Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blueberry and Almond Coffee Cake

You know the old saw, "...I cannot tell a lie." I usually ascribe to that, but there are times when the truth is murky and has to be explored a layer at a time. Today's recipe is like that. The truth is this is a wonderful cake. The other truth is that making this cake as directed could cause you a world of hurt. There are a couple of problems. It starts with non-specific instructions for pan size and that, of course, leads to a problem with baking time. Problems with baking time lead to a cake that is either brown and dry or damp and ridiculously sticky. I suspect this recipe, from Epicurious by way of Gourmet magazine, was never tested in a home kitchen. The good news is that it's tasty enough that others who found it on the Epicurious website, have played with it and made it workable. So, when a 2-1/2 quart casserole becomes a 9 x 13-inch pan and the amount of topping is doubled, you end up with a cake that fulfills its original promise. I take the added precaution of lining the pan with parchment paper so the cake can easily be released. Problems with sinking berries have been reported and some have found that dusting the berries with flour helps. Others aren't convinced. Some simply don't care. Fruit at the bottom of a coffee cake doesn't bother me, so I'm not concerned if my berries sink. If you use frozen berries, don't thaw them before adding them to the cake batter. This is a thick batter and you don't want it to turn purple with juice from mashed berries. This cake is truly lovely when it is served barely warm. It can be made a day before you need it and reheated just before serving. Having told you so much about what was wrong with this cake, I hope you'll remember I also said this is delicious. The cake is very easy to make. The changes needed to make it workable and something you'll be proud to serve are in the recipe below. They are highlighted in red. Here's how the cake should be made.

Blueberry and Almond Coffee Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from Gourmet Magazine


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar

2 whole large eggs

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup milk

2 to 2-1/2 cups blueberries (15 ounces)

1 large egg white

2 cups sliced almonds


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-1/4-inch baking pan ceramic or glass baking dish. Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter it as well. Set aside.

2) Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and 1-1/4 cups sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in whole eggs, 1 at a time, then almond extract. Alternately add flour mixture and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating on low speed after each addition until just incorporated. Fold in berries. Spoon batter into baking dish, spreading evenly.

3) Lightly beat egg white with a fork and add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and almonds, stirring to coat.

4) Spoon topping over batter and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack, then invert again. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings.

One year ago today: Pungent Parsley Pesto

Two years ago today: Hot Cross Buns

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