavy cream. Press through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. (You will not use all the curd for this recipe)

Lemon Mousse
1. Combine lemon juice and gelatin in small bowl and let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave until mixture is bubbling around edges and gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds. Set aside.

2. Add cream cheese, sugar, and salt  to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. With machine running, slowly add cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture, limoncello (if use) and 1/2 cup of curd, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.

3. Spread 1 cup of mousse over blueberry layer, smooth with off-set spatula. Refrigerated both cake and remaining mousse until needed.

Raspberry Layer


9 ounces frozen raspberries (1-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons powdered pectin (Sure-Jell)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1-1/2 cup fresh raspberries


1. Cook frozen berries in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to give up their juice, about 3 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and salt and return to full boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much puree as possible. Gently fold fresh raspberries into remaining puree.

2. Remove cake from refrigerator and spread raspberry mixture over the mousse layer. Smooth with off-set spatula. It should level with the top edge of the crust.



24 fresh raspberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
24 fresh blueberries (about 1-1/2 cups)
Reserved lemon mousse


1. Stir lemon mousse to get a smooth consistency. Place mousse into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.

2. Place raspberries and blueberries in rows with lemon mousse piped in between. (See photos)

3. With a large metal spatula, lift cake and place it on cake stand or a serving platter; lift ring gentle and serve.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food June 29, 2012 at 8:57 am


So incredibly festive, but, more importantly, this looks so freakin’ delicious! Hope you and M have a lovely 4th!


Barbara | Creative Culinary June 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

Well, it’s gorgeous but I expect nothing less from you. But you got me with the lemon mousse…what a great combination Ken. Happy Fourth to you!

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen June 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

Love this one! Just when I ran out of ideas for the 4th of July, here you are with something brilliant! Thanks for sharing, Ken!

Wendy Read June 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Just beautiful Ken.

sara June 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm

This looks fantastic!! :) Perfect for the 4th, so cute!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm

This is so pretty! You always amaze me. Unreal!

Georgie June 29, 2012 at 6:06 pm

WOW! It’s just stunning and beautiful and very delicious looking.

Gina June 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm

My goodness!!!!!
You´re killing us!!!
This is so Amazing. Have a happy 4th.

Cathy @ Noble Pig June 30, 2012 at 8:49 am

This is a stunning, patriotic dessert. Love the lemon mousse addition as well.

Lisa D (@This Little Piggy Went to The Farmers Market) June 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

Beautiful, as always! Happy 4th!

Sasha @ The Procrastobaker June 30, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Oh my goodness this is so stunning! Lovely idea and im sure its utterly divine :)

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious July 1, 2012 at 12:30 am

Awww, this is so insanely cute!!!

DB-The Foodie Stuntman July 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Judging by the title, I wasn’t sure if you were referring to the patriotic holiday or the movie. HA! Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

Amy @ fragrantvanillacake July 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

This is so beautiful! I love the idea of marrying a pie and a cake, especially when all of these flavorful berries are involved! The lemon curd is also a wonderful addition, I would love a large slice!

Mei-i @ gastronomic nomad July 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I love that you used vodka in your crust. Great idea! Beautiful cake and congrats on top 9!

Jenny July 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm

WOW! WOW! WOW! Happy Fourth of July.

Amanda July 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm

My husband and I have decided that the best part about making this dessert was doing shots out of the pastry bag of the leftover mousse with the leftover strawberries and blueberries. I’m thinking a vanilla wafer crust would be just as good on this and would be a little simpler too. I’ll have to give this one a go next year again and try it out. Thanks for a great/creative recipe.

Winnie July 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

Holy cow. I love this pie cake esp. since it’s made with SO many gorgeous berries!!!!!!!!!

Javelin Warrior July 6, 2012 at 12:09 am

On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday. This cake were recommended to me by Kelli from Relative Taste blog – and I’m so glad she pointed me in your direction. I’m featuring this post as part of today’s roundup (with a link-back and attribution) and I hope you have no objections. It’s always fun to be following along with your creations…

Katie July 9, 2012 at 10:03 am

Anything with six cups of fresh berries is something that I love. What a great Fourth of July cake!

brighteyedbaker July 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I love how you made this a pie cake, rather than forgo the pie crust. One of my favorite parts of pie is the crust, and making it in cake form gives it a really nice presentation. All the fruit in the inside looks delicious as well. Very patriotic!

Dorothy June 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

Hi, I really have to try this recipe.
The pictures only are so mouth watering!
thanks !

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