February 11, 2010
Some days I'm very productive and some days I swear I fall asleep at night and can't remember one thing I did except for class. I think this could just be because I like to tune out those hours spent on homework, at the library, or really doing anything I don't enjoy. Today was a productive day. It's probably all because I woke up early this morning and started off with a piece of the crumb cake I made last night. I went to run some errands afterward and then headed to class. I even made it to the gym after class. I could end there and would still give myself a pat on the back.
Tonight I went and volunteered for an hour or so at Ronald McDonald House and made them cookies and brownies. Mostly I go in groups but tonight no one else could go so I just showed up by myself and got to baking. I really can't think of anything I'd rather do while volunteering and RMH is such a great cause that I'd go every night if I had time.
When I came back I had more of the blueberry crumb cake, which is now almost gone, and then baked two loaves of banana bread and worked on internship stuff. My need to write all this down might be saying something (i.e. a day like this is rare!) but I'm still in productive-mode so I that puts me in writing mode as well.
Now to the "Yum" cake. This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's amazing book Baking: From my home to yours. If you don't have this book yet, get it. I've loved everything I've made from it so far and have also found quite a few go-to recipes. This recipe is one of them. When I stocked up on strawberries at Costco I also bought a giant box of blueberries for this crumb cake. I looked through a few other bookmarked recipes before giving in to the fact that the only recipe I really wanted to make was this one. It's moist and flavorful on the inside but not too sweet which makes it appeal to a lot of different people. I snack on everything I make throughout the day and night despite its intended serving time, but this cake is truly great for whenever. I'm a blueberry addict and decided I was tired of waiting until blueberry season to start making all of my favorite dishes so prepare yourselves for many many more blueberry posts in these next few weeks.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
Recipe from: Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours
For the crumbs: *
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the cake:
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/4 orange
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
*I double the crumb topping and when pouring the mixture add a layer after pouring half the mixture. I strongly suggest doing this because it makes it extra delicious but it's not necessary.
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan (Pyrex is great for this) and put it on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms crumbs and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is mist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled--it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the butter milk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the refrigerator and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. There’s no need to try to get even pieces--these are crumbs, they're supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.