Friday, 15 January 2010

Lemon Butter Cake with Blueberries

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.

My mum, whose recipe it is, called it 'Lemon Nut Loaf' because the original contained pecan nuts. This lemon cake - and its variations - was popular during the 60s and 70s, and I am willing to bet that your mum or your grandma has a very similar recipe in her arsenal.

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.
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Pablo (yo) said...

Great blog!!!
If you like, come back and visit mine:

Pablo from Argentina

Juno said...

Hello Pablo from Argentina. Thank you. I will visit your blog right away.

chib said...

just a visitor

Nina Timm said...

I can't think of something else I would rather eat than a slice of this with my black morning coffee!!!I would prefer this with blueberries rather than pecan nuts too!!!

Cindy said...

Now you're talking! (Although the panna cotta was delicious)I also like the morning coffee idea. Sending Trev off to the cold store for more bluebs so I can try this one soonest!

Rose&Thorn said...

This is heaven on a plate - and who ate the cake while you were having babies? I remember this kind of cake from my childhood - thanks for bringing it back, now I can bake one for myself.

Juno said...

Thank you all. Rose, I don't know who ate the cake...

Jeanne said...

Mmmm - lemon and blueberries are a great combination! Love the story too - some interesting mental pictures ;-)

Robyn said...

Thank you-- i am now my husband's hero because of this cake! :) have made it 2 weekends in a row (and I am supposed to be the pregnant one with cravings)! Love your recipes and your blog :)