I had a bunch of blueberries that I needed to use up. Today didn’t feel like a blueberry pie kind of day so I decided to make cake instead. Blueberries and lemon form the perfect sweet and sour flavor combination. Specially if you get blueberries when they’re in season and are at their peak, practically bursting with juicy sweetness. This recipe makes a super moist cake that’s great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of hot tea.
Speaking of which, I saw a picture somewhere (probably on Pinterest) of a blueberry cake that was cut in small little rounds so I decided to try doing that. I baked one loaf cake with half my batter, but poured the other half of the batter into an 8-inch round pan to make a thinner cake which I cut into little circles with a mini-biscuit cutter. Don’t those look adorable? How perfect for a dessert table or for my annual Mother’s Day tea party!
BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD
2 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups flour + 2 tbsp. for tossing with blueberries
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla or lemon extract
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Toss blueberries in 2 tbsp. flour. This helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf. Set aside.
Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk eggs together; then whisk in melted butter, milk, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
Pour into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Gently fold blueberries into batter.
Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Make topping by mixing lemon juice and melted butter together.
Brush lemon-butter mixture on top of loaves.
Sprinkle with a heavy layer of sugar while tops are still wet.
NOTE: My kids love the crunchy sugar topping made by sprinkling granulated sugar over the loaves, but if you prefer to have a glaze for the topping, just omit the butter, replace the granulated sugar with 1 cup of powdered sugar, and stir in 2-3 tbsp. of lemon juice till it reaches a good consistency for drizzling.
A nice trick to help you remove a cake from a loaf pan is to line the bottom of the loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper long enough to go up the short sides and stick out at least a couple of inches past the edge of the pan on either side. After your cake has cooled for 10 minutes, grasp the ends of the parchment paper that stick out past the loaf pan and use them like handles to lift the cake up and out. You can then tip the cake on its side to peel the parchment strip off.
It’s Bashful’s birthday today. She’s turning 23. Where did the years go? It’s so true that time flies faster the older you get. Like her namesake, Bashful is shy and sweet and kind-hearted. Been that way since she was a little girl. She spoke just fine at home, but hardly said two words outside. Without fail, every new teacher she had would call me at the beginning of each school year to ask if things were alright at home because she never said a word in class. I would have to explain that that was just her way but if they called on her to answer, she would, even if she hadn’t raised her hand. She answered in this tiny little soft-spoken voice, but she answered. She’s all grown up now but when I look at her, I still see that quiet little girl who always stood to one side silently watching the world with big, solemn eyes and a shy smile.
This morning I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and of course, she asked for her favorite Strawberry Cream Cake. Its always been her favorite and that hasn’t changed over the years. I’m not surprised. This cake is so fabulously good. I make a moist vanilla cake for the base, use sliced fresh strawberries in the filling, and cover it up with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s Yummy with a capital Y!
STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, then spray the paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy.
Slowly pour in the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Then add the vanilla, beating until well-combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a spatula.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Invert cakes, peel off parchment paper, then re-invert so cakes are top side up.
Cool completely before frosting. Trim tops off to make cakes level if desired.
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
Hull, wash, and slice strawberries.
Toss in a bowl with sugar and set aside until ready to use.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar, add more or less as desired
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it less sweet.
Beat until stiff peaks form.
If you want really white frosting, omit the vanilla or use clear vanilla extract.
If you have cake strips, use them! They really help the cakes to rise up evenly with nice, level tops.
It’s a lazy Sunday morning at Casa Catastrophe with nothing more pressing to do than get caught up on missed TV episodes, so my daughter, Bashful, and I decided to bake this coffee cake that we found in one of my old Pillsbury cookbooks. Not only did it taste delicious, but it looked lovely! Like something purchased from a fancy bakery. It was pretty easy to make, too. Don’t let the lengthy list of ingredients or instructions scare you. The hardest part to me was getting the crust evenly up the sides of the springform pan. But don’t worry about making it perfectly even. Ours was such a mess but it turned out looking great!
RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE
2¼ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter or margarine
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sour cream
1 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
½ cup raspberry preserves
½ cup sliced almonds
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Grease with shortening and flour bottom and sides of 9 or 10-inch springform pan.
In large bowl, mix flour and ¾ cup sugar.
With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.
To remaining crumb mixture in bowl, stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, almond extract and 1 egg until blended.
Spread batter about ¼-inch thick over bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan.
In small bowl, mix cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and 1 egg until blended.
Pour into batter-lined pan.
Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cream cheese mixture.
In another small bowl, mix reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds together.
Sprinkle over preserves.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown.
Prajitura Desteapta. Nope, it’s not a disease or some Amazonian jungle plant. It’s actually a Romanian custard cake. I had to bring dessert to my sister Helen’s house for dinner last night so I went searching through my recipe box for something to make. I wanted to bring something different. Maybe make something I hadn’t made in a long time. Lo and behold, I came across this recipe that was given to me years ago by my friend, Lyudmila.
According to Lyudmila, “Prajitura Desteapta” means “Smart Cake.” I guess they call it that because it’s super easy to make which is pretty smart in my book. The ingredients are all things you usually have in your fridge and pantry. While it’s baking, the cake separates into three layers – a dense, fudge-like layer on the bottom, a softer custardy layer in the middle, and a thin spongy layer on top. Lyudmila’s original recipe gave the ingredients in metric measurements. I’ve noted the American equivalents for those who want them. By the way, in America, this cake is called “Magic Cake” and it’s easy to understand why.
PRAJITURA DESTEAPTA (SMART CAKE)
250 gm butter or margarine (1 cup)
8 eggs, separated
300 gm sugar (1½ cups)
2 packets vanilla sugar (2 tsp. vanilla extract)
225 gm flour (2 cups)
1 liter warm milk (4 cups)
powdered sugar, for dusting on top
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish.
Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.
In an extra large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together on high speed until very light and fluffy. Don’t undermix! This step takes about 5 minutes. You want the egg yolks to be a very pale, almost whitish-yellow color.
Drizzle in the melted butter and vanilla, continuing to beat until well incorporated.
Reduce speed to low and sprinkle in the sifted flour, beating until flour is well combined. Don’t worry if the batter seems lumpy.
Raise speed to medium and slowly add the milk, beating until well blended. Batter will be very thin and watery.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
Gently stir the beaten egg whites into the batter with a wooden spoon. Don’t overmix! You don’t want the egg whites to disappear completely into the batter. You want to stir them just a few times leaving lots of clumps and bits of egg white unincorporated and floating on top.
Pour into prepared baking dish and bake 50-70 minutes. Oven temps vary so check the cake at 50 minutes by shaking the pan gently. You want the center to have a little jiggle when shaken, but if it’s too jiggly, bake the cake some more, checking every 5 minutes or so, until done. If the top seems to be browning too much, tent a piece of foil over your cake pan.
Cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to chill.
Once cake is chilled, sprinkle top with powdered sugar, cut into squares and serve.
You can easily cut this recipe in half to make a smaller cake. Use an 8x8x2-inch square pan. You’ll also have to adjust the baking time and start checking your cake after 40 minutes.
It’s best if your eggs are at room temperature. Put them out on your counter at least half an hour before you begin baking.
The butter should be melted but not hot. Make sure to cool it to room
temperature before using.
Vanilla sugar is a very popular baking ingredient in Europe. Dr. Oetker is a very
well-known brand, but unfortunately, it’s not easy to find in the U.S. However, you
can easily substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar in this recipe.