Spring is on it’s way and with it, colourful flowers have started to grow, trees have started budding and birds are chirruping again; there’s nothing more heart warming than watching nature come back to life after a cold and dreary winter, especially when the temperatures soften and the sun comes out to shine..
It’s the ideal time of year to bake with seasonal fruits and vegetables, as beautiful and colourful as the nature that surrounds them…and what better time to start than the present: today I decided to make an extremely light, and fluffy yet very fruity, blueberry and walnut cake, which came out an absolute delight!
The only way to enjoy blueberries before the 1900’s was in the wild, yet nowadays blueberries are easy to grow, including in one’s own garden. They’re magnificent in the fall with their startlingly scarlet foliage and stunning in the springtime as they grow little white bells before large clumps of juicy blueberries appear. Beware of hungry birds though, who feast on these berries with relish!
There are as many colours as there are varieties of blueberries, and although the pink lemonade (or the pink champagne) blueberries are quite sweet and filled with anti-oxydants, we will be using the ordinary variety of “North American” blueberries for this recipe (although you can use the “European Bilberries” as well).
- 113g butter
- 95g of caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs yolks
- 192g of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 50g of crushed walnuts
- 67ml of milk
- 2 eggs whites
- 150g of fresh blueberries
- For the crumble on the top : 3 tablespoons brown sugar + 25g butter + 3 tablespoons of flour
Preheat the oven to 185°C (375°F) and grease (or line) a 25cm round baking tin.
Cream the butter and 3/4 of the caster sugar (reserve the last quarter for later) until light and fluffy then add the salt and vanilla extract. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites aside. Add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture and beat until well combined.
In a large mixing bowl, pour the flour, baking powder and walnuts and mix. Then, pour alternating with the milk, into the egg yolk and sugar mixture making sure that there are no lumps. Wash the fresh berries and sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda over them before adding them to the batter.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the leftover 1/4 caster sugar and beat again. Fold the egg whites gently into the cake batter, making sure all the ingredients are well combined. The mixture will be light and fluffy. Pour into your baking pan then sprinkle your crumble mixture on top.
To make the crumble mixture
Pour the flour and sugar into a small bowl and add the butter. Work with your fingers into the mixture becomes crumbly. Tip: you can add a 10-15g more butter if your crumble mixture is too dry. Tip: you can also make a simpler version of this cake by sprinkling some brown sugar on the top instead of the crumble mixture…
Bake for approximately 50minutes or until the tip of a knife comes out clean.
Enjoy this moist fruit cake with a cup of white Tuscany tea, which is a subtle blend of floral essence and has a light minty finish… just the perfect way to enhance the mood and and refresh the mind!
I hope to see you here again next week for many more exciting recipes and photos!
References: blueberries wikipedia
Also, many thanks to Stewart Abela for his beautiful nature photos.