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Here is a weekend treat distinguished by two things: a baking technique that may be quite new to you and a cake with intensified richness from lots of butter, sugar, and sour cream. Not to mention those blueberries.

The technique matter here is that the blueberries are added part way through the cooking, not at the start. The richness of the taste comes from using sour cream for the dairy — which accounts for the need to use both baking powder and baking soda. That’s just the situation as if you were baking with buttermilk, and I suppose you could try this cake that way, too.

Blueberries have a natural sour flavor — no, I don’t think they are sweet at all. Some of that sourness is shielded by making the topping with both sugar and cinnamon added to the berries. But that berry tartness and the sour of the sour cream do play off each other in the final dish and play well.

This recipe comes from the lovely book The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge.This book has a clever idea: you aren’t going to bake on Tuesday night, but you just might on Saturday or Sunday. There is a stream of recipes for you there, quick ones if your weekend is packed, some recipes to assemble on Saturday if you can make components during week, and major productions you can enjoy in a peaceful day spent in the kitchen with your flour, butter, and favorite wine.

You can read a review of The Weekend Baker here, but I would hustle to find a copy of this decade-old book and begin making weekend treasures for yourself. Start with blueberries.


Warm Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberry Cake

Yield: 8 servings [that’s four people each getting the second slice they will demand]

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 ⅓ cups (6 ounces/170 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup (5 ½ ounces/156 grams) sour cream

For the topping:

  • ¾ cup (3 ounces/85 grams) blueberries, rinsed and well dried
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:

Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180°C). Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-by-2- inch (22.75cm-by-5cm) round cake pan, tapping out the excess flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk until well blended. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer (stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or handheld mixer) on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time and beat just until blended. Add the vanilla with the second egg. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in 3 batches alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes.

As soon as you put the cake in the oven, make the topping. In a small bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix the ingredients together with a fork, lightly crushing the blueberries.

After the cake has baked for 10 minutes, sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of the cake. Continue baking until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes longer.

Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Using a thick, dry dish towel to protect your hands, invert a large, flat plate on top of the cake pan and, holding both the pan and the plate, invert them together. Lift the pan off the cake. Invert a flat serving plate on the bottom of the cake and invert the cake one more time so that the blueberries are on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Storage: Cover the cooled cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Source: The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge [Norton, 2005]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for1/60th second at ISO‑800