Friday, September 12, 2008

Food multitasking: Wild Blueberry Cake

I love food multitasking. How many things can you make that go from dessert after dinner to the perfect morning coffee accompaniment? That's right, not that many. Although who hasn't indulged in that slice of chocolate cake the next morning? Wow, is anything better and more decadent than that?! Okay, this isn't that decadent, but it is darn good. And way easy. I saw this recipe in a recent New York Times Magazine, and even though we don't have those supposedly "special" Maine blueberries they call for, our fabulous Oregon blueberries take a back seat to no berry! And with the season running late this year, it is still possible to find these beautifully ripe mini-orbs of goodness at the Farmer's Market. This cake was delicious, the almond flour giving it a slight nuttiness, the texture moist and crumbly, and the sugar you sprinkle on top right before cooking gives it a perfect snappy crust. It takes no time at all to put together, and if you're tempted by that second piece after dinner...and you will be....resist, because your morning coffee is just a good night's sleep away!
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Wild-Blueberry Cake
by Nancy Harmon Jenkins/NYT Magazine

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons flour, plus more for flouring the pan
½ cup slivered blanched almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons whole or nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 cup whole or nonfat milk
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen low- bush, wild blueberries (see note).

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square cake pan with butter. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out excess. Set the pan in the freezer.

2. On a baking sheet, roast the almonds in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool and pulse them to a coarse grit in a food processor. Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and sea salt and continue processing to a fine grit.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape the sides. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest. Stir the yogurt into the milk and then beat it into the batter.

4. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until combined. Toss blueberries with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons flour and fold them into the batter.

5. Transfer the batter to the chilled pan. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon sugar on top. Bake in the oven until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a cake rack. Serves 8. Adapted from Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

NOTE: Wyman’s frozen wild blueberries are available at most Whole Foods Markets and health-food stores. When using frozen blueberries, do not let them thaw.

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