After a couple weeks of awful hot and humid weather, where no sane person entertained even the ghost of an idea that involved turning on the oven, I woke the other morning to cool, crisp air and a weather forecast that said the day would stay that way.
Just what I was waiting for, as we had a container of freshly picked blueberries in the fridge, that I had been hoping would get a chance to be in this cake.
I actually worked on this recipe last August, but ran out of blueberries before I had a chance to get it just right, and take some photos of my final take on it. I keep such things in a steno pad that sits on my kitchen counter most of the time – along with vital objects, like camera lenses, a kitchen scale, and a tottery pile of mail and old receipts that I’m going to get to one day.
The steno pad is a very important part of this blog, as it contains all of the permutations and notes for various recipes. Even though I love my technology, for me, there is no substitute for a blank sheet of paper and a Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil. Ideas for recipes and the stories to go with them occur to me at odd intervals, so I like to be ready to jot them down. Write it down or it never happened is very true for me.
I know to check back an entire year every now and again to see what projects I left hanging, which is how I remembered that I never shared it. It was mentally bookmarked for getting back to this August, so I was really glad to get a nice cool day for it.
Despite my deep and abiding love for chocolate, few things make me happier than a moist fruity cake with a good crunchy topping. A coffee cake of sorts, it usually has some kind of acidic liquid like buttermilk or yogurt to help it rise nicely and give it an undertone of tanginess to balance out the sweetness of the fruit. The crunchy cinnamon topping is just – forgive me for saying so – icing on the cake.
- ¼ cup soft butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup soft butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon [or so] fresh lemon zest
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon all flour
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Set the oven to 350º. Generously butter an 8 inch cast iron skillet, and set it in the oven to get hot. Depending on your oven, it will probably take about 10 minutes, which is about how long it takes to get the cake mixed up.
- Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, blend the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer [or large mixing bowl if using an electric hand mixer], cream together the butter and sugar.
- Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon zest.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately - half the flour, all the buttermilk, then the other half of the flour, mixing well after each addition.
- Mix the 1 tablespoon flour and the blueberries together, and fold into the cake batter.
- Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven, and spread the batter evenly in it.
- Scatter the topping mixture evenly over the batter.
- Bake for around 25 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer comes out clean, when inserted near the center.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, and serve warm, plain or with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
- Remove leftovers from pan, and store in the fridge for up to several days.
There you go – I can barely think of anything better. I’m really glad I keep an eye on that steno pad!