Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blueberry Surprise Cake

So this was the last cake in the book, and it's a good one. We had it for Saturday breakfast, but it would make a really nice afternoon tea kind of cake as well.

As you can perhaps see, the "blueberry surprise" element here comes from the fact that you put in a layer of buttery sour cream cake, then a layer of spiced berries, and then more cake (now with nuts added). You don't see the berries until you cut into the cake.

 The cake is perhaps a bit time-consuming for a Saturday morning: the batter and all come together fairly quickly (though it involves turning on the mixer, which I don't love doing so early in the morning), but it needs about an hour in the oven. But then again, given that the rest of the family isn't up until at least an hour after me, that's probably fine.

 The cake then gets a lemon-y glaze. I considered leaving it off, since the cake was breakfast and all, but I think I made the right decision to go for it: the tart sweetness adds a nice extra dimension.

When I cut into the cake, I thought, "wow, that kind of looks like a Pop-Tart!" Given that I don't much like Pop-Tarts, I'm glad that it doesn't actually taste like one. It's a nice mix of buttery richness and fruity sweetness. It was a great cake to finish off a long succession of great cakes.

Here's the recipe.

Blueberry Surprise Cake

1 c. (4 oz.) fresh (I used frozen) blueberries
3 T. (I used 2) sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. lemon juice (attention: zest the lemon before you squeeze it; you're going to want that zest for the cake batter)

Mix all these ingredients in a smallish bowl and set aside.

1 c. (8 oz.) butter
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 t. vanilla
1-1/3 c. (9.3 oz.) sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. (8 oz.) sour cream
2 c. (8 oz.) sifted flour (yes, I used some whole wheat here)
1/3 c. (1.3 oz.) toasted chopped pecans

Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch springform and dust with breadcrumbs, wheat germ, or ground nuts (I used ground almonds). Cream the butter with the baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat a couple more minutes until even more light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the sour cream and then mix in the flour at low speed. Carefully spoon half the batter all around the bottom of the prepared springform pan and spread it out as best you can--I had trouble getting the batter all the way out to the edges and it wanted to come up off the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle on the berries, leaving a 1-inch margin at the edges. Add the pecans to the batter, stir them in, and then spoon the batter onto the berries, again gingerly spreading the batter as evenly as possible. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes (check after 45 minutes) or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. The toothpick won't work because of the berries in the middle.
Let the cake stand in the pan while you make the glaze:

1 c. (4 oz.) powdered (icing) sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
boiling water as needed

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon juice. If the glaze isn't thin enough to barely pour, add a few drops of boiling water. 
Cut around the sides of the cake if necessary and remove the sides of the springform pan. Turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the bottom. Then reverse again onto a plate so that the cake is right-side up. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and spread it to cover the top--let it drip down the sides if you have enough. Obviously I didn't use the full cup of sugar here.
Enjoy the cake warm or room temperature. If you're not having it for breakfast, whipped cream or ice cream would be nice, but they're definitely not necessary.

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