Okay, I think we’ve all noticed what’s going on here. I’ve tried to stop it, mix it up a little, resist the lure of butter and sugar and flour, but it’s not working.
I’m all about the baked goods.
Sure, I’m going to keep posting dinner options and other savory treats, but most of the time, if I’m in the kitchen, I’m whipping up something sweet. Like this cake. I made it for a writing group I’m in, and as I ate it at our meeting the next evening, I actually kind of thought “meh,” despite compliments from my fellow writers. (I thought maybe they were just being nice.) When I made this, I morphed two recipes to create a marginally healthier version, using Dorie’s cake batter and Simply in Season’s topping, which had far less butter in it. And as I was eating it, I thought “Man, this could really use more butter-crumb topping.”
But the next day, something magical happened. I brought a slice to work to eat after lunch, and that extra day must have given the cake some time to really integrate its flavors, because holy cow it was delicious. Moist (even moister than the night before, when it was younger) and crumbly and just oh-so-good. When I got home that evening, I found out Terwilliger had eaten the remaining two (giant) pieces. And if Terwilliger finishes something off, I know it’s gotta be good.
For the crumb topping:
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. flour
2 T. unsalted butter
1/3 C. chopped almonds
For the cake:
1 pint blueberries (preferably fresh, but unthawed if frozen)
2 C. plus 2 tsp. all-purpose flour, divided use
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 C. sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. buttermilk
To make the topping:
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and flour, and mix in the butter using your fingertips. Gently stir in the almonds, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8×8 inch pan. (I used Pyrex for this, but I suspect a metal pan would work fine.) In a small bowl, toss the fresh blueberries with the 2 tsp. flour. (If you are using frozen berries, skip this step.)
In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Place sugar in another mixing bowl. Using fingertips, rub lemon zest into the sugar until it is moist and fragrant. (And fragrant it will be! It smells so good!) Add butter and cream with sugar, mixing until the butter is very pale and the batter is light and fluffy. (About three minutes on the medium setting of an electric mixer.) Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Note: The batter might look a little curdled at this point, but no matter, it will smooth out soon.
Add dry ingredients and buttermilk in an alternating fashion, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until blended.
If you are using fresh blueberries, use a rubber spatula to gently fold them into the batter at this point, then smooth the batter in your prepared pan. Since I used frozen blueberries, which have a tendency to smear their pretty blue goodness all over everything, I first smoothed half the batter into the pan, tossed on the berries, then smoothed the rest of the batter over top.
Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester or thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Savor the cinnamony fragrance as the cake is baking. Because it is special.
Cool on wire rack until just warm or room temperature. Eat. Sigh.
Dang. Now I want to make another one of these.