One of the best things about living on the east coast is the plethora of pick-your-on farms. After a super successful strawberry picking excursion when my little sister joined me for a week of baking, I couldn’t wait for blueberry season.
Picking them was not quite as fun as I imagined – recently cut grass and an afternoon rainstorm dampened the experience – but didn’t make this cake taste any less delicious.
Blueberries and lemons are made to go together; they are the perfect marriage of sweet and tart. This cake is proof of this.
Thanks to Cooks Illustrated, my favorite cooking magazine, the blueberries are marbled throughout, as opposed to the typical exploded blueberry clumps you typically find in cakes or muffins. The use of fruit pectin, helps hold together the filling and allows it to be spread around the cake. This means you get a bite of blueberry and lemon in each bite. I’ve only slightly amended their recipe by subbing in apple sauce for 1/3 of the butter (I swear it still tastes amazing) and doubling the lemon zest (I’m serious about this blueberry lemon pairing).
For an extra lemony bite, you can whip up an easy glaze to drizzle over the cake – not necessary, but definitely delicious. After I ate 1 slice of cake, I was bullied into adding this glaze (by someone with a serious sweet tooth).
Tip: Recipes that only call for a small amount of buttermilk can be frustrating since it is only sold in quart sized containers. After you use the buttermilk in this recipe, simply measure out cup or 3/4 cup amounts and pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in freezer bags until needed. Then, thaw in the refrigerator or in the microwave and blend to reconstitute!
3 cups all-purpose-flour (15 oz)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cups buttermilk
4 tsp lemon zest (zest of two large lemons)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar (14 oz)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey (oops this is another one of my changes to the recipe too)
3 tablespoons no-sugar needed fruit pectin
2 cups blueberries
1 heaping tsp lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tsp reserved blueberry filling
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and apple sauce together in another bowl. Whisk eggs and yoke to combine in a third bowl.
Using the paddle attachment on the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale yellow – about 3 minutes. Reduce speed and add the eggs in two parts, letting fully incorporate each time. Stop mixer to scrape down sides. Turn mixer to low and add 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the liquids, mixing until just incorporated. Scrape down and repeat. Scrape down and add last part of flour mixture, mixing at medium low until fully combined. Remove from mixer and fold batter with a rubber spatula to mix in any remaining flour clumps. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while making filling.
For filling, whisk sugar, honey, pectin, and salt together in a small saucepan. Blend blueberries in a blender for about 1 minute. Transfer 1/4 cup puree and lemon zest to the saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until lightly bubbling, about three minutes, stirring frequently to dissolve. Transfer mixture to bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Add remaining blueberry puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until starting to set, about 10 minutes. Reserve at least 2 tsp if making glaze.
Spray Bundt pan with oil. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Using a small spoon, create a 1/2 inch deep channel in the center of the batter. Spoon in filling and using a butter knife of offset spatula, swirl filling into batter. Repeat with remaining batter and filling.
Bake until the top is golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cake cool in pan on a cooling rack for 10 mins, then invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 3 hours.
To make the glaze, whisk together lemon juice, blueberry mixture, and 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Continue adding powdered sugar until a desired texture is reached. Drizzle over cooled cake.
As a side note, I’ve actually just come back from a lovely hike in the Adirondacks. At the top of my favorite peak, there is a giant patch of wild blueberries, which happened to be in season today. After picking nearly 10 lbs, all I can say is that cultivated blueberries have nothing on wild ones. These ones are so sweet, I think I could try this cake with only honey in the filling. Of course, that would require me not eating them all first…
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated May & June 2013, Blueberry Bundt Cake