Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Blueberry Pound Cake, Just Because.

Two years ago, we invested in a small chest freezer for the basement. Into this chest freezer, among other things, we pack away such treasures as summer fruits to be enjoyed in the depths of Canadian winter. Like my 5 pound box of Nova Scotia wild blueberries, bags of cherries, peaches, strawberries and mango. My only problem? Bringing myself to use them.
I know that Martha would have an end date on these items, and intellectually I am aware that nothing lasts forever in the freezer, but I find it so hard to go ahead and use them up.
Joseph Campbell differentiates classic European dragons from classic Asian ones. In the simplest terms, Asian dragons represent power, magic and life-force while European dragons are hoarders. They guard the treasures deep in their caves, treasures they cannot use.
I have to remind myself to use the treasures that lurk in the freezer, and trust they will eventually be replaced with others. It is hard though, that box is getting low...

Blueberry Pound Cake - Carol Walters, Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More.
Makes one 9 inch bundt cake
2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour, plus 2 tsp for berries
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 3/4 cups strained powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and well dried
1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven, Heat the oven to 325f. Generously butter a 9-inch bundt pan, dust with flour, then invert it over the kitchen sink and tap firmly to remove the excess flour. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together 2 1/3 cups of the flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. Place the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
4. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a the paddle attachment. Add the lemon zest and mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in colour, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil, taking about 1 minute, then mix for 2 minutes longer. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
5. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low. Add the powdered sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes, then blend in the vanilla. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the eggs. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining eggs, dividing the dry ingredients into three parts and the eggs into two parts, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing until well blended after each addition. Scrape down the side of the bowl again as needed.
7. Spread one-fourth of the batter in the prepared pan. Gently toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tsp of flour, then sprinkle 1/3 cup of the berries evenly over the batter, pressing them in gently. To layer the remaining batter and blueberries, press in one-third of the remaining blueberries. Alternate the remaining batter and blueberries, using just enough batter to cover the berries each time. You should have about layers of batter and four layers of berries.
8. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and springy to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted deep into the center comes out clean.
9. Remove the cake form the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and gently lift it off. Let the cake cool completely.
It is minus twenty-three this morning, the winds are twenty kilometers per hour and with the windchill factor it feels like minus twenty-eight. (That's minus 18.4 American) These trying times call for more than a bowl of cold cereal for the hardy commuters, they call for a good-old-fashioned, somebody-loves-me, homemade baked treat.
This light and moist pound cake works double duty, pair it with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream for dessert, then turn around and pair it with low fat yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast. Who has time for making pancakes before the sun comes up? This baby is already sitting pretty in the cake dome waiting for us. Don't forget the coffee, lots of coffee.