Using up the bounty of the season? If you have blueberries -- fresh or frozen -- you will want to make this recipe for Blueberry Butter Cake. Fabulous!
I was flipping through the notebook the other day, paying particular attention to any seasonal recipes that might catch my fancy. After all, Grandma grew up on a very prosperous farm in north-central Illinois and when describing it to me she often said "we didn't want for anything". However, Grandma would also speak of her lack of kitchen experience in her youth -- Aunt Evelyn (age 101 this August 18) is several years older and was usually the one to help out in the kitchen. I don't think Grandma was ever one to grown her own garden or can food for the winter, at least that I know of, but she always had a deep appreciation for anything homegrown or locally produced. It was from her I learned what a "Farmer's Market" was. Her favorite purchases included fresh flowers, tomatoes and blueberries. I don't know if Grandma ever baked this recipe for Blueberry Butter Cake but I would have recommended it to her. This one's for you Grandma!
Blueberry Butter Cake -- submitted by Mrs. Earl Metz
2 cups blueberries
Juice 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 T butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sifted flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
Line a well-greased 8x8x2 pan with berries and sprinkle with lemon juice. Cream sugar and butter together; add milk alternately with flour, baking powder, and salt which have been sifted together. Pour this batter evenly over blueberries. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Sprinkle over top of cake. Pour boiling water over all and bake at 375 degrees for one hour. 6 servings.
Darn! I'd made the shopping trip of the week and discovered I only had 3/4 sup sugar in the house -- including the opening and dumping of any sugar packets I had on hand. Ok, enough for the cake but not for the topping. I ran to the neighbors' house and she generously gave me what she had -- a cup and a half. I once heard that it is possible to cut up to one-half of the sugar listed in just about any recipe (baked goods included) and the recipe would maintain it's crumb, texture and browning capabilities. I put that theory to the test. I used the entire 3/4 cup for the cake portion as written and then only 1/2 cup for the topping -- exactly half. But would it work?
Pour boiling water over all? Strange to me because the berries and the batter really resembled a shortcake-style cobbler in the pan. The sugar/cornstarch mixture, also a little different to me, resembled the makings of a crunchy topping. But it was all good as it was. Why ruin it by pouring a cup of boiling water all over?? But this being a true-to-the-recipe kind of blog, I poured on. With the addition of the water the cake looked like it was a loose, runny mess. I popped it into the 375 oven anyway. After 20 minutes the cake firmed up nicely. After 45 minutes the cake was a nice deep brown in places and the blueberries had erupted to the surface and resulted in a very cobbler-like dish.
However, the boiling water concept had me feeling curious -- a quick Google search revealed that these "self-saucing puddings" have a genre all their own, perhaps being better known as "pudding cakes". There were recipes out there for chocolate ones, date ones, and lo and behold -- the exact same recipe as I've written it above!! Some nice lady named Gertrude posted it to Cooks.com under the name "Gertrude's Blueberry Batter Cake". Not so strange after all I suppose!
Even after running out of sugar and reducing it to 1/2 cup the crust had a nice snap when I spooned out a serving. The blueberries had completely melted into a jelly-like goodness that held it's shape and texture. Didn't miss the extra 1/2 cup sugar. And the taste? Perfect. Like a blueberry pie only better, cake-like and homemade.
Soup Can Score -- Five cans out of Five
Get yourself some blueberries and make this! Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream....yum!