Sunday 20 June 2010

The Cake Slice June 2010: Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

After my doubt of salads it is high time I return to the main source of recipe inspiration on this blog – cakes, bakes and other sweet treats! To welcome me back to my love affair with baking I have for you this months Cake Slice cake.

The winning cake this month is Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake. A simple yet delicious tray bake cake studded with blueberries – originally made with blueberries from the Shenandoah Valley in America, but blueberries from anywhere – fresh or frozen will work equally well. I used some lovely fresh blueberries I picked up in a local Bedford market so really I should call it Bedford Blueberry Cake – it’s got a good ring to it anyway.

This cake is quite plain and simple to look at, is syrup and frosting-less and contains no vanilla, lemon or other flavouring in the cake itself, relying on blueberries for its stand alone flavour. While I applaud this simplistic approach I was slightly disappointed in the finished cake. If you got a mouthful compete with a big juicy blueberry then the flavour was wonderful, but on its own it seemed to lack that extra something special. I felt it was crying out for a bit of lemon zest or vanilla in the cake and could have done with being served with a blob of yoghurt and a drizzle of lemon curd to bring it alive. However, the author suggests eating this cake for breakfast or even as a midnight snack(!!) so maybe a plain cake is appropriate in this case.

The batter for this cake is very thick and dense and I was worried I was going to end up with a heavy, thin cake so I was very happy when it rose well and baked into a lightly textured cake. It was also one of the quickest cake to put together I have ever made. I should think it was in the oven and baking in under 20 minutes and as its recommended to eat it while still warm it’s the ideal cake to have up your sleeve for any unexpected guests who might suddenly phone to ask if “it would be alright if they just popped by to say hello” You could have this baked and ready for them when they arrived and leave them feeling you are the ultimate domestic goddess. Served with a little lemon curd, a few extra berries and a dusting of icing sugar this cake could easily be a winner.

It’s also Fathers Day today and as I knew this post was coming up today, after baking and sampling a small slice I gave this cake to my Dad as a sort of early treat. He said it was great with a cuppa and a blog of cream. Happy Fathers Day Dad!

Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
200g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
65g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 egg
75ml milk
100g fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Heat the oven to 170C and generously grease a 9 inch square or round pan.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat with a mixer at high speed until well combined. Add the egg and beat well for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl until the mixture is smooth and light.
Stir in half the flour mixture then half the milk, mixing just enough to keep the batter fairly smooth and well combined. Add the remaining flour, then the rest of the milk, mixing gently. Stir in the blueberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is golden, springs back when touched gently in the centre and is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then turn it out to cool, top side up. Serve a slice of cake right from the pan, warm or at room temperature.
Makes 1 x 9inch single layer cake


Chele said...

I think it should be Bedford Blueberry Cake too - looks fantastic. Very summery.

Alex T said...

I liked the look of this recipe so much I've just ordered 3 blueberry bushes (well they were half price at Suttons) as I was already in the process of ordering saffron crocus bulbs (to grow my own saffron). If I ever get enough blueberries to make more than one muffin I will post the results.

Anonymous said...

I also agree that this cake needed maybe just a teaspoon of vanilla. But I still loved the simplicity of it. I used market fresh blueberries as well and they were really able to shine in the cake. Another great cake!

Baking Addict said...

I love blueberries. This looks like the perfect easy, summer recipe to whip up at short notice. Your cake looks really delicious :)

Monica H said...

Bedford Blueberry sounds perfect. I thought the cake was nice and buttery but it would be equally delicious with other fruit and some zest in there. Despite you not loving the cake, it looks great.

Lulu the Baker said...

Lovely job! I love the fresh blueberries on top!

The Caked Crusader said...

looks amazing - I adore blueberries in cakes.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

one can only eat so much salad before a little cake is in order. looks fluffy and delicious!

Future Grown-Up said...

You are so right...this would have been amazing with lemon curd on top! Your cake looks very tasty and pretty with the blueberries on top too.

Unknown said...

The cake sure looks good.. Unfortunately, no blueberries where I live!!

Deborah said...

Most of the time, simple cakes like this one are my favorite!!

Caroline said...

I'm glad your father enjoyed the cake. It reminded me of scones but glad it is an easy cake to bake.

Yasmeen said...

A fantastic cake with my favorite fruit of the season :D

Anonymous said...

I made this cake to take to work and it was amazing and I got so many lovely comments about it. I actually halved the flour and replaced it with almond meal and put some lemon zest in the batter. It really made the flavor punchy and nutty. Will definitely add this to my cake recipe book!