Here's a second recipe using the wonderful blueberries I was given last week. This light, moist butter cake, scented with lemon zest and vanilla and topped with a crust of sugar and lemon juice, has been in my recipe file since I was in my early teens.
I have a particular nostalgia for this recipe because, on the morning my second son was born, I was seized, like a nesting hen, by a compulsion to clean the house from top to bottom, which involved a lot of waddling and gasping. Then along came a fierce craving for lemon cake, and this was what I made. The cake had not been out of the oven ten minutes when I sat down on a chair and then leaped up again like a scalded cat, thinking I'd sat on the sharp end of a large carrot. I'll spare you the details of my labour, but my son was born an hour and a half later and I never got a chance to eat the cake.
This is very good served warm with cream, or custard, or both. The recipe is easily doubled but you may need to add a little more milk to slacken the batter.
Lemon Butter Cake with Blueberries
90 g butter, softened
1 cup (250 ml) white sugar
the zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1½ cups (375 ml) cake flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
½ cup (125 ml) milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries
the juice of a lemon
½ cup (125 ml) white granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one and stir in the lemon zest. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl. Add the milk and vanilla essence and stir gently until well combined. This is quite a stiff batter: add a little more milk if it seems too rigid. Butter a 22-cm cake tin or a loaf pan and line its base with greaseproof paper. Pour in the batter and smooth the top. Push any protruding blueberries deep into the batter. Bake at 160ºC for an hour, or until risen, firm, and golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Take the cake out of its tin and put it on a plate. Mix together the lemon juice and sugar and, before the sugar has a chance to dissolve, drizzle it over the top of the warm cake.
Makes one 22-cm round cake.