Saturday, August 8, 2009

OOOOHHHHH Blueberries!!

I have had a wild hair to bake lately. All I want to do is bake bake bake. Don't ask me why because it's a zillion degrees outside and turning the oven on in my wee kitchen is like going to a sweat lodge. Never the less, I cant' fight the urge. So, I decided to whip up a most delicious cake when I cleaned up on a blueberry sale at my local market. Something crazy like 4 pints for $5. Nuts, right? Anyway, blueberry cake it is. So I decided to see what I had on hand to make this blueberry cake with... and the pickings were slim. I've been away a lot this summer and haven't really shopped for the regular pantry staples. But upon closer inspection to the fridge... I have buttermilk, flour, eggs, lemons, blueberries (did I mention that?), and sugar. So, I'll whip up a cake. You know buttermilk makes rockin' cakes. And since I always seem to make these grand things... my super always gets to benefit. Welp, here's the recipe.. and it's a recipe that I've modified a bit from Epicurious. They like to use orange zest, but I'm not a fan of orange flavoring, unless it's a Diet Sunkist, but that's a whole 'nother obsession of mine.... so, I use lemon zest - and a lot of it - and also a splash, yes, a splash, I didn't measure it but I'm guessing about a teaspoon(?), of pure lemon extract. Also, my idea of 2 cups of blueberries might be grand... I tend to add extra. And I obviously, use fresh. I have tried frozen, once. I found the cake to be just as delicious, but with an increased baking time. There's a few more adjustments simply because I didn't have enough of this or that. The end result? Lets say my super came knocking and begging me to make another...

One final note on baking time of this cake: I have a gas oven. I realize that gas can be a more moist heat than an electric oven and can make baking more difficult. Add to the fact that I live in South Florida where the humidity is treacherous, and you've got a real tricky situation on your hands. I read somewhere that if you put a pizza/bread stone in your oven, it helps keep the oven hot and a bit drier. Since I've added this, I have seen better results. Still, I am more of a person who feeeeellls when it's done. I just manage to know when it's finished. So, I hope you can bear with me and the baking time for this one!

Blueberry Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 heaping giant tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

*** Remember: if you use frozen blueberries,I've found it will increase your baking time. Fresh will not increase the time, but you still have to keep an eye on it!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 10 inch Bundt pan.

Mix together: flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl, then set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy and pale yellow. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla being careful to scrape all bits of lemon peel off the beater, they tend to stick. Next, mix in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Fold in blueberries gently. This batter will not be super thick, it's more like a yellow cake batter and a bit thinner. If you put frozen blueberries, the batter will get thick due to the cold berries.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes, to 1 hour 30 minutes for frozen berries. Watch your oven carefully, use that toothpick! When the cake starts to look golden-y, you are done!

Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack or plate and cool completely before putting in the refrigerator. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap to keep out any food odors.

Warning: If you make this cake for a group? Don't plan on having any left. This cake is great for brunch, for snacking and also, makes a great no-icing birthday cake! Or... if you're just hungry and have a lot of blueberries around....

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