Monday, July 30, 2012

What's Baking? July: Summer Fruits

This month's What's Baking? theme of "Summer Fruits" was chosen by Jaida of Sweet Beginnings. This was perfect for me because one of my favorite summer activities is picking fruit from Tougas Farm in Northboro! I was very eager to get over there on July 6th, as soon as I was back from traveling. I hadn't picked blueberries at Tougas before, only because of the timing in previous years, and I forgot how slow-going it is- I picked by myself and it took me 1.5hrs to get 8.5lbs. I really wanted 15lbs (bulk discount on 15+lbs) but by 8.5lbs I was DONE. Fortunately, I've been able to stretch these berries all month, and will use the last of them tonight in my 4th (or 5th?) batch of blueberry corn salad- our favorite new recipe of the summer.

I picked these blueberries on Thursday, and on Friday we had a seriously blueberry-themed dinner. When I asked Clint what he wanted, he said blueberry cake (not pie? no, cake. That was ok, since it was hot and I was pretty sure pie crust would not cooperate anyway.) and how about blueberry bellinis? I'd never have thought of bellinis. Now we are down to only 2 bottles of wedding prosecco left (September is our 3rd anniversary, so maybe by then we'll finish it all off!)

Blueberry Bellinis, from The Cookin' Canuck
(they look a little weird, from the floating/oxidation of the blueberry puree, but boy are they tasty!)

 Here's our dinner for the evening, which has been repeated endlessly- I'd say ad nauseam, but each repetition is just as/more delicious than the last! Baked onion rings, mustard and sage turkey burgers, and corn and blueberry salad. Stay tuned for those recipes.

But the cake is really want you bakers want to see! I found this on tastespotting and of the cake recipes I found, I chose this for its simplicity.  It also seemed healthier than the other recipes I saw, it uses only one stick of butter (but then, it only makes one 9in round pan of cake, so it's about a normal amount of butter for a cake). It also looked a lot prettier than some of the other things!

And I seem to have chosen right, it's quite delicious. I made it the following weekend for a potluck picnic and it was *devoured*. It doesn't have a huge amount of sugar, so I didn't feel guilty having a piece for breakfast, either ;)

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
recipe from Kitchen Confidante

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup + 2T white sugar (original was 3/4 cup)
1 egg
1 cup flour (on my second batch I used 1/3 WW flour and 2/3 AP)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4t salt (I used a pinch, having made this 3 days after my doctor recommended a low-salt diet :( )
1/4t allspice (original recipe called for 1/8t cinnamon, but allspice is now my spice of choice when using blueberries)
1/2 cup buttermilk (seriously, don't bother buying is: 1/2 cup milk + 1/2T white or cider (depending on what you're baking) vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes before using)
1-1.5 cups of blueberries, divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter/flour (or Pam-spray and flour) a 9inch pie dish.

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and beat til fluffy, a few minutes. Whisk the dry ingredients and add in small batches to the butter/egg mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Finally, fold in half the blueberries gently, and transfer batter to the prepared baking dish. Drop the remaining blueberries on top.

Bake for 25-30min (more like 35-40 for me, my oven has issues (even though the thermometer says the temp is accurate!)), until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serve alone for breakfast, with whipped cream, ice cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar for dessert, double it and bake in a 9x13 (with enough batter leftover for a loaf pan) and cut into squares for a quick snack. The only thing I can't recommend is baking these in a muffin tin, because somehow that completely failed for me- no idea why.

But do you notice how quick the instructions are? The first night I made this, I turned the oven on, got all the ingredients out, made the batter, washed the berries, added them, got the batter into the pan, all before the oven was up to temp! This is the perfect weeknight dessert.

The cake itself is incredibly light and fluffy, and for some reason I'm used to cakes with fruit being heavier, like a pound cake (my mom's favorite blueberry cake is in a bundt pan and pound cake-like, but oh boy that's delicious, she's been making every summer that since Martha Stewart had it on in like 2001) or more like a gingerbread cake consistency. But this is the ideal cake for a hot summer day- and fortunately, I've been living on our screen porch just off the kitchen, so I'm perfectly happy to have the oven on! :)

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