May 1, 2009

Blueberry Buckwheat Cake

I've had my eye on this cake for quite some time now and finally found a reason to make it (although you don't really need a reason). I found the recipe on Orangette and could immediately relate to a recent obsession with blueberry buckwheat pancakes. Luckily, this cake tastes quite like them.

I ended up making the cake for a potluck brunch and it really is perfect brunch food. It's subtly sweet with an almost overly moist (if that's possible) crumb, a hint of nuttiness from the buckwheat, a lightly buttery scent and a bright color and flavor from the blueberries.

One thing I would suggest is not pairing this cake with anything too sweet or salty. Its flavor is so simple that having, say, a bite of a gooey chocolate brownie beforehand will cause you to loose a lot of subtleties that this cake has to offer... not that I know from experience or anything...

This cake was originally a bundt cake but since I don't have a bundt pan here at school, I (unintentionally and unevenly) separated the batter into two loaf pans. I also added more blueberries (1 1/2 cups) because you can never really have too many.

As mentioned, the cake was super moist so I think the recipe could be tweaked a bit by adding either less butter, substituting skim milk for part of the buttermilk or reducing the amount of buttermilk. Also, this made a lot of cake so if you don't have a large brunch party to feed, perhaps halving the recipe and doing it in a loaf pan would be more appropriate.

Blueberry Buckwheat Cake
Adapted from Orangette

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup honey
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack to the middle position. Grease and flour a standard-size (10- to 12-cup) Bundt pan, and set it aside. [I used 2 loaf pans]

In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder, and whisk to mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs to break them up; then add the buttermilk and whisk to mix well. Add the butter, honey, and vanilla, and whisk well. Don’t worry if the honey hardens a bit in the cool liquid; keep stirring, and it will dissolve. Likewise, if the melted butter cools into little shards, don’t fret. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, and stir just to combine. If the melted butter has clumped, whisk very briefly but vigorously to smooth the batter. Do not overmix.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter about half of the blueberries [I would flour the blueberries before adding them as some of mine sunk to the bottom] over the top. Add another 1/3 of the batter, and top with the remaining blueberries. Top with the remaining batter. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes [mine took closer to 35- 40 minutes in the 2 loaf pans], until the cake rises, pulls away from the edges of the pan, and springs back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Note: This cake is even better after it sits for a day or so, which means great leftovers. Wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature, it will keep for up to four days. It also freezes well.

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