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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Happy Sunday! We've been busy around here, what with my in-laws in town and a lot of social engagements as part of a major job shift/promotion occurring later in the week for my husband. We've also been involved in a lot of very sweaty yard work with landscaping and building my new raised beds for my soon-to-be vegetable garden. But in spite of all this, I still couldn't let blueberry season pass me by without trying this recipe.

Last year, I posted a recipe for a lemon cornmeal crust that just made me swoon, so when I saw a recipe for a cake that purported to have similar flavors - and blueberries to boot, I was hooked. That crust I made last year was fabulous with strawberries, but it was really fantastic with blueberries!

You just can't go wrong with the flavoring power of fresh lemon zest, and this cake tastes great because of it.

It doesn't take a lot of cornmeal to give a baked item a very interesting flavor and texture. In this cake, it amounts to only 1/4 of a cup of cornmeal.

If you want to ensure that you can remove your cake from the pan so that you can serve it on a nice plate, be sure to spray the pan with oil and place a round of parchment in the bottom. If you're not using a non-stick pan, you may want to also flour the pan.

Once the cake is mixed, you'll want to toss together the topping. The flour and sugar mix with the blueberries to make a nice crust on the top of the cake. If you end up with any extra flour and sugar in the bottom of the bowl after you've sprinkled the blueberries on the cake, you can discard the remaining flour and sugar.

Pour the cake into the pan and even it out. There are two ways you can do this. If you really want the cake to rise to its fullest and have a more even top, then you'll want to bake the cake for fifteen minutes before adding the topping. I just couldn't be bothered with that and the cake turned out fine. It was a little bit concave (you can check out the photo below), but I think it was still gorgeous and it still tasted great - so it's your call.

Bake the cake for a total of 40-45 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan. Once cool, you can loosed the edges with a knife, if need be. Invert onto a plate and then invert again onto the serving plate. Once it's cool, you can sprinkle with powdered sugar for an extra pretty touch. Word to the wise, though, only dust it right before you serve it; the cake is moist enough it will absorb the powdered sugar in fairly short order.

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake
Yield: one 9"-cake

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
6 TBS butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
1 TBS granulated sugar
1 TBS all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray and then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Mix the first five ingredients (though the salt) together in a small bowl. In a mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the zest and then the eggs. Beating again until the eggs are well incorporated and the mixture is thick. Add the lemon juice and buttermilk. At this point, the mixture will look curdled. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even the top out with a rubber spatula. Either put into the oven at this point for fifteen minutes while making the topping, or proceed directly to the next step. Putting it in the oven for fifteen minutes first will allow the cake to have time to rise unfettered by the weight of the topping, but the cake turns out just fine, albeit a bit concave, if you top it right away.

Mix the berries, remaining flour and sugar in a small bowl and slightly mush the berries. You do not want to mush everything too much, just enough to get some juices flowing. Sprinkle the topping on top of the cake and bake. If you have a little flour and sugar left over, simply discard it. If you pre-baked 15 minutes, give it another 25 minutes or so, if you are baking it all at once, start checking it after 40 minutes. Remove from the oven when a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely on a rack. Once cool, loosen the edges and then invert onto a plate. Then invert again onto your serving plate so that it ends up right-side up. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. This cake is best when served within two hours, but it is still very good after a few days.

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