We are getting a lot of amusement out of describing this roller coaster weather. On Friday night, it was so clingingly muggy and hot that we turned on the air conditioning. On Saturday night, after a day of plunging temperatures and changing clothes every couple of hours to stay warm and struggling around comically in pretty much maritime gales, we had to turn on the furnace. And when we went out to a surprise party Saturday night, I wore boots and a light down jacket.
So strange, but despite the goofy weather, it is June, after all – lilac season has come and gone, and the markets here all at once are full of pretty blueberries. Initially I approached them with suspicion – I don’t think we had even one good blueberry last year. But this year is different: blueberries that are sweet, plump and bursting with juicy goodness. What did I want to do with them? Cake!
Ordinarily in June, I would hesitate to turn on the oven. But, thanks to spring here being as neurotic as a cat deciding if it will go in or out, it is still cool enough to bake. Initially I was planning to make a blueberry cake in the Polish style, with plenty of butter and sour cream in the batter. But when I started snooping around online, I came across a flock of lighter recipes using vegetable oil, Greek yogurt, and lemons. In other words, this recipe is basically all over the Web. I chose to use limes instead of lemons because they really are a herald of summer.
The cake has a texture much like cheesecake and a taste so fresh and cheerful it really is a message that spring is here and summer is around the corner.
Blueberry Lime Yogurt Cake
1 tablespoon butter, for the pan
1-1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (this time we used FAGE 2%)
1-2/3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes) plus the zest from the limes
For the glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the springform pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the 1-1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl aside.
2. Pour the blueberries into a smallish bowl and add the 1 tablespoon flour. Toss with your hands to coat the blueberries evenly. Set aside.
3. Put the sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl and mix together well – it will look brittle and coarse. Add the 3 eggs and the vanilla extract and mix until uniform. Then add the lime juice and zest and stir together again until it is uniform.
4. Working in alternating batches, add in the yogurt and the flour mixture. I did this in four batches because it was so pleasant and meditative to watch the yogurt and then the flour meld into the whole. Mix only until everything has just become smoothly blended together. The batter will be shiny and smooth, with pretty flecks of green zest.
5. Pour the coated blueberries into the batter and fold together gently. Scrape the batter into the springform pan and smooth the top.
6. Slide into the hot oven. Set a timer for 45 minutes. The cake is ready when a tester comes out of the center cleanly.
7. Put the springform pan on a rack and cool thoroughly. When it is cool, remove the pan rim. If you like, glaze the completely cooled cake. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and the lime juice until completely smooth, then pour on top of the cake and let it set. We did not use the glaze, and the cake was terrific without it.
If you are feeling extravagant, you can serve this with vanilla ice cream. This is a nice finish for a festive summer brunch or casual dinner.
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