Tuesday, September 23, 2008

blueberry cake

and it was good

Thank you all for the kind comments and emails in the last two months. The support that you’ve given me through the last two and a half months has been invaluable and carried me through what has been a very difficult period.

To make a long story short, my relationship ended, I moved out of the apartment my ex-boyfriend and I shared and moved into a new one by myself. And since I took only clothes, books and a few treasured kitchen items like my beloved KitchenAid mixer and a pasta maker, I had to acquire everything else from scratch. Furniture, dishes, sheets, mixing bowls, canisters and so on. You’d be surprised at how quickly the little things begin to add up and how much time it eats up. And before I knew it, summer had ended and fall snuck up right behind it. Now the mornings are cooler and there’s a definite chill in the air. I’m craving hot coffee instead of iced, and put on a sweater before I leave the house.

And if moving wasn’t consuming enough, the economy has kept us all focused and fixated, especially last week, when the markets had a near meltdown with violent swings and the US government had to step in. Even my grandmother, who has no concept of the markets or what it is that I do for a living, asked me about what is happening to those “stops” and people losing money on them. She calls them “stops” my grandmother, and even she is concerned that their value is steeply declining.

But enough of that. The difficult part is behind me now and I am looking forward to the future and trying to cook in my new kitchen, which, while lovely, lacks any legitimate counter space. Which makes for tricky cooking. Almost like juggling and constantly washing and drying and trying to find another square inch of space, and believe me, every inch is a blessing. That is until my sleek kitchen cart gets assembled and then counter space, here I come!

blueberry cake batter

Still, limited as I am, it hasn’t completely stopped me. And the first chance I got to make this blueberry cake, I did. The instant I spied it in the New York Times, I was instantly excited to make it. I couldn’t decide what to get excited about first: fresh blueberries? Toasted almonds? Orange zest? And so I made this for the small painting party I held last Saturday when friends and I transformed two bland white walls into stunning, muted grey ones. And the cake – it too was a stunner. The toasted almonds and the zest give the blueberries amazing dimension and that little edge of mystery and complexity – perfect with a cup of strong, hot coffee. Just in time for fall.

dimply and moist


Blueberry Cake
Adapted from the New York Times
August 17, 2008

Ingredients:
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons flour, plus more for flouring the pan
½ cup slivered blanched almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons whole or nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 cup whole or nonfat milk
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen low- bush, wild blueberries (see note).

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square cake pan with butter. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out excess. Set the pan in the freezer.

2. On a baking sheet, roast the almonds in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool and pulse them to a coarse grit in a food processor. Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and sea salt and continue processing to a fine grit.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the sides. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest. Stir the yogurt into the milk and then beat it into the batter.

4. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until combined. Toss blueberries with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons flour and fold them into the batter.

5. Transfer the batter to the chilled pan. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon sugar on top. Bake in the oven until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a cake rack.

Serves 8.

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12 Comments

  • 1

    Welcome back! Looking forward to some wonderful cooking coming out of your new kitchen.

    September 23, 2008 11:13 pm
  • 2
    gwto said:

    Great to have you back!

    September 24, 2008 4:47 am
  • 3
    deb said:

    Glad you are settling in well. Almost equally excited that you tried this cake. I bookmarked it and never had a chance before the blueberries evaporated. Glad to hear that it is a hit, and am already imagining a cranberry version.

    September 24, 2008 1:43 pm
  • 4

    Yay! You’re back! It’s great to see you posting again–and what a way to start! Like Deb, I know how fond of cranberries you are and can’t wait to see you try the recipe with those.

    September 25, 2008 3:28 pm
  • 5
    radish said:

    ooh thank you everyone! it’s so nice to be back. feels so good. I need to really rev up here – kitchen cart still unassembled (grr!). I do quite love my cranberries so I think you’re right — it’ll be a must – maybe I’ll experiment with various nuts or do lemon zest instead of orange? All the choices, very exciting stuff!!

    September 25, 2008 11:26 pm
  • 6
    Sarah said:

    Radish, I’m so glad you’re back! And I know just what you mean about the switch from iced coffee to hot and wearing wool! I’m sure you are making a cozy nest for yourself, and I am so happy to get to read you again.

    September 26, 2008 2:38 pm
  • 7

    So glad you are back and feeling better! (Though I do not envy your job these past few weeks.) I’m kind of excited about fall coming in, if only for this cake and a cup of hot coffee.

    September 29, 2008 12:31 pm
  • 8

    I’m glad to see that you are back in action. I hate it when life knocks you down, but at least you got a nice pan of cake and some dedicated readers to break your fall :)

    October 4, 2008 9:48 pm
  • 9
    Rona said:

    Your site is wonderful and I’m so happy to have met you Sunday. The Blueberry cake and Banana bread recipes sound amazing and happen to be 2 of my favourites. Keep up the good work, the best is yet to come!

    October 15, 2008 11:13 am
  • 10
    radish said:

    Rona it was lovely meeting you as well – sorry i am so late in responding – been a bit swamped with work and whatnot. Thank you for the compliments – now that the kitchen cart is done – I’m hoping to come back to blogging in full swing!!

    October 18, 2008 4:49 pm
  • 11
    nmr said:

    Why is this a parve recipe?

    January 25, 2010 2:18 pm
  • 12
    Radish said:

    nmr — thank you not sure how that snuck in there – sometimes i get carried away and forget. Thanks for the correction.

    January 25, 2010 3:29 pm

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