In our recent travels in Maine and Canada’s Maritime Provinces we were greeted by larger-than-life reminders of one of their common popular products.
It’s blueberry season here, too, and what is in the markets is not only very tasty but often quite reasonably priced. We have them frequently in a first-course fruit salad and at least a few times during the summer in a terrific sour cream cake.
This recipe, adapted from Tish Boyle’s THE CAKE BOOK, was recommended by a member of my Bay Area Bakers Dozen group and has been a favorite in our house from the first time I made it. The cake will keep reasonably crunchy on top if stored 2 days at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days (not so crunchy as time passes) or it can be frozen. Bring to room temperature before serving. Great for almost any time of day! Serves 9 or 10 from a 10″ round cake and at least 9 from a 9″ square pan.
1 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/3 C firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
7 TBSP (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C fresh blueberries
1 C sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 TBSP (5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
2 large or extra-large eggs
MAKE THE TOPPING: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the melted butter and mix with a fork, stirring until the butter is absorbed and the dry ingredients are uniformly moistened. Set aside.
MAKE THE CAKE: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 °. Butter (or spray) and flour the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round springform baking pan or one with removable bottom and place a parchment round on the bottom of the pan. You can also use a 9-inch square pan, greased and floured.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended; set aside. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1TBSP of the flour mixture to coat the berries; set aside. (Don’t worry if there’s flour in the bottom of the blueberry bowl; it will get blended in eventually.) In another small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the vanilla extract; set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer beat together the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. At lowest speed, beat in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions.
Fold in the blueberries by hand using a flexible spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top—with an offset spatula if you have one.
Distribute the crumb topping evenly over the batter, breaking up any large lumps with your fingers. (It’s easier to start at the perimeter of the pan and move inward.)
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched, about 45 minutes (start checking at 35 minutes). Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Release the sides of the pan or push the cake up and out as illustrated . Slide a long thin knife blade between the round cake and the parchment to separate them and transfer the cake to a serving platter. (You can use a special tool for this or just the end of a rimless cookie sheet.) A square cake can be cooled on a rack, cut into nine squares and served from the pan. The cake is lovely as is, but you can gild the lily with confectioners’ sugar and fresh berries or serve with ice cream (red,while and blue for the 4th of July!).
Click here for a wonderful aid to prolonging the life of berries in your fridge. It’s an article from the New York Times column of food scientist Harold McGee. I have found it very useful–especially when there’s a sale and large quantities of berries are begging to be bought!