Happy New Year friends and fellow bloggers! A new year, and a new blogging resolution to write more regularly and to journal a bit more about my journey through this crazy adventure called life. My life seems to be on a never-ending cycle of wash, rinse, repeat at the moment. Punctuated with tasty foodie moments, of course. My resolution is to increase those moments and to savour them.
There have been so many family dinners and dinner parties during the festive season, and I’ve been making a veritable array of desserts and meals (though not blogging). I tend to fall onto my true and tested, but every now and then, when I chance upon a special ingredient, the cookbooks are dragged out. Like these. After a day getting partially sunburnt at the grounds of Goat Island Reserve, we stopped at Matakana for some ice-cream and sorbets, and I spied plump luscious organic blueberries at Nosh Food Market.
This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Kitchen to Yours. It’s one of my favourite cookbooks; Dorie has a delightful way with linking stories to her recipes and creates simply sumptuous and aesthetically pleasing foods. Fresh blueberries are best, but given the prices of blueberries and their short availability, I’ve made this with frozen as well, and it comes out nearly as good.
This made its way to yet another family dinner, and got the thumbs up from everyone, from Dad to my 3-year old nephew (you know it’s a hit when your dad claims he’s too full to eat a full slice but polishes off his plate, and the 3-year old demands ‘More!’).
75g softened unsalted butter
¼ cup caster sugar
⅓ cup (packed) soft brown sugar
⅓ cup plain flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp flour to coat
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
(Dorie’s recipe includes a pinch of nutmeg, which I have left out as nutmeg is not one of my favourite flavours)
⅔ cups caster sugar
zest of ½ lemon
90g softened unsalted butter
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 20cm square tin or glass/ceramic baking dish with baking paper.
Food hack: Use a greased muffin or friand tin for pretty individual servings, or to take to small gathering.
For the crumb, add all ingredients (keep walnuts aside) in a food processor and pulse until mixture just holds together. Stir in nuts, cover, and keep in fridge while you make the cake.
Toss the blueberries in 2 tsp of flour, – this is to absorb some of the liquid should you pierce a blueberry and reduce the blue colour bleeding into the rest of the batter. Not so important for fresh, but vital if you are using frozen berries.
Rub the lemon zest into the sugar until sugar is fragrant. Add to butter and beat until creamy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in portions alternating with the buttermilk.
Fold in the blueberries gently and make sure that they are evenly incorporated.
Smooth into the lined pan. Rescue the crumb mixture from the fridge, and break into small pieces to scatter on top of the batter.
Bake for 60 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean. This crumb cake is perfect just warm. If cool, warm it in the microwave before serving.
Note: If using a friand or muffin tin; the batter is enough for the regular 8-friand tin plus 5 muffins.