Monday, July 20, 2015

Happy Blogiversary to JennyBakes with Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

On the 24th of July, 2006, I started JennyBakes. I had recently moved to a new state and a new job, one that was a full-time faculty librarian position. No more long commutes, no more juggling multiple jobs... all of the sudden I had time on my hands. With a few years of library school between my culinary jobs and the present (of 2006) I decided it could be time to bake for fun again.

The blog has shifted a bit over time, from building a community with other bloggers to taking on Daring Bakers challenges to experimenting with alternative baking. I have learned a lot, failed from time to time, and made some great discoveries! Thanks to those of you still checking in.

This time of year blueberries are at their peak, so although I had plans to make a fancy apricot mousse cake for my blogiversary, I was faced with three pints of blueberries in my fridge that had to be used! I poured through my cookbooks and stumbled across this recipe, and decided to knock it out. I'll bring it to work on the day this post goes live.

This comes from the marvelous Smitten Kitchen cookbook, a combination of blueberry crumb cake with cornbread. And it really works. I had to bake it longer than suggested but my blueberries were very plump and juicy. Not surprising. This is a marvelous little snacking cake!

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

(recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and while recipes are not protected by copyright, I highly recommend having this one on your shelf)
(yields one 8x8" pan - about 16 squares)


Cake Batter:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 c. sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
2 c. blueberries, rinsed and patted dry

Streusel Topping:
1/2 c. sugar
6 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. cornmeal
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, COLD and cut into small pieces


Preheat oven to 350*.

Line the bottom of an 8x8" square pan with parchment paper, and then coat the parchment paper and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe the cooking spray to evenly spread and to ensure it gets in all of the corners, thoroughly coating the bottom and sides.

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, for at least 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition, then add the vanilla and zest.
Then add a third of the flour mixture, all of the sour cream/yogurt, and another third of the flour mixture - beating until just blended after each addition.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix the remaining third of flour mixture with the blueberries. Gently fold the blueberry-flour mixture into the cake batter.
Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan.

For the streusel topping, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mash in the cold butter pieces with a fork, your fingertips, or pastry blender. Scatter the topping evenly over the batter.
Bake the cake 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, then gently lift out the cake to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares.

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