the one very good thing about having pretty much no time to can all summer, and a good sized chest freezer in the cellar is one can acquire a whole lotta frisky summer fruits just waiting for a cake, crumble, grunt, or otherwise sweet baked good to snuggle up with during the long winter months.
since i have five very prolific blueberry bushes my freezer is heavy on the blues. for this cake i wanted to play up their dark side, leaving no memory of their blueberry-pie-and-ice-cream-summer-selves. warming spices and a moist and hefty crumb make this cake deeply satisfying all the way though a lazy winter morning, or one in which the outside cold must be braved before the sun barely overshadows the horizon.
you caught that right? cake for breakfast. it’s really not as sinful as it sounds. it’s just a tad sweet, and loaded with good-for-you berries. i mean, you could drag your muffin pan out and take your precious time to butter and flour every one of those little rounds. and oh! hey! you’re eating a perfectly acceptable breakfast muffin.
but appearances aren’t everything, and more pointedly, i don’t have time to pussy-foot around. i eat cake for breakfast – hear me roar! (roaring aside the cake is really, really good. if you have blues, huckleberries or even plums in your freezer go for it! eat this cake for breakfast!)
winter spiced blueberry cake
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- 3/4 cups coarse ground cornmeal or polenta
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
- 1 & 1/8th cup muscovado (or other light brown) sugar
- 1 egg (from free range hens please!)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 & 1/4 pound fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if using frozen)
- confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
- 1 nine inch springform pan
- butter and lightly flour pan. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- in a medium bowl stir together all dry ingredients except sugar.
- in a large bowl blend butter and sugar together until fluffy. add egg, vanilla extract and milk, blend until well combined. i use a handheld mixer for this, but you could go full pilgrim and do it with a wooden spoon, just make sure all is well blended.
- mix in dry ingredients, do not over mix. gently stir in blueberries. the batter will be quite thick, so some of the blueberries will not stay intact. that’s ok.
- pour, or more accurately, scoop into pan and bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. rotating halfway through. it is done when a toothpick from the center comes out clean.
the polenta softens and swells overnight within the baked cake, rendering it dense, moist and even better the next day. and better still the day after that. i’m in love with this cake!