While a lot of my recent cooking adventures have been for the benefit of this blog (and my stomach), I do have another outlet that regularly pushes me outside of my comfort zone—cookbook club. For those of you who don’t know of this brilliant phenomenon, a cookbook club is similar to a normal book club, but rather than reading a book each month, every member makes a recipe from a chosen cookbook and brings their dish to each meeting for a potluck feast. It’s the most glorious food day of the month.
Our cookbook club has chosen from a variety of cookbooks and websites at this point, but this time was particularly interesting. Instead of our normal dinner meeting, this month’s hostess decided to switch things up with….brunch! And from The New York Times to boot. It goes without saying that this was incredibly exciting for me, the breakfast enthusiast.
Since I don’t get to bake too often, I usually use cookbook club as an excuse to pull out the mixing bowl and make a sugary treat. This time was no exception. The moment I saw this Blueberry Poppy Seed Brunch Cake, I knew it needed to be mine.
This is my first time baking for this blog and I’m pretty excited to start testing out some desserts! I’ve been exceptionally healthy lately and am excited to switch things up. The recipe says making the cake will only take 40 minutes, but I seriously doubt that; zesting the lemon alone is going to be a major time killer. Despite this, I decided (recklessly) to do this the morning of cookbook club for optimum cake freshness. I sense regret coming my way….
Making the Cake
This cake is another multi-part recipe, broken up into the cake, filling, and glaze.
For the cake, I used:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (this took about 2 small lemons)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons poppy seed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Giant brand low-fat sour cream
For the filling, I used:
- 2 cups of fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
For the glaze, I used:
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons nonfat milk
- A bit of extra flour (around a tablespoon) for the pan
- Optional fresh blueberries to top the cake
- 9-inch springform pan
- Large bowl
- Measuring cups/spoons
- Medium bowl
- Cooking spray
- Baking spatula
- Small bowl
- Lemon zester
To get things started, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start on the cake portion of the recipe. In the large bowl, I begin to beat in the sugar and butter—and it promptly blows up in my face.
Welp. Great. That’s the danger of turning the mixer on too high. I frantically guesstimate how much of the ingredients I lost and quickly try to fix the mess. Hopefully this cake isn’t wrecked already.
After this right-out-of-the-gate fiasco, I add in the egg and begin the part I was most dreading—zesting the lemons. If I’m slow at chopping vegetables, I am positively glacial when it comes to zesting. It takes a ridiculous amount of time to get two teaspoons of the zest, but eventually I finish, add it to the bowl, and beat everything together on medium speed for two minutes.
Next, I lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup and put it into the medium bowl with the poppy seeds, baking soda, and salt; I then add this to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, completing the batter.
With the cake part finished, I generously grease the pan and lightly flour it to ensure nothing sticks. I then spread the batter over the bottom, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
Now on to part 2: the filling. In the medium bowl, I take all of the allotted filling ingredients and mix them together, then spoon the concoction over the batter. It’s now time to get baking!
After leaving the cake in the oven for 45 minutes, it comes out beautifully golden and gooey. As I let it cool, I quickly whip together the glaze, putting the milk and powdered sugar in a small bowl and mixing until well combined.
Once the cake is cool, I remove the sides of the pan and drizzle the glaze, then realize it would have made more sense to put the extra blueberries on first so they’d be glazed as well. At this point I’m already running late, so I bring the blueberries for people to add on as they please and call it a morning on this recipe.
The Final Product
Wow. It’s so…beautiful? I can’t believe I actually made this. I’m almost afraid to eat it, it’s so pretty. Almost. But time-wise…
YIKES. That took over an hour longer than the recipe said! I was expecting to go over, but wow. I hope the taste is worth the time.
I don’t get to taste the cake until brunch is served, but it is well worth the wait. Topped with the fresh blueberries, the cake is perfect. Just the right balance of sweet cake and tangy blueberries, still warm from the oven with the perfect amount of glaze to bring it all together.
The cookbook club members agree and there is barely any left after we wrap up for the day. This is a major success for my first klutzing around dessert attempt.
Though the dessert itself was great, I’ve got to say the actual recipe format left a bit to be desired. Certain areas of the instructions could have used clarification or adjustment, most notable that the blueberry topping should be added before the glaze, as the article’s picture clearly shows. And unless you had a sous chef prepping your ingredients, no way it would only take 40 minutes; even taking away the baking time, assembling the ingredients took 30 minutes longer than the recipe suggested.
All in all, I would absolutely recommend this recipe to interested bakers. Just learn from my mistakes before you try to pull this one together for your next Sunday brunch.
FOR THE CAKE:
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (195 grams)
- 2 tablespoons poppy seed
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sour cream
FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed, drained on paper towels
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
FOR THE GLAZE:
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons whole milk
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. In large bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add lemon peel and egg; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, poppy seed, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream. Spread batter over bottom and 1 inch up sides of greased and floured pan, making sure batter on sides is 1/4 inch thick.
- In medium bowl, combine all filling ingredients; spoon over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool slightly. Remove sides of pan.
- In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and enough milk until glaze is of desired drizzling consistency; blend until smooth. Drizzle over top of warm cake. Top with a handful of fresh blueberries, if desired. Serve warm or cool.
Have a food you’d like to see me klutz around with? Let me know in the comments or reach out through my contact page!