I did it again. Organic blueberries were on sale and they were so beautiful that instead of buying one pint, I bought two. I do love just popping them in my mouth. As a matter of fact, when I was kid, my friends and I would take turns using our open mouths as an edible bean bag toss. In one game, I could have wolfed down half of a pint all by myself.
But right now, what do with all of these blueberries? I love fresh blueberry muffins, pancakes and my beloved blueberry pie. However, my all-time favorite way to use them is in this recipe for "Blueberry Gateau" from the Blueberry Hill Inn in Goshen, Vermont. This cake is perfect eaten plain for dessert or breakfast, no ice cream or whipped cream needed. It's chock full of fresh berries, held together by a light sweet cake that allows the blueberries to be the star. And I love the outside edge which browns and has a buttery crispness that rounds off the sweet/tart berries inside. Somewhere between a pie and a muffin, it’s the one cake I come back to every blueberry season.
This a very easy cake to make. And it's unassuming appearance belies the fact that it's bursting with flavor! The only special equipment you'll need is a 9 inch springform pan. I highly recommend having one in your baking pan collection. But if you don't, you can switch it out for a regular 9" pie pan.
1. If you are using a springform pan, turn the bottom over so that the lip is facing down. You'll have a much easier time of it getting the cake off of the pan.
2. Use real butter to grease the pan to insure that crispy edge and great flavor. Baking spray will not cut it here.
3. Make sure that the blueberries are really dry. Here's how: Cover a rimmed baking sheet with some paper towels, place the washed berries on the pan and tilt the pan so the berries roll across the paper towels until they're dry.
4. Once the flour is added, don’t overmix! Mix just until the flour has been incorporated. You don't want a tough cake.
5. I always check on the cake about 10 minutes earlier just in case it's done sooner. But in my oven, it usually takes about 1 hour and 5 minutes for the aroma of blueberries to fill the kitchen and for the cake to become a rich golden brown.
Janice Kollar is a former jingle singer, music arranger, and the pastry chef and owner of Peace, Love and Cupcakes in Woodstock. New York. She is the winner of two Food Network competitions, The Best Cake in the Country and Re-wrapped. She c0-authored The Butch Bakery and is currently working on another cookbook. Follow her sweet and savory kitchen adventures on her blog, MyWoodstockKitchen.com.
The Blueberry Hill Inn's Blueberry Gateau
Serves 8. Recipe slightly adapted from the New Blueberry Hill Cookbook.
- 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 Tablespoons confectioners' sugar (optional)
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a small brush, generously coat a 9" springform pan with melted butter. Then dust the pan with flour and tap out any excess. Place the pan on a rimmed, parchment lined baking sheet, and set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, sift the 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and the 1 cup sugar until fluffy and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until blended. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. And this is important: Beat just until the flour is incorporated!
Spoon dollops of the batter around the bottom of the pan, and then spread evenly to cover.
In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining flour, sugar, and lemon juice. Scatter the berry mixture evenly over the batter.
Bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack until the top is browned and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean -- about 1 hour.
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen it from the pan sides to release the cake. Transfer to a cake plate, berry side up, and serve warm or at room temperature. I like to sprinkle the cooled cake with confectioners' sugar.