I have fallen for blueberries in a big way but I’m not the only one. British blueberry consumption is soaring – at the turn of the century (i.e. 2000) only 1,000 tonnes of blueberries were sold in Britain each year; now the figure is 15,000 tonnes (according to the BBC). It was only relatively recently I first tasted a blueberry – I don’t recall them at all from my childhood.
Blueberries lend themselves beautifully to baking either holding their shape and bursting with juice in your mouth, or collapsing and infusing the sponge with their rich indigo colour. It’s what I’d term a win-win.
This is a satisfying cake as the flavours are simple but effective. Preparation time is virtually nothing – I had it in the oven within 10 minutes of starting! The use of golden caster sugar enhances the sponge with almost a hint of caramel and it contrasts well with the berries. Texturally too, the crumbly sponge and the juicy berries are a match made in heaven.
I always tell my eaters the bare minimum of what the cake is to see what they can detect (it keeps them on their toes, plus how else do you think I got any takers for the sprout cake!); this cake was pitched to them as “blueberry sponge”. Everyone asked what else was in the sponge as it tasted moister and softer than usual – that would be the sour cream!
Don’t panic if the blueberries settle a bit towards the bottom of the cake – they did in mine, and they did in the original recipe too.
You could dress this cake up with frosting but I fancied it left plain with some thick cream on the side. You could, of course, substitute the blueberries for any similar berry of your choice.
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tablespoons extra to sprinkle on top
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons (60ml) soured cream
To serve: cream
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.
Beat together the butter and sugar until it is whippy and pale. Take your time over this as your cake will be lighter for it.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. If the mixture looks like it might curdle add some of the flour to stop it.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Fold in the soured cream.
Carefully stir in the blueberries; some may collapse but don’t worry – this will give the sponge a lovely colour!
Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
Sprinkle the extra caster sugar over the top.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.
Remove the cake tin when it is cool enough to handle, and place the cake back on the wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight tin.
Serve with thick cream.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.