You are damn lucky to see a picture here. This cake almost did not make it into the oven.

Over a few decades, I have eaten my share of batter: cookies and cakes and brownies and … Easily, very easily, this is the best batter I have ever tasted. I just wanted to eat all the batter on the spot. My sweet wife, Suzi, raised a modest objection.

“Get out of the kitchen,” she said, knife raised. I never dispute her when the blade is sky high. She’s a trained batter protector.

Oh, the cake is good, too, very, very good. Ken Haedrich, the creator of this pound cake, says it is tender and creamy. It is. The recipe is pound cake accented with cream cheese. The result is a cake that is marvelously soft to the tongue and rich in flavor. This has become our “go to” pound cake recipe. Make it once, and it will be your family standard, too.

This recipe comes from The Harvest Baker, Ken’s newest book. It’s a magnificent tome and this recipe is one of gems waiting for your discovery. And your tummy.

The name here, the “Back Bumper” part, comes from years of service as dessert for tailgating parties. I’m sure it was always the winner.


Back Bumper Blueberry Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • Butter for the pan
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature I
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze [Recipe follows]

Preparation:

Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, and line the bottom and two long sides with a single piece of parchment. Let it extend an inch or so above the pan on each side so you have something to grab when you remove the cake. Spread the blueberries out on a large plate or small rimmed baking sheet, and put them in the freezer for about an hour to firm up.

Adjust the oven rack so it is one position below the middle. Preheat the oven to 350° F (i8o°C).

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer — preferably a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater — cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon extract and mix in on low speed.

Add the dry mixture to the creamed ingredients, about a third at a time, beating on low speed until evenly mixed; scrape down the sides as needed. When all of the dry mixture has been added and the batter is smooth and creamy, add the blueberries. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold them in gently but thoroughly. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F (17O°C) and bake for another 45 to 60 minutes. When done, the cake will have risen nicely and the exterior will be a rich golden color. A tester inserted deep into the center of the cake should come out clean.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes. Slide the cake out of the pan and place it on the rack. Cool completely, then drizzle with a generous coating of Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze. Slice and serve. I usually cover this with plastic wrap, overwrap it in aluminum foil, and store it in the refrigerator. Slice the cake while it’s cold, but serve it at room temperature for best flavor. The cake also freezes beautifully for longer storage. Just slice, freeze, and remove pieces from the freezer as you need them.


Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze

Yield: enough for one loaf pan cake, about 2/3 cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

Combine the sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Whisk well. The glaze will be stiff at first, but it will smooth right out along with any lumps. Add the remaining milk, if needed, a teaspoon at a time. You are trying to arrive at a medium-thick, drizzleable consistency.


Source: The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich [Storey, 2017]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑500