I made this recipe on the weekend while watching my busy babies play contentedly around the house and in the sandpit while my partner work tirelessly in the backyard on
our (his) near finished shed. There was a highly unusual calm floating over our normally chaotic home, allowing for quality time spent in my little kitchen haven.
With the family (& in particular myself) having made very short work of my Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake, the homemade sweet treats were suddenly & sadly lacking. With my partner J commenting he wouldn’t mind “something cake-y” & our son Seth hunting around for “crunchy” cookies, I started pulling out recipes & scanning the fridge & pantry for ingredients. It didn’t take long to lock onto an idea & feel that little buzz of excitement I get when I am about to make something scrum-diddily-umptious!
Luckily for me, earlier in the week, I been presented with the mother load of farm fresh organic blueberries. We have a little plant of our own, but the Summer heat has done its worst & we have been unable to get any fruit as yet. With the ones I had, I was hankering to use them in something special, a sweet treat to satisfy all the family (& any drop-ins). Much as I enjoy them, pancakes or muffins just weren’t going to do it for me. I wanted a blend of moist, crumbly & crunchy with a punch of sweet fruity goodness to make everyone’s eyes widen with surprise & delight as they tasted each element. I had all the basic cake or cookie ingredients, but I also wanted to use something a little different with a taste & texture all its own – that’s when I spied the polenta (corn meal) sitting quietly on the pantry shelf, just waiting there all bright & yellow & ever so humble. I knew that was the answer, all I needed now was the right combination!
These thoughts lead me to reverently take out a recent, but now highly coveted cookbook, given to me as a birthday gift last year by one of my dearest friends. Truth be told, I didn’t really become interested, or understanding of ‘blogging’ until some friends started to write their own in the past couple of years & I wanted to support them. Once I started looking into it in more depth, I realised what an amazing form of communication & empowerment they are. From there, I have become an avid fan of so many I have trouble keeping up, but one in particular struck a strong chord in me, like many others before me, & I was like a giggly little teenage Bieber (cringe) fan when I unwrapped my gift & found a copy of ‘The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook’, by Deb Perelman inside.
There’s a good chance you will see emulation (albeit nowhere near as amazeballs as hers … yet!), in these pages of mine, but it is purely out of having such a liking for & similar style to someone you have come to admire. That said, I do like to think I have my own sense of creativity & panache with cooking & will always do my best to present that here or on my dining table! If you get a chance though, check her blog out, it is quite incredible!
But, I digress, back on track to fresh blueberry & polenta crumb cake! With my little helpers in the kitchen from time to time, I went about finding the recipe I needed & used it as a guide for my own version. The Smitten Kitchen version uses slightly less & slightly more of some ingredients & I prefer yoghurt to sour cream, but otherwise, I think changing something so wonderful too much is www.moneygrampoint.fr unnecessary & as the saying goes, if it aint broke, don’t fix it!
As I worked my way through it, adding, mixing, taking photos, doing dishes – (my kitchen is too small to leave mess strewn all over, so I have to clean as I go) – I did not realise how much time had passed until a little tug as my leg drew me back to the reality of hungry children & other domesticities. I have to thank my awesome children for their patience & participation on this day – I really did get lost in it all!
This cake is delicate, moist & sweet, with the crumble topping giving it an extra layer of crunch & buttery smoothness, that, for me, almost draws it into the dessert category.
You can serve this crumb cake on its own, or, as I have, with ice cream or I am certain it would also be just as mouth-wateringly good with a dollop of cream or lashings of custard. The choice is yours!
Anyway – enough waffle, here is the recipe!
Blueberry & Polenta Crumb Cake
Makes approximately 16 pieces
115 grams unsalted butter – room temperature
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
250 grams fresh (or frozen) blueberries
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius
- Lightly grease & line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, polenta, baking powder & salt
- Using an electric mixer, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy – (this will take time, a few minutes at least – put the kettle on, hang out some washing, listen to a couple of your favourite songs – walk away if you can otherwise it will seem to take forever!).
- Add eggs one at a time & beat until well combined – scrape down sides between each egg
- Add vanilla & lemon zest & gently combine
- Add a third of the polenta mix – beat until just combined
- Add all of the yoghurt & another third of the polenta mix – beating each until just combined
- Add the remaining polenta mix to the blueberries & mix gently
- Fold blueberry mix gently into the cake batter
Crumb – (also called Streusel)
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
2 tablespoons polenta
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Combine all the Crumb ingredients together in a small bowl
- Using a pastry blender or fork, work the ingredients together until they look like breadcrumbs
- Sprinkle this crumble mixture over the cake mix
- Bake for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean of batter – (the Crumb will be quite pale in colour – this is ok)
- Cool in cake tin for at least 5 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely
So there it is – a flavour packed way to use fresh blueberries, & my little homage to an inspirational blogger & home cook who makes you want to get in the kitchen & make some seriously good mess!
Adapted from ‘Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake ‘as found in ‘The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook’ by Deb Perelman
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!