Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blueberries Part II

Jo has all the essentials covered in her version of our happy baking escapade.  I love it when a plan comes together and we get to Skype our way through a recipe.  As a note, BabyBella is a big fan of Jo's to the degree where every time she's helping me make something new and unusual she always reminds me to either Skype Jo or take pictures.

In case you're wondering what Jo looks like, here's a picture of her as we're talking (after the break):

Wave to Jo!
(What? I'm just showing you what I see)
Anyway, Jo's timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I'd bought two pounds of blueberries at my local club and had just reached smoothie saturation point and needed a new idea on how to finish the remaining blueberries.

As Jo noted, the batter came together easily with our couple tweaks.  For me, it seemed like a ridiculous amount of butter (I use less than two sticks in a layer cake--both layers!) but went with it.

Unlike Jo, I used the stated amount of blueberries and noted immediately that it didn't seem like enough. But, as I only had a cup of blueberries total, I followed the directions.  Here's my half cup of blueberries ready to dive into all that buttery goodness:

Same goes with the sprinkling part.  "Even" is not a word that executes well in my world so I just flung the second half cup of berries merrily about.

For the second half of the topping I doubled the cinnamon.  In retrospect, since I was using only a 9x9 pan I probably should have cut the sugar amount down by a third, but oh well. Instead I ended up with a nice thick coating.

Forty minutes later it passed the toothpick test (having used less berries I didn't run into Jo's problem of stabbing them while checking for doneness).  I got distracted by dinner and BabyBella so actually let it cool in the pan for about another 40 minutes but that didn't cause any issues when I flipped it out as I'd well-sprayed the pan.

As you can see, the topping got all brown.  I definitely loved that slightly caramel crunch.

And here we are, final product all ready to go.  BabyBella and I dove in with the pieces still slightly warm.
So what did we think?
- Pros: The cake part was very moist and the crunchy topping was a nice contrast to the softness of the cake. The recipe overall was easy to throw together (Jo and I probably whipped it together in ten minutes even with providing each other feedback as we went) and I can see it being perfect for bringing to a pot luck or a classroom party.
- Cons: Definitely needed more blueberries.  There were slices with little to no blueberries whatsoever which kind of ruins the point (you can see how sparse some of the slices are in the background).  Admittedly, I used a 9x9 pan which helped result in this, but I think I prefer the slightly taller pieces to what Jo had with the 9x13.  Also, as Jo already mentioned, despite our additions of cinnamon and vanilla the cake part was just missing something--though I did notice that in the original she used buttermilk whereas Jo and I both used plain milk, as per recipe, which definitely would change the flavor.
- Neutral: it was very sweet.  BabyBella liked that quite a bit as did my friend with a serious sweet tooth. But I personally found that the already sweet cake plus topping to be a bit much.

Verdict: Definitely worth another try.  As-is the recipe is fine and I would certainly not be embarrassed to serve it to anyone.  With the sweetness I can see this being a big kid-pleaser.  However, to suit my personal preferences I think I'm going to tweak it.  Jo mentioned using lemon zest in the batter which definitely would help.  My personal changes would be to cut down the butter and sugar then add in yogurt in addition to the changes I already noted above.  Maybe even the evilly delicious tangy Greek yogurt (ok...my mouth is watering now).  I think that would preserve the really lovely moistness while cutting back on the sweet and adding that tangy zing that would complement the blueberries. 

Hmmm, wonder what cooking adventure Jo will take us on next...  

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