Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Blueberry Muffin Cake (AKA "Trouble Cake")

Not “trouble” because it’s difficult or laborious to make, but “trouble” in that this cake is SO good, it’s dangerous to have around!

This recipe comes from the terrific pastry chef, David Lebovitz, who adapted it from a wonderful baker, Zoe François. And now I give it to you. 

I had just frozen an extra pint of blueberries when I felt the urge for cake come over me (this happens quite often!). I had saved this recipe back in April & when I realized I had ALL the ingredients in-house, I knew I had to make it. 

It has all the qualities of the best blueberry muffin you ever tasted: an obscene amount of blueberries, a tender crumb, cinnamon, and walnuts. David adds cornmeal to the batter which gives it a nutty texture that I love. 

You’ll see in the notes a few suggestions from David about serving it (whipped cream, etc), but I don’t think it needs anything. The cake stands alone.

After it came out of the oven and cooled, I cut myself a generous “test” slice, and at the first forkful, uttered the words “OMG, this is trouble!” 

As this is blueberry season, I encourage you to make this cake now. You will not regret it.

Happy Baking!

Blueberry Muffin Cake



1 C (130g) AP flour

1 C (200g) sugar

1/2 C (60g) almond flour

1/4 C (40g) cornmeal, or whole wheat (or AP)

1 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

10 TB (5oz, 140g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temp

2 large eggs, room temp

1/2 C (125ml) whole milk, at room temp (I used half-n-half since I did not have whole milk)

1 t vanilla extract

Zest of one lemon

2 C (330g) fresh blueberries (if using frozen, see note)


1/2 C (60g) chopped walnuts or pecans (untoasted)

 3 TB sugar

1/2 t ground cinnamon

Pinch kosher or sea salt

2 TB (1 oz, 30g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Butter an 8” round cake pan. Cut a circle of parchment paper about 16” round. Smear it with softened butter, then line the inside of the pan with it, buttered side up, so it covers the bottom and up to the sides of the pan, which you’ll use later to help lift it out of the pan*. Press the paper up against the sides to flatten and smooth away any wrinkles.
  3. To make the cake, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until the butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, lemon zest, and mix just until the batter is smooth but avoid overmixing and overbeating it. (The batter can also be made in a food processor by mixing all the above ingredients together until smooth.)
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Cover the top with blueberries and use a butter knife to swirl the batter and blueberries together very slightly, just enough to distribute the blueberries and embed them a bit in the batter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  5. While the cake is baking, make the topping by mixing the chopped nuts, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the cake, place the pieces of butter in various places over the top of the cake, and bake until the cake feels just set in the center. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, about 15-20 minutes. (The original recipe said 25 minutes but I found it baked faster so the time will vary.)
  6. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then remove it to serve.
  7. Serve the cake on its own, or with plain or slightly sweetened yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream.

Notes: If using frozen berries, don’t defrost them before baking but use them frozen. Tossing them with 1 TB flour before strewing them over the top will help keep them from being overly generous with their juices, and also keeps them from sinking to the bottom.

*I used round parchment from Kana, which has built-in cake lifters (very convenient).

See handy parchment lifters?

Friday, July 23, 2021

Recipe-in-a-Flash: Watermelon, Feta, Black Olive Salad

A delish, quickie from Nigella Lawson. You can put this refreshing little salad together in about 5 minutes. It makes a perfect light lunch, or a terrific first dinner course on a balmy summer night. The combination of juicy watermelon, salty feta, briny black olives, fresh mint, and parsley is a winner. Plus, it is a gorgeous presentation.

Watermelon, Feta, Black Olive Salad (Nigella Lawson)

Serves 8*


1 small red onion

4 limes

3-1/4 pounds watermelon (sweet and ripe)

8 oz feta cheese

1 bunch fresh Italian parsley

1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

2/3 C pitted black olives (I used Kalamata)

Black pepper


  1. Peel and halve the red onion and cut into very fine half-moons and put in a small bowl to steep with the lime juice, to bring out the transparent pinkness in the onions and diminish their rasp. Two limes’ worth should do it, but you can find the fruits disappointingly dried up and barren when you cut them in half, in which case add more.
  2. Remove the rind and pits from the watermelon, and cut into approximately 1-1/2” triangular chunks (Nigella says math is not her strong suit so she hopes this makes sense). Cut the feta into similar sized pieces and put them both into a large, wide shallow bowl. Tear off sprigs of parsley so that it is used like a salad leaf, rather than a garnish, and add to the bowl along with the chopped mint.
  3. Tip the now glowingly puce onions, along with their pink juices over the salad in the bowl, add the oil and olives, then using your hands, toss the salad very gently so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime.

*Note: Nigella’s recipe is written for 8 servings. I very easily adapted it downward, but used her original measurements in this printing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Peach Pound Cake

My annual order of gorgeous Georgia peaches from The Peach Truck arrived a couple of weeks ago. They were in peak, picture-perfect condition so I could start enjoying them immediately. Besides eating them out-of-hand (over the sink!), and using them in a lovely peach-tomato salad, of course I wanted to make a dessert and this recipe from the NY Times cooking site sounded terrific. Not only does it have peaches within the cake, it also has peaches in the glaze! This cake is so moist, and bursting with buttery-juicy-peachy flavor. My pictures do not do justice to this wonderful cake. I took a photo of the cake from the side so you can see the height you get with this cake.

Peach purée



When looking at the recipe, it seems like there are quite a few steps, but it’s a really easy cake to put together. It keeps well-wrapped on the counter for 3 days, or a bit longer in the fridge (let it come to room temp before serving). You could serve it with fresh whipped cream, but it really doesn’t need anything else. If you have ripe peaches on your counter, make this cake!

Look at those big peach chunks!

Peach Pound Cake (NY Times)


1 C unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted and cooled to room temp, plus more for greasing the pan

2-1/2 C AP flour, plus more for dusting the pan

3 medium, RIPE, red-hued peaches (about 1 pound), pitted (see note)

1 TB fresh lemon juice

3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten

1-1/2 t vanilla extract

1 C unsifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed

1-1/2 C granulated sugar

2-1/2 t baking powder

3/4 t kosher salt


Step 1: heat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour a 9”x5” loaf pan and set aside.

Step 2: dice 1 peach into 1/3” pieces. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel and set aside.

Step 3: add the remaining 2 peaches and the lemon juice to a food processor or blender, and blend on high until completely puréed. Measure out 1 leveled cup of the purée and transfer it to a mixing bowl along with the melted butter, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Step 4: completely scrape down the sides of the food processor, and make the icing using the small amount of puréed peaches still remaining. Add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar to the remaining peach purée in the food processor and blend on high until combined. The icing should be thick but thin enough to drizzle. Add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or a splash of water to thin, as needed. Cover and set aside until it’s time to ice the cake.

Step 5: in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Pour the peach mixture into the flour mixture, and whisk well until the batter is thoroughly combined, then fold in the diced peaches. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan, spread evenly to the edges, and bake until crusty and golden brown on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 75-80 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Step 6: stir the icing a final time and spread it on top of the warm cake, allowing the extra icing to drip down the sides. Cool the cake to room temp. Slice and serve, or wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store on the counter for up to 3 days.

Note: use the boldest-colored peaches you can find, as their skins will lend blush to the glaze. However, you can also peel the peaches, if you mind the specs of skin.