Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blueberry Crumb Spice Cake



Summertime blueberries  (New Jersey Fresh!) , cinnamon and spice and incredible crumb topping ........delicious at any time of day.

This cake is lightly adapted from a great blueberry cake found in Paula Shoyer's cookbook, The Kosher Baker and my favorite crumb recipe, adapted from Melissa Clark's Rhubarb Crumb Cake (New York Times, June 2007). Combining the two proved that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.

Choreography: 
The cake is made in two steps. Make the crumb first and set aside. The crumb can be made several hours before you intend to make the cake.  In an effort to speed the process, I've tried to make the crumb, cover in an airtight container and freeze the unbaked crumb. I found that the texture was affected slightly and wouldn't recommend it; however, making the crumb several hours before using it won't harm it at all.

When you are ready to make the cake, the fruit filling is prepared before you assemble the cake batter. Use the recommended spices as a starting point, if you like a particular spice more than another, play with the combination!

The cake is assembled in layers: batter, fruit filling, batter and crumb topping.  Bake and cool before serving. A scoop of vanilla sorbet or ice cream could only improve an already delicious cake.

Equipment: 
This cake doesn't require an electric mixer. All ingredients were mixed by hand with mixing spoons.

  • 9x13 baking pan (I use a glass baking pan because I wanted to serve the cake in the pan and thought this looked more attractive than a metal baking pan)
  • Measuring cups, spoons, kitchen scale 
  • 3 large mixing bowls 
Make the crumb topping first
Ingredients: 
Crumb topping:

1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c melted margarine (use butter if you aren't concerned about the cake being pareve)
1 3/4 (7 oz) cake flour (you can use all-purpose flour, it will result in a slightly heavier crumb)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp kosher salt

Use fresh or frozen blueberries 
Blueberry filling:
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries                
1 Tbsp granulated sugar or vanilla sugar
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger          





Cake batter:
3/4 c neutral vegetable oil (plus a bit of oil for greasing the pan)
1 c  (6 oz) granulated sugar                  
1/2 c  (3 oz) brown sugar
Mix the batter by hand 
3 extra large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c (11 oz) all purpose flour (plus a tsp or two for dusting the pan)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamon


Procedure:
Crumb:
1. Melt the margarine (or butter). Add the extract into the melted margarine.
2. Combine the flour and spices
3. Whisk the melted margarine and flour mixture
4. The mixture will resemble dough. Set aside (or cover and chill for use several hours later)

Blueberry filling:
1. Toss the blueberry filling ingredients together in a bowl, set aside















Cake batter:
1. Grease an 9 x 13 baking pan (glass or metal) , dust with 1-2 tsp flour . Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat the eggs, set aside
3. Measure the spices into a small bowl, set aside
4. Measure the sugars
5. Sift baking powder into the flour, add the salt and spices. Mix.








6. Mix the oil and sugars together in a large mixing bowl, add the egg and mix. Add the orange juice and vanilla and mix.

















7. Mix the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. The resulting batter will be thick.











8. Spread approximately half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with blueberries and then top with the remaining batter. The top batter layer may be "dropped" and spread over the blueberries. Don't aim for perfection, you may not have enough to cover the berries entirely and the thick batter will be difficult to spread.






































9. Take the topping, break up any very large lumps. Sprinkle the topping over the top layer of the cake.

























10. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees, slide the assembled cake into the top third of the oven. Bake for approximately 45-55 minutes. Check with a cake tester to determine when the cake is done. Cool before slicing. (try not to pick pieces of the crumb!)