Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blueberry Almond Cake with Lemon Drizzle

This cake is the epitome of summer.  Blueberries, lemon, and almonds?  Oh and let's not forget to mention that this cake even has a hidden layer of cheesecake goodness inside and not called out in the name.  It's like a secret weapon.  But with all these deliciously fresh flavors, what more can you really ask for?

I made this cake to bring up to my husband's mini-family reunion earlier this month.  It was well received but in my personal opinon a bit too lemony.  I guess that's what you get when you just squeeze in a whole big juicy lemon without regard for the size and how much juice is contained versus actually measuring it.  Whoops!  Note to self, not all lemons are created equal and baking really is a science, not an art.

Speaking of lemons, for whatever reason, my lemond just DID NOT want to zest.  Maybe it's the fact that I don't own a microplane (sad face!) so I use the fine side of my grater.  It probably also doesn't help that said grater is also beginning to break.  Yeah, time to invest in that microplane.

I also kind of read the instructions wrong and accidentally mixed the blueberries into the cream cheese mixture instead of scattering them on top.  Thankfully I had just a few extra berries to scatter on top after I realized my mistake.  Same taste but I think it caused me to need to bake it longer before the cheesecake part set and didn't quite look as pretty as it really should have.  (Check out Beantown Baker's post on this recipe...hers looks so great!)

I think I'll leave this post relatively simple and sweet.  The picture kind of speaks for itself.  Delicious.

One Year Ago: Here's a few of them since I've sucked so bad at blogging lately!  Then again, as I look at the history August must be historically bad for me since there actually is only ONE recipe posted last August, too!  Honey Lime Grilled Chicken, Chicken Lo Mein, and Grands! Taco Melts (AKA Homemade Hot Pockets)

Blueberry Almond Cake with Lemon Drizzle
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Yields: 1 9-inch cake with 12 Servings


  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • A pinch of nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1.  Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch round cake or spring form pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup brown sugar and beat for approximately one minute until light and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for approximately two minutes after each addition. Alternately, add one-half of the flour mixture and one-half of the yogurt, beating briefly on low after each addition. Repeat. Stir in the lemon juice and almond extract. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, 1 egg, and the lemon zest for approximately two minutes until very smooth and creamy. Spoon this cheese mixture over the cake batter and spread, leaving a one-inch margin of cake batter exposed around the perimeter of the cake. Sprinkle the blueberries over the cream cheese mixture and the sliced almonds around the perimeter of the cake.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake to room temperature and serve.
  6. For the glaze, whisk together the lemon juice with the powdered sugar and drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake.
Source: Originally from Modern Comfort Food as adapted by and seen on Beantown Baker

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Look ma, no canning needed!

That's right, you too can turn your overflowing cucumber crop into delicious homemade pickles without the fuss of canning.  And the best only takes a few minutes to mix together and then about a day to soak in the flavor before you can enjoy crisp, sweet/sour/spicy pickles straight out of the container.

See, you can turn something like this (my cucumbers from my Bergefurd's Farm 1/2 CSA Share)....

Into This!

The recipe that inspired me called for the vinegar and sugar mixture (which I'll call the "juice") to be boiled in order to dissolve everything in.  It was 10:40PM when I made these pickles and I was too lazy to dirty another dish and heat up the stove.  So, I winged it.  I just put the sugar straight into the vinegar and then stirred it vigorously with a spoon.  Low and behold, it worked just fine and dissolved without much work.  I imagine that the amount of sugar you want to put in would also affect the solubility and whether you'd need the heat to help you out.  The original recipe had quite a bit of sugar in the juice but I cut it in half based on recipe reviews so that probably helped on the non-heated solubility front.  The carrots, banana peppers, and dill...those I added because I had them.  I think they were a nice flavor addition :).

Okay now let me let you in on an odd secret of mine.  I don't even like pickles.  No...that's an understatement.  I generally DESPISE pickles.  They're so salty and sour and not that fresh tasting and blech just overwhelming!  (How's that for a run-on sentence?).  Oddly enough, I DO have an affinity for sweet relish though.   And now, I have a new found respect for these pickles.  Yes, all very strange, I know.

Go make these pickles you (non-)pickle lovers, you!

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
Printer-Friendly Version

Prep Time: 10 Min
Chill Time: At least 1 day
Ready In: 1 day

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar (or you can substitute/mix in some cider vinegar if you like it a little sweeter)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 cups sliced cucumbers, cut into slices or spears as you prefer
  • 1 cup sliced peppers of your choice
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots, matchstick-style
  • Fresh dill (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. In a glass jar or plastic tupperware container, stir together vinegar, sugar, salt, and onion powder until well dissolved.  If using dill and crushed red pepper, add them to the container, too.
  2. Place the cucumbers, onions, peppers and carrots in container.  Ensure that the liquid covers all of the solid contents.
  3. Store in the refrigerator at least 1 day before enjoying.
Source: Inspired by All Recipes