Birthday cake. What a cheering concept. How can you not instantly be whisked away with memories of childhood parties, complete with games of pass the parcel, triangular white bread, crustless sandwiches galore and not to mention goodie bags with a piece of birthday cake wrapped up in a paper napkin to take home?
I love creating a new cake for someone’s birthday as I can create a little homage to their personality in cake form, not to mention hand crafting a unique “gift” which hopefully they will always remember. Alas, the birthday girl in question got called away from the department today and it seemed the rest of the hospital descended on her cake and demolished it by home mid afternoon! At least she enjoyed her mandatory morning cuppa with a good slice of cake this time.
I consider myself very fortunate as living 5 minutes from my usual place of work – some would hate being so close, not me. I have no desire to commute! However, one day a week I have to go to another city and it means 4 hours of commuting for an 8 hour work day. As poo as that is, it does mean I can doodle and sketch up ideas on the train and my Zingy Citrus Blueberry Bundt was the result of my latest trip.
I love Nordic Ware and their bundts just scream party! The intricate shapes negate the need for time-consuming sugar work and even frosting becomes redundant. The pan I used above is called the Jubilee pattern and it has lots of little geometric crevices to catch plenty of rich but runny orange juice glacé icing. I thought a drizzle cake would fit nicely for the birthday girl in question.
Sour cream is a wonderful addition to cakes, transforming the texture to a creamy, luxurious mouthfeel with a close but fluffy crumb. You could use some of my homemade creme fraiche in its place if you have some going spare. Using lime, lemon and orange rather than just one citrus gives an almost tropical, zingy freshness that bounces of the unique blue taste of the blueberries so well.
I can’t think of a better way to describe the flavour of blueberries than to say they conjure up what I believe the colour blue would taste of, it that were possible to do! Using the zest plus the juice maximises flavour whilst imparting extra moisture to the crumb of the finished cake. All in all, my Zingy Citrus Blueberry Bundt is pretty much the taste of summer with all that lovely fruit and would be perfect alongside a jug of Pimms at your next garden party or BBQ, if not indeed a birthday!
- 200 g soft butter
- 275 g caster sugar
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 2 oranges, zest and juice (you may not need all of the juice)
- 3 large eggs
- 325 g plain flour
- 1 level tbsp baking powder
- 200 g sour cream or creme fraiche
- 180-200 g fresh blueberries
- A scant 1/2 cup of icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180˚C conventional (reduce by 10-20˚C for fan assisted ovens) and position a shelf low down enough so that the top of your bundt pan comes to about halfway up the height of the oven - this cake cooks for a long time and it would burn if you had it too high up.
Grease your bundt pan - I use rapeseed oil (canola oil) spray.
Cream the butter, sugar and citrus zests until vey light and fluffy then beat the eggs in one at a time with a spoonful of flour to stop curdling.
In a jug, whisk together 200g of sour cream (or creme fraiche) and add all the juice of the lime and lemon and enough of the orange juice to make up to the 300ml mark. Reserve the rest of the orange juice for the icing.
Sift the flour and raising agent together.
Beat half the flour in to the creamed butter, sugar and egg mixture gently. Stir in half the sour cream mixture.
Add the remaining flour and follow with the remaining sour cream mixture before stirring in the berries.
Spoon into your prepared bundt pan and level batter by tapping the tin sharply onto the work surface then smoothing with a spatula or spoon (this helps remove air pockets from this luscious thick batter).
Bake for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. I start testing at around 1 hour and sometimes it needs the full 1 hour 15 (usually if I have used cold berries and sour cream). It is a large cake with a thick batter and the surface will definitely colour well (but it should not be burnt!). A skewer should come out clean when inserted well into the centre of the cake, as long as you don't hit a blueberry on the way down - check at least two places. It may need another 10 minutes depending on how hot your oven runs.
Cool in the tin on a rack for 10-15 minutes before carefully inverting onto a rack to finish cooling to room temperature.
When cold, mix the icing sugar with a little leftover orange juice to make a thick but pourable icing and drizzle over the cake to decorate. Allow it to set before slicing.
Use fresh not frozen blueberries here as the latter give off too much liquid to an already very moist batter.
I only use Nordic Ware tins when I make bundts as I find the quality is unsurpassable and the nonstick properties are practically magical! You may have different results using other brands but do let me know how you get on with your cake.
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