Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ode to the Blueberry

When I was growing up in Maryland, the blueberries I picked were wild ones called Huckleberries.  They were much smaller than the ones I'm use to now, but oh, so sweet.  My mother would make the most wonderful pies and jam from the bounty we found along our driveway.

The other day, my sister, Barbara, mentioned she had picked over 2 quarts of blueberries and it made me think about the time I convinced our daughter, Kelly, that going to a U-Pick It farm in Farmington, Massachusetts would be a fun outing!  Kelly was home for the summer from college, but Erin was doing an internship at Conde Naste publishing, so she escaped my "bright idea."  It was really a beautiful blueberry patch and the owners had taken the precaution of netting it to prevent the birds from stealing the harvest.  We each brought a large bowl and began picking, going down one row, then another.  It became a contest with us; shouting out, "You should see how big this one is!" or "Oh my gosh, this bush is covered!"  Needless to say, by the time we were done, we had picked over twenty-five quarts!!

In addition to the possibilities of blueberry pie, muffins, jam, and yes, freezing some for later, I loved making a blueberry cake with ribbons of blueberries swirled through.  Well, I didn't pick these blueberries, but rather bought them at Whole Foods in New Jersey, and decided that Maddie and I would create our version of blueberry cake to share.  I took lots of photos of Maddie because just watching her intensity with baking makes me smile and I thought back to when my mother would just let me try things.  I just know this is a start of a good baker!

Blueberry Streusel Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamon
1 cup milk

Blueberry Filling
1 pint (2 cups) washed blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar

Streusel Topping
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamon

In the KitchenAid, and using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  I cracked them in a separate bowl and had Maddie add them to the mixer.
Beat well, after each addition, then, scrape down the bowl and beat again.  Maddie then, added the vanilla and sour cream.  Finally, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices alternately with the milk, ending with the flour.
After the batter was made, Maddie concentrated on creating the streusel.  She mixed the flour, sugars, and spices, then I poured the cooled melted butter over the mixture and she helped me blend it with a fork.  This makes the best streusel and sometimes, I mix up a double batch and freeze it to have ready to top muffins!
Lastly, we mixed the blueberries with the brown sugar and everything was ready to layer in a prepared (sprayed with a oil/flour spray) 12-cup bundt pan*.  Preheat oven to 350F-degrees/Convection (if you have convection) otherwise on Bake.
Start with the batter, layer half the blueberries, more batter, the rest of the blueberries, and finally top with the last of the batter.  Sprinkle the streusel on top.  Maddie couldn't help but taste!
I love seeing her with flour on her face...she really gets into baking!
The cake should bake about 1 hour~20 minutes, but test with a wooden skewer to make sure it's done.  Very important--let the cake rest in the bundt pan at least 20 minutes before turning it out on one plate, then flipping it to your serving plate.  I was in a rush and forgot to wait!  When I flipped it out after just 5 minutes, it spread out because the blueberries had not cooled.  Even some days, things don't always come out perfect, but having this time with Maddie and remembering picking blueberries with Kelly was worth the effort.  Enjoy!
*You could also bake this in a 9"x13" baking pan (Erin doesn't own one!) and reduce the time to 55-60 minutes, but watch for a golden brown.


  1. Oh that Maddie is so cute! Growing up a farm kid in the Pacific Northwest, I loved blueberries, but was the most afraid of picking them. For whatever reason, the yellow jackets just loved them, so you had to be really careful when sticking your hands in to pick where you couldn't really see who was hiding in there. Either that, or wear big gloves! We'll be in Oregon in July and my mouth is watering thinking about all the fresh fruit. I took it for granted as a kid, just thought everyone had that kind of access and abundance.

  2. Susan, I just want to reach right in a have one of those blueberries they look delicious! I always love hearing your stories of Kelly it brings me closer to her and makes me smile. Maddie is just too cute!! She looks like she is certainly a baker in the making! : ) This recipe is on my list this weekend, I can almost taste it! xoxo

  3. I forgot my bit of trivia that I discovered when we moved to Massachusetts and I have been testing my friends and family with it ever since! There are only 3 fruits indigenous to America...
    Yes, blueberries (that was easy, duh!), cranberries, and concord grapes! All the other fruits we enjoy were brought here by our ancestors; which I think is also cool.

  4. I bet she is the cutest little Sous chef you have ever had! So sweet! The cake looks delish too! :)

  5. The blueberry streusel cake looks wonderfully delicious!! I usually make the Sour Cream-Blueberry Cake from Williams-Sonoma but will definitely try this one. Maddie is certainly a great little helper! (I knew about blueberries and cranberries but not about the concord grapes.)

  6. This looks really good, although this recipe may have ended my personal bakers career! That's all I'm allowed to say on this subject. I've been threatened with bodily harm and that's just from what I was told happened. I've not seen the pictures yet. I did tell her how cute Maddie was with the little spot of flour on her face,that's when Barb told me where all she had flour.

    PS. Barb really did not threaten bodily harm, but she did threaten to withhold sweets.

  7. Libby~Should I have Maddie come to your house and give you some lessons since your personal baker may not answer you phone calls? Love you, Susan xoxo

  8. Send the little cutie on down here, I am sure she could teach me a few things! Just remember to pack her pink rolling pin. I do have 9 X 13 baking dishes and a bundt pan!
    My personal baker would never ignore my phone calls! She knows that I know where she lives!!!