Thursday, September 4, 2014

blueberry cornmeal butter cake.

This past weekend Tyler and I took a little road trip down to the Philly area to visit one of our good friends and her boyfriend.  They just bought a house.  It has multiple floors and multiple bathrooms and SO MANY CLOSETS.  It has 3 bedrooms and a patio and kitchen big enough for a table.  It made us both feel very young and all kinds of out of sorts because when you live in a city if you get even one closet you should count yourself lucky.  

It seems this is how the other half lives.  With closets and pantry's and actual dinning room tables. Something I can only wish for.  

I made sure to arrive at the house with a cake because I know the quickest way to get invited back is to show up with gifts of sweets.  This particular cake is the ideal thing to bring to any kind of housewarming because people just eat it up.  It dense and buttery and studded with just enough blueberries that you can convince yourself you are eating something somewhat virtuous (you aren't but but I see no issues with lying to yourself).  The strussel topping provides the necessary crunch and takes this into coffee cake territory (which is a wonderful place to go). I've eaten wedges for breakfast and I also have found myself enjoying a wedge as an afternoon snack.  It's a cake that works any time of day and a cake that everyone loves and it's a cake you will find yourself making constantly.  

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake  
Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Make 12 -16 servings

I have made this cake so many times it scares me.  The cornmeal is probably the single greatest addition to blueberry coffee cake as itt provides just the right amount of textural contrast (and superb flavor).  I promise you will love it too. I will cough up to the fact that my blueberries sink to the bottom of the cake almost every time I make this.  I blame myself.  If your's does the same don't be sad.  It still tastes absurdly amazing.  

For the Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries, rinsed and patted dry

For the Strussel Topping

½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornmeal
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons 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, 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 about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and center comes out clean. 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 flip out onto a wire cooling rack (flipping again to make it right-side-up).

Store in a covered container. If keeping for more than 24 hours, refrigerate in a covered container.

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