Blueberries are my husband’s favourite fruit. But try as I might to grow them bountifully, so far my attempts have been futile.
I did my research and planted four bushes that would, all going well, produce 2kg of berries each, per season. Four years down the track and I barely harvest more than a small bowl from the two trees still standing.
Admittedly it was a space dilemma that led me to plant them in a less than ideal position without sufficient sun. With more than 30 fruiting plants on our 800-square metre patch it is getting somewhat crowded.
This summer I am taking a new approach after seeing several large blueberry-laden bushes growing in pots on a friend’s sunny veranda. I am doing the same, on a trial basis with one pot. Let’s see if I can regain my berry growing confidence.
Luckily, some clever local growers do know how to produce bucket loads of blueberries each season.
Large bags of seconds are sorted to satisfy those who like to eat them by the handful, with enough left over to experiment with in the kitchen. This particular cake has been on repeat for several weeks, in fact, it has been dubbed my best cake ever – by said blueberry-loving husband who may be biased. It is the blueberry glaze that really makes this cake something special. Blueberries magically set like jelly once blended and cooled. Try it, simply blend a punnet of blueberries and pour into a bowl. Chill for one hour and voila, blueberry jelly.
With this in mind I set to making a cake glaze made from mostly blueberries, sweetened with a touch of honey, a squeeze of lemon to activate the pectin (natures natural thickener), and a dab of butter to give a nice sheen. Truly magical – you can thank me later.
Using room-temperature butter, eggs and coconut cream will prevent the mixture splitting while mixing.
100g room-temperature butter
4 tablespoons mild honey such as clover (or 1/3 cup sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
2 room-temperature eggs
2/3 cup room-temperature coconut cream
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 cup flour (gluten-free: use ¾ cup rice flour and ¼ cup tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons mild honey
Squeeze of lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon
1 ½ tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a 22cm round cake tin (I used a 22cm silicon Bundt mould)
- In a stand-mixer combine the butter and honey (or sugar) until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest, then eggs one at a time, followed by the coconut cream, a tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.
- Combine the desiccated coconut, flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Add to the mixer and gently mix until just combined. Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and fold through the blueberries.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to steam in the tin for five minutes (for a super moist cake crumb), then carefully flip out on to a cooling rack.
- Once the cake is completely cool make the Blueberry Glaze. In a small saucepan combine the blueberries, honey, lemon juice and butter. Simmer for one minute until the blueberries are softened.
- Pour into a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blitz until smooth. Cool a little to thicken then slowly pour over the cake. If the glaze is too runny then leave to cool a little longer.
- This cake is best consumed the day it is baked, after which the glaze will lose its vibrant colour.
*This recipe was first published 17 January 2018 on Stuff.co.nz.