Scrumptious Blueberry Cake for a Crowd

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Creme Fraiche 2Fresh blueberries are in full season here in New England. At the local farmers’ market, every fruit vendor has bountiful displays of these luscious little orbs neatly packed in pint and half pint boxes. And, they’re not the only ones featuring this summer staple. The bakers are including them in pies and muffins, while the local yogurt maker is turning out blueberry smoothies sweetened with maple syrup.

I wasn’t surprised then when my culinary assistants, working in my kitchen last week, were all abuzz about blueberry recipes. Mary Webber, a new member of our team, described a simple blueberry pan cake that she has baked for years, and had us all pleading for the directions.

When the recipe arrived by email a few days later, I couldn’t believe how easy this dessert was to assemble. The cake is made with a classic batter of creamed sugar, butter, and eggs combined with flour and milk. Blueberries, coated in flour so that they bake suspended in the batter, are folded in last, and the mixture spread in a large baking dish rather than in cake pans.

I couldn’t resist adding a few touches of my own—a hint of lemon zest to the batter, buttermilk in place of milk for a tender crumb, and some lemon-scented crème fraîche as a garnish. You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature, and offer it as a finale for a barbecue or a brunch. But here’s the best part: this dessert serves 12 generously making it a perfect choice when you have a crowd coming!

Blueberry Pan Cake with Lemon Crème Fraiche
11 tbsp (one stick plus 3 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature plus extra for the baking dish
2 2/3 cups flour plus 1/4 cup for dusting the blueberries and extra for the baking dish
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Lemon Crème Fraîche
1 1/2 cups crème fraîche (See note.)
4 tsp grated lemon zest
4 tsp sugar
Mint sprig for garnish, optional

1. Arrange a rack at the center position, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9- by 13-in glass or ceramic baking dish.

2. For the cake, sift together the 2 2/3 cup flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Rinse the blueberries in a large strainer and pat dry with paper towels. Then sprinkle the berries in the strainer with 1/4 cup flour, shaking off any excess flour.

3. With an electric mixer on medium high, cream the butter until it is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar in a thin stream and beat until blended into the butter, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low, and add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat in 2 tsp lemon zest and the vanilla.

4. Remove from the mixer and fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter evenly in the baking dish. Bake until a tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is very lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove and cool 10 minutes or longer. Cut into 12 portions.  Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. (The cake can be prepared 6 hours ahead; cool completely in the baking dish, then cover with plastic wrap and leave at cool room temperature.)

5. For the Lemon Crème Fraiche whisk all the ingredients except the mint together in a serving bowl. (Lemon Crème Fraîche can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.) Garnish the bowl with a mint sprig if you like.

6. To serve, sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar and with cinnamon. Serve each slice with a generous spoonful of Lemon Crème Fraiche. Serves 12.

Market note: Crème fraîche is available in most supermarkets in the dairy section. Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2013

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4 thoughts on “Scrumptious Blueberry Cake for a Crowd

  1. I made this delicious cake last weekend for my family. It was a huge hit with everyone and I know I’ll be making this again soon! Thanks Betty!

    • Glad you liked it Thorne, and many thanks for letting me know that I had added the sugar in the wrong place in the directions. It’s corrected NOW!

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