When I first started cooking back in college, I was a devoted subscriber to Cooking Light magazine. Back then, they went to a lot of trouble to develop recipes that were low in fat; it was all about the skinless chicken breast back then. Over the years, Cooking Light has remained a great resource for dessert recipes for me because they are very rational about butter, usually have a high fruit and nut ratio and attempt to include whole grain flours. There is one dessert recipe from a 2000 Cooking Light cookbook that has remained in our family and is an annual during the spring. This is a cake my mom can handle making, so, she has been the baker of it for the last several years. It is a Blueberry Pound Cake made with lemon flavored yogurt (so it really doesn’t deserve lemon in the name). True to form, instead of including a pound each of butter and sugar, Cooking Light replaced and reduced. Like Cooking Light, I can not leave any recipe alone. I needed to make this my own.
I knew I had the makings of a good “not even close to a pound cake” with the Cooking Light recipe. However, I am very brave when it comes to lemon; I needed more than a flavored yogurt can provide. I wanted real lemon juice and zest and a good thick greek yogurt for richness. When it comes to the the flour, I was inspired by a recipe for blueberry cookies made with corn flour from a seminal whole grain baking cookbook called, Good to the Grain, (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010) by Kim Boyce. The cookies have great texture and color. I thought that the density of the Cooking Light pound cake could handle the weight and the grit that corn flour would provide. This cake is super dense, super lemony and not too sweet, even with the glaze. I reduced the sugar in the cake by half and increased the sweet-tart glaze that I love. Give it a try this spring. I think it will become one of your family favorites too. Finn ate 2 huge slices and left his cheddar bunny crackers in the dust!
I must make a confession about the blueberries for this cake….they are all the way from Chile! I do not usually buy produce in the winter that has been on that long of an airplane ride, however, my dear friend Dorte asked me for a good blueberry recipe on her birthday and I wanted to test it out again before I passed it on. Please wait to make this until the organic blueberries are coming from the United States!
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Required: 10 inch tube shaped pan (a pound cake pan or an angel food cake pan). Bundt cake pans are not the best choice for any cake with fruit as the ridges in the pan tend to cause the cake to break where the fruit touches the pan; it doesn’t look good when inverted.
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup or 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I leave mine out of the fridge overnight)
zest from 2 organic lemons, about 2 T (reserve lemons for juice added below)
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour (reserve 2 T to toss blueberries in)
1 1/2 cups organic corn flour, also called masa harina (do not use cornmeal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces plain greek yogurt, not non-fat
3 T lemon juice
2 cups organic blueberries
1. Beat sugar, butter and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well blended, about 3-5 minutes, making sure you scrape the bowl on the bottom and sided half-way through the mixing.
2. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until blended.
3. Add the eggs and egg white, one at a time until blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flours (did you remember to reserve 2 T for the blueberries?), baking soda and powder and salt and mix with a fork until well combine.
5. Toss the blueberries with the reserved flour until well-coated-this will help prevent the blueberries from sinking into the cake (a good trick!).
6. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice and yogurt.
7. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternating with the yogurt mixture; each should have about 3 additions.
8. GENTLY fold in blueberries.
9. Pour batter into a well greased tube-shaped pan. Make sure the batter is smooth.
Bake for about a one hour to an hour and 15 minutes until uniformly dark and cracking. To test, insert a knife or wooden stick in through a crack. If it has batter on it, cook a bit longer.
Make this while the cake is cooling…
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4-6 teaspoons lemon juice
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice. Using a wire strainer, sift the powdered sugar into the bowl and blend until there are not any lumps. This glaze should be able to pour easily over the cake but not run off immediately.
LET COOL IN THE PAN FOR 20 MINUTES before you try to invert it or slip it out from the pan. Place the cake on a wire rack with a baking pan underneath to cool for another 10 minutes. Slowly add the glaze while the cake is still warm and watch it drink it up! (Propping the cake on the rack will keep the cake from getting soggy from too much glaze pooling around it. )Place cake on a serving plate.