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 fresh 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. I know to check back to the previous year every now and again to see what projects I left hanging, and so, ran across this recipe awhile ago. It was mentally bookmarked for getting back to this August, and on this particular cool morning, I decided it would be just the thing. And indeed, it was.
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.
½ cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar
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 cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
This can made using just a hand mixer, or even a whisk, if that is all you have on hand.
Butter the interior of an 8 to 10 inch iron frying pan, and set in the oven. While mixing the cake up, let the pan warm as the oven heats up, but not for too long – 10 minutes will do.
First make the topping – just mix all of the topping ingredients together at once, using a pastry cutter or even your fingers if you like – set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon zest.
Measure in the dry ingredients – you can mix them together in a smaller bowl before adding them, but they will get sufficiently blended in even if you don’t.
Beat in the buttermilk, until mostly smooth, and then beat in the blueberries. Some will get a bit crushed, but that is just fine. Scrape the batter evenly into the iron skillet, and sprinkle the topping over evenly.
Bake at 350 for about 25 to 30 minutes – it may leave a few moist crumbs on a toothpick inserted near the center, but no more than that.Let cool briefly before serving, then cut into wedges. A little dollop of crème fraiche [now you know why I told you that you should make some creme fraiche a couple days ago!] is particularly good with this, but it is also very good with nothing at all.
Don’t leave the leftover cake in your skillet – move it into some kind of container. It will keep for a few days at least, and even longer if you stick it in the fridge.