Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{TWD} Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake


Perhaps the best part of summer is the return of fresh berries (optimally, local) at affordable prices. I love eating them by the bowlful and handful, but I try to save some for baking also. The bakers of Tuesdays With Dorie got a chance to bake with berries this week; the assigned recipe is Dorie Greenspan's Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake.

It's tempting to doctor this cake up a bit, adding a streusel topping or a glaze, but that would defeat the whole purpose of it being a "plain" cake. I mean, it's right there in the title! It's a quick and easy cake, provided that your ingredients are at room temperature, and I wanted to test it the way Dorie intended it to be. Besides, how plain can a cake really be that boasts both blueberries and brown sugar?

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The recipe for this cake is on this post on the blog Everyday Insanity, by Cindy

- The cake is supposed to be baked in a 7x11 pan. I do have that size pyrex baking dish, and it's pretty rare that I get to use it for baked goods, but I like square cakes, so I used my 8x8 metal pan with a removable bottom. A closer fit would probably have been a 9x9 pan, but I wanted a taller cake.

- I think I truthfully can say I made this one "as written" - absolutely the only thing I changed was the spice component, which was optional. Rather than the 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, I added 1 tsp of ground ginger.

- Including a pint of blueberries made for a high ratio of berries/batter. I gave some thought to dredging the blueberries in flour before folding them into the batter so they wouldn't drop to the bottom of the cake as it baked, but instead I succumbed to laziness. I didn't want to use another clean bowl, and I was hopeful that the batter was thick enough to support the berries without sinkage.

- My cake pan is dark and non-stick, so I decreased the temperature to 360 degrees instead of 375. The cake was in the oven for 40 minutes, and I let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan via the removable pan bottom.


- As I learned when I cut into the cake, the berries had indeed sunk to the bottom.

the verdict:

This cake may have "plain" in the title, but that doesn't mean it's boring or bland. Or unpopular. My tasters all loved this one, and piece after piece disappeared from the serving plate. I enjoyed the texture and the flavor from the brown sugar, but I was wishing that my blueberries were not those sweet, cultivated ones. To me, the intense flavor burst from tiny wild blueberries would have been better in this cake. My tasters were unconvinced; they liked the cake just as is.

14 comments:

Cindy said...

Thanks Nancy for baking along with me. This cake really was good. I always enjoy you thoughtful notes. They really are helpful! Have a great day.

Cakelaw said...

I agree - this cake was not that plain at all! Yours looks wonderful.

Clivia said...

I had that same temptation of wanting to add streusel. In this case, plain is perfect.
Your cake looks lovely!

Nicole said...

I made mine in a 7-ish x 11-ish oval baker and it worked. My blueberries sank also but it tasted good.

Beth said...

I loved this one! Sunken berries and all...

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Beautiful cake, Nancy - I love that top photo! :)

Jessica said...

This cake was excellent - "plain" or not. Your cake came out beautifully.

Rachel said...

yours looks gorgeous! i am so excited to have berries available locally again too!

Kayte said...

I decided that the blueberries belong on the bottom...I like them there. I think they are SUPPOSED to be on the bottom...lol. I am laughing about the "as written" except part...but then you knew I would be, right??? Speaking of being right, you were...I should have made a whole recipe of this as it was that good. Guess I will just have to make another. The brown sugar in this was delightful.

TeaLady said...

Good idea to use the 'false' bottom pan. Wish I had thought of that.

This made a really nice snack cake.

Used up the last of the blueberries we picked last summer. Great excuse to go get some more.

Pamela said...

Looks wonderful. This was yet another delicious surprise. I had to give it away before I ate it all...not surprising!

Tracey said...

I'm so intrigued by your square cake pan with a removable bottom. Where did you find that? I want one :) I think I'm in the minority this week but I missed a streusel or crumb topping on this one.

Jodie said...

We loved this one, too! Plain is definitely not bland! Yours looks great!

Di said...

I still need to go back and make this one. Il. Definitely keep your tips in mind. Glad to hear that everyone liked the cake so much. =)