Blueberry vanilla buttermilk cake

Sometimes the simplest ingredients combine to make something absolutely divine. Serve this cake in the morning or for tea and call it a coffee cake, serve it after supper with a scoop of ice cream and call it dessert.

The Runaway Spoon
Sprinkle demerara sugar, or plain white sugar, on top of this cake to make a crunchy crust.

Simple ingredients of the best quality produce the most amazing results. It always holds true. Fresh blueberries straight from the farmer's market, real vanilla, and creamy buttermilk, the best you can find. I mulled over ways to dress up the cake, make it more exotic or unusual, but in the end, I decided there is really no justification for that, because it is wonderful in its purest form. The crumb is tender, the blueberries juicy, and the top a craggy, sugary delight.

Demerara sugar is a coarse, granular light brown sugar that makes a crunchy crust on top of the moist cake. If you can’t find it, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of plain white sugar on top. This works as a special breakfast treat, or a dessert with a scoop of ice cream.

Blueberry vanilla cake
Serves 6 to 8 

3/4 cups butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

12 ounces fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

2 tablespoons demerara or coarse sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean. Beat until thoroughly combined and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

4. Beat in the flour, baking soda, and salt, alternating with the buttermilk, in three additions, ending with the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat until smooth. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula. Do not beat with the mixer or the berries will break up.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, wet your fingers and spread the batter out evenly. Sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the demerara sugar.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover the pan loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

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