Monday, July 20, 2009

Blueberry Boy Bait

One of my good friends from school and her new husband were hosting a barbeque this weekend and I asked if I could bring a dessert - it was self-serving, really, since it's always more fun to bake for a party. Since summer has finally come to Boston (and it turned out to be 80+ degrees the day of the event), I wanted to make something seasonal, ideally with berries of some sort. Luckily, Smitten Kitchen posted about an amazing-sounding blueberry dessert just two weeks ago, so I didn't even have to search through the hundreds of recipes tagged "dessert" in my Reader.

Since I was asked at the barbeque about the unusual dessert name, I decided to be better prepared for this blog post and actually looked it up. According to the first hit on Google:

"In 1954, a 15-year-old girl won second prize in the junior division of a Pillsbury baking contest with a moist and tender blueberry cake that was named after the effect it had on teenage boys--one bite and they were hooked. Topped with cinnamon-sugar and loaded with blueberries, it straddled the divide between coffee cake and dessert cake."

As Deb mentions on Smitten Kitchen, Cook's Illustrated updated the recipe for the modern times, which is a very good thing, since the original recipe called for shortening, and I have yet to bring myself to use it in anything. In any case, I'd say the blueberry boy bait was quite a success at the barbeque, and when we tried it to make sure it tasted OK before packing it to go, we couldn't help but leave a couple of extra pieces at home for consumption later.

[Note: all the credit for the photos in this blog post goes to Mihai, since I was too busy carefully transferring the boy bait (more on that below) into a sturdy container for transportation to our friends' house.]

Blueberry Boy Bait
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first)

For the topping:

½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan. (I spaced out and forgot to flour the pan, which would probably have been a problem had I decided to turn out the cake in the final step, but since I don't have a cooling rack and a large plate would still have been way too small for the upside-down-cake, I just cut it inside the pan and carefully transferred the pieces into the container I was using to transport the cake to the barbeque. So it wasn't a complete disaster like I had feared after all.)

2. Mix two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

3. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl.

4. Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of the milk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture.

5. Using a spatula, gently fold in ½ cup of the blueberries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Scatter the other ½ cup of the blueberries over the top of the batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over the batter.

7. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter, topping side up. (Or as mentioned above, you can cut it directly in the pan.) Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)


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