I’ve been overdosing on blueberries lately. It all started while I was in London and walked by a fruit vendor on a corner selling crates of blueberries for the equivalent of $4 U.S. I hit the mother lode, so how could I resist? The vendor dumped the blueberries out of the crate into a plastic shopping bag, and it was heavy – nearly the same weight as my one-month old granddaughter that I’d been visiting. On my 20 minute walk home, I had to continually shift the bag from my left hand to my right to keep my shoulder from hurting.
At a certain point, I cradled the bag of blueberries in my arms, which wouldn’t have been so bad except I was wearing a stark white shirt. You know where this is going. Fast forward to a spray I found in my daughter’s laundry room that miraculously took out the blueberry stains and returned my shirt to its virgin glory. I later found out later however, that it was bathroom cleaner with bleach, not a spot remover for clothes! Well, at least now I have another tool in my arsenal for removing stains.
But I digress — back to blueberries. I used them all up (finally) to bake three blueberry cakes, two pies and a dozen and a half muffins. The first cake I made was Ottolenghi’s well-known and delicious blueberry almond and lemon cake, which I’ve made many times and the recipe is here. I wanted to try a different recipe for the second go-round, and decided on a lemon blueberry pound cake from Once Upon a Cake. I made it, but substituted one cup almond flour for half the regular flour. It was good but it didn’t rise enough to create the attractive domed center that I was looking for. Moreover, after we each had eaten a slice of the cake, Trevor the cat found it on the kitchen counter and helped himself to a big chunk, causing us to toss the remaining cake, and wreaking havoc in Trevor’s “plumbing.”
When I got back home to the U.S., I decided to bake Once Upon A Cake’s recipe a second time, but this time exactly as it was written, eliminating the almond flour. The result was a perfectly domed center and a delicious pound cake.
I saved a few of the blueberries to cook down and tint the glaze, but you could keep the glaze white, or eliminate it entirely, dusting the top with only a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
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- ½ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not defrost)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¼ cups gramulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- FOR THE GLAZE:
- about six blueberries
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- freshly squeezed lemon juice, (about ½ lemon, or as much as needed to get the right consistency)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Adjust an oven rack to middle position.
- Butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, shaking out excess flour.
- (Or butter the pan and line with parchment paper, then spray with nonstick spray)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Let it sit for at least 10 minutes while you proceed with the recipe.
- It will curdle, but that's fine.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remainign teaspoon of flour.
- Set both aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk mixture.
- Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Add the flour-dusted blueberries to the batter and, using a spatula, fold until evenly combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- When the cake is cool, transfer to a serving platter.
- Make the glaze by cooking the six blueberries with the water, pressing down on the blueberries to release the color, and cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Strain the blueberries, retaining the liquid and tossing the squashed blueberries.
- Mix the liquid with the confectioner's sugar, adding lemon juice if it's too thick.
- It should be very thick, almost the consistency of molasses.
- Spread the glaze over the cake, allowing some to drip down the sides.