Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

This loaf cake has a wonderful springtime flavor of two fruits.  It is a blueberry cake that is offset by the tang of lemon.  There is only a cup of sugar in the cake (which is really tame for the amount of blueberries) but the tart lemon syrup drizzled on top upgrades the flavor to a whole new level. I believe the lemon is a crucial ingredient in the recipe.

There are certain tricks that bakers have when it comes to creating a moist cake. The addition of some type of dairy product is the favorite method. You can use buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Some people also use mayonnaise.  This particular recipe uses yogurt.  It did as expected, making the cake exceptionally moist and tender.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf
courtesy of Ina Garten via Smitten Kitchen 

1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen/thawed and rinsed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 eggs (room temp)
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup plus 1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs flour

Prepare a loaf pan (8 1/2 X 4 1/2) by greasing all the insides.  Then line the bottom and two long sides with parchment paper, letting the parchment overhang on the long sides of pan. Grease top side of parchment.  Lastly, flour all the parchment on the inside of pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour with the salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In a second bowl, add the eggs, yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and oil.  Whisk together until ingredients are evenly distributed and a smooth batter is formed.  Then, with a wooden spoon, fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Continue folding in the dry ingredients by 1/3  cup increments until no flour streaks remain in the batter.

In another small bowl, mix together 1 tbs of flour and the blueberries (making sure that they are well drained). Then gently fold the blueberries into the batter.  Do not stir too much or you will have a blue batter.  You actually want to keep the batter color yellow so the blueberries stand out in the cake's appearance.

Pour batter into pan, smoothing the top so all is even.  Bake until cake tester comes out clean, which should take about 50 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.  Place the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir and cook until the mixture is no longer grainy, then remove from heat.

Once the cake is done, remove from oven and let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.  Then pull on parchment handles of long sides and lift cake out of pan.  Flip and remove parchment paper and flip again, placing cake on cooling rack.  Then set rack over a rimmed baking sheet. 

Using a toothpick, poke several small holes in the cake.  Brush lemon sugar glaze over cake, allowing it to soak in before adding more.  Let cool to room temperature before cutting.