Blueberry, crumble cake
This is so simple to make and rewards you in spades. I love that. Minimal effort, maximum result. It has a lovely soft crumb which becomes softer by the day. And it has a crunchy, crumble top which by some miracle stays crunchy till the last mouthful is gone. The recipe is pretty much @Smitten Kitchen's,(my favourite recipe site, I am certain), although I add even more blueberries than her maximum suggestion and I'm glad of it. I wanted to feel the burst of blueberry in every single mouthful. I've made the cake with both fresh and frozen blueberries and I swear I couldn't have told them apart, though my wallet sure would.
The first couple of times I didn't have granulated sugar and so used a soft brown for the crumble. I made up for it by adding chopped nuts and desiccated coconut to the topping to compensate for any loss of crunchiness and as you can imagine, they only added to the rich pleasure of it all. Still I wondered if the granulated sugar would make any appreciable difference, so I did it again and I fancy - but it may be my imagination - that it did. Anyhow, it was wonderful.
And I'll let you into something - I made this on a Wednesday afternoon, had friends for tea, ate the rest for breakfast every day till Sunday.
(I should also say that there is a very similar cake made with plums, in my book The Cranks Bible (orion books 2001). It's till available in its eighth edition, now in unillustrated, small paperback format.)
For the crumble top
40g plain flour
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
55g unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
For the cake:
240g plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
150g granulated sugar
55g unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
500g blueberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup almond milk, other milk or buttermilk or a mix
55g pecan nuts (or walnuts), medium chopped
Heat oven to 190C. Butter a 21cm round cake tin (with at least 5 cm sides.)
Brush lightly with softened butter or a little oil and line tin with a circle of parchment paper, cut to fit. Cut a long strip with which to line the sides. Simply smooth down with your fingers, so paper adheres to sides and cake retains its perfectly circular shape.
Prepare the crumble topping by mixing the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Don’t panic if mixture seems too buttery. It’s meant to look like that and will crisp beautifully when baked.
In a medium bowl, by hand or in a mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, combine sifted flour, baking powder, and salt until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Beat in 1/3 of the mixed dry ingredients until just combined, followed by 1/2 the milk; repeating with remaining dry ingredients and milk and finishing with the dry mixture. The batter will be very stiff, but don’t worry. It all comes good in the end.
Fold blueberries into cake batter until evenly distributed.
Scoop cake batter into prepared tin and smooth flat.
Scatter the broken pecan nuts on top. Then sprinkle with the prepared crumble topping.
Bake in a pre - heated oven for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free.
I let the cake cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper, and then turn it out onto a rustic looking cake stand.
A little icing sugar dusted over lightens the look of this beautifully rustic cake but it’s not essential.
Cake keeps loosely wrapped in foil and in a cake tin at room temperature for three days. If longer, it might be best to keep it in the fridge. The crumb is softer by the day.
In my Australian winter, mild as it is, I kept it unrefrigerated for a full 5 days.