By Nancy Pollard
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years, Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues.
There are so many cakes on the summer theme of lemon and blueberries. I am always testing alternatives, but this one still comes up as an outstanding example. Your blueberries can be frozen and drained, or they can be local ones—although the blueberries from Maine take no prisoners. This cake freezes well or you can leave it under a dome at room temperature for a week.
I make this cake in a copper tin-lined mold, which has never failed to release beautifully. I also have done it in a commercial aluminum mold such as Fat Daddio or the ones from Bundy Baking Solutions. I never use nonstick molds anymore. I’ve found that the nonstick surfaces give a cake crust a sweaty texture and look. Plus, they never last as a baking surface and have to be discarded into the ether of landfills.
For baking sugars, you cannot beat the quality from India Tree. I use a Thermapen to test the doneness of all my baked goods. It is one of the best utensil investments you can make. For a domestic vanilla, I think Nielsen-Massey products are first-rate, but the Vanilla Bourbon Essence from Grasse, France is my favorite. I add the Blueberry Essence to the fresh berries and even a bit the Lemon one if lemons are not flavorful. And I am really happy with Bakewell Baking Powder. I don’t know the why, but results are better with it than when I have used other brands.
Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake
Adapted from the 1991 Gourmet magazine best recipes collection.
3 cups (3/4 liter) picked-over blueberries
Enough flour (or almond flour) to dust the tube pan and coat the blueberries
1/3 cup (79ml) milk
6 large eggs
1½ tablespoons (22ml) vanilla
2-2/3 cups (360gr) white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (4gr) double-acting baking powder
1¼ teaspoons (8gr) fine sea salt
1½ cups (339gr) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (110gr) granulated sugar
¾ cup (142gr) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup freshly grated lemon zest (zest from 4 large lemons)
1½ tablespoons (15gr) flour or almond flour
For the syrup
1/3 cup (79ml) fresh lemon juice
½ cup (100gr) granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 250F (175C). Grease and flour the interior of any tube pan that has about a 12-cup capacity (I use almond flour (actually a powder) instead of regular all-purpose flour).
In a bowl, coat the 3 cups of blueberries with 1½ tablespoons flour, or almond flour.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together the 2-2/3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and zest until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl, alternating with the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Whisk the batter after each addition until just combined before adding the next.
Fold half of the blueberries into the batter.
Spoon one-third of the batter into the prepared tube pan, spreading the batter evenly, then sprinkling ½ cup blueberries over the top.
Repeat twice more, ending with blueberries on top.
Tap the pan on the counter to help settle the batter evenly.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until your instant-read thermometer reads 200F (93C).
To make the syrup:
Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil
When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove the pan from the heat.
Remove the cake from the oven, poke the top all over with a skewer, and brush with half of the syrup.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes and then unmold onto a cooling rack.
Brush the inverted cake with the remaining syrup before transferring to a serving plate.
I use a Thermapen thermometer to test all baked goods. It is the most reliable investment a baker can make. At 205F the cake will have a slightly deeper crust.
India Tree caster sugar and their light Muscovado sugar are what I use in making this cake.
It’s optional, but if you add ½ teaspoon of Blueberry Essence from France to the blueberries, you will have a more intense flavor and aroma.
I also add ¼ teaspoon of Lemon Essence to the cake if the lemons I get are not very flavorful.
The flavoring essences from Grasse, France, are superior to our domestic flavoring extracts. You will use less, and the aroma and flavor will be exceptional. The brand we carried at La Cuisine can be purchased at SimplyGourmand.com.