This is a recipe I shamelessly lifted from the Smitten Kitchen blog. It's my favorite source of inspiration for edible art. Her photography is beautiful and her writing is honest and makes me laugh out loud. I made this recipe for the first time last summer and was a little frustrated with it. I wasn't intimidated by all the butter in this batter. I like butter. A lot. However, this batter is so rich it turned out almost crumbly in texture, and yet moist at the same time. Almost smooshy in texture, which isn't what I was looking for in a cake. Even a cake with this much butter.
So I tried it again, simply because I believe in this dessert. I'm going to invest in this relationship. And honestly, is there such a thing as a cake that is too moist? This one pushes the boundaries, but I'm concerned that it's not the cake. Maybe it's me. Maybe I didn't beat the batter enough? Maybe I didn't beat it enough so it could fulfill its cake potential? I really don't want to blame the berries. They were so perfect. So fresh. So juicy. All you could want in summer produce. But they were very, very juicy. They were heavy with juice. And as a result, the ended up as a purple layer on the bottom of my cake.
Even when dusted with a blanket of flour, even when lovingly sprinkled over the batter, they sunk to the very bottom. There was virtually no cake layer on the bottom; just berries. The batter wasn't up to the challenge of supporting their weight, apparently. This batter is something else. It's billowy, lush and glossy. Whatever you do, don't taste it. You won't be able to stop.
And so, I've determined to perfect the flaws that keep me from loving this recipe, or rather, that make me feel as if this recipe doesn't return my love. But, with that said, I've only heard good things from others who have tasted this cake. They weren't all boys, either. Click here for the back story of the name. And pictures of how I wanted the cake to actually look.
This recipe is a challenge for me. A delicious challenge that is rewarding, no matter what the outcome. It's as close as I'll ever get to being a scientist; testing, questioning and evaluating. And the pursuit is it's own reward. I'm still creating, even if it misses my own perfectionist mark, it's still my creation.
Blueberry Boy Bait
Adapted from Cook’s Country, which adapted it from the original
Serves 12, generously
2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (though buttermilk, which was all I had on hand, worked just great)
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first as it tends to muddle in the batter)
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)