What to do with all those beautiful, plump blueberries you’ve brought home in eager anticipation of incorporating it in breakfast fare, snacking on or baking up a sweet treat? While blueberries are still in the markets and the clamshells are filled with healthy berries, pick up an extra basket (if the prices are good) and plan on freezing a stash for use later on in the year when they’re not in season.
Pick through the berries, removing soft and moldy ones and keeping the larger, plumpest berries for freezing. Remove any stems.
To wash before OR after you freeze is debatable:
Some sources advise to rinse when they’re frozen before use, others before freezing. I haven’t noticed a difference as to texture when rinsing and drying before freezing, so the method I use is before freezing.
Gently rinse and pat dry with a paper towel and spread out on a baking sheet so that the berries are in one layer. You can let them set out a bit to finish drying. Place your baking sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen, usually overnight is best. Store in labeled (use a Sharpie and include the date added to freezer) freezer bags in your freezer. Now when you’re in the mood to whip up some berry muffins, coffee cake, smoothies or other sweet healthful treats, you have your own stash of tender-loving-care prepared frozen berries.
About this Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
I saw the word “buttermilk” and my eyes hurriedly and hungerly scanned back to this recipe, found in the latest issue of bon appétite, July 2011. No blackberries in my fridge, so blueberries were used instead. This cake is so quick to make. Need something for a brunch or breakfast…how about entertaining guests? This is elegant, seasonal and delicious. The best thing is that it’s not too sweet and it looks pretty with the dusted powdered sugar sprinkled all over the vibrantly colored berries. I used more berries than called for in the recipe, you could use the 2 1/2 cups and be okay, but I over-indulged and used an extra 1/2 cup.
When you’re finished whipping up the batter, taste the batter. The zest gives it a zing and you’ll want to lick the rest of the bowl and spoon. It’s that good. Leftover cake should be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. Pop a slice in the microwave to lightly warm and don’t forget to dust with powdered sugar before serving!
- The original recipe used 2 1/2 cups of fresh blackberries. Here I’ve used 3 cups of fresh blueberries. Although I haven’t tried it, if you have raspberries on hand, using both to equal 2 1/2 cups could work out beautifully too.
- The powdered sugar quickly absorbs into the blueberries. Dust with the powdered sugar before serving slices, or right before you’re going to present it to guests.
- I’ve modified the baking temperature and time to 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check on your baking cake about an hour into the baking time to gauge whether you should adjust the temperature and/or baking time.
- Watch the cooling times to let the cake set before becoming too anxious to release the sides of your springform pan and inverting the cake. Otherwise, prematurely handling the cake could result in a broken cake and messy berry layer.
- If you have some fresh berries that were used for the cake, serve a smattering (yes, that’s really a word) on the side of each serving before dusting with the powdered sugar.
2 1/2 – 3 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted then measured), plus more for preparing baking pan
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for preparing baking pan
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Position your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
Butter a 9″ springform pan; line bottom with a fitted round of parchment paper; butter parchment and dust with flour. Tap out excess flour.
Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup of sugar. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
Sift 2 1/3 cups of flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a hand or stand electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and 1 1/3 cups sugar at medium-high speed until its pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl half-way through beating time.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest and continue beating on low speed; beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two so that you start and end with the flour mixture in three additions. Do not over mix.
Pour batter over berries in the prepared pan and smooth the batter over.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and a testing knife through the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes. Run a thin knife along sides to assist in loosening. Remove pan sides and then invert the cake onto a rack OR your serving plate. Remove pan’s bottom and carefully pull back the parchment paper.
Dust top with powdered sugar and let the cake cool completely.
Dust with additional powdered sugar when serving each slice.
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.