This is the cake I imagine myself baking at the end of the afternoon when he (and his 7 year old cousin, who lives across the street and comes here after school) walks home – the aroma wafting out as he comes in the door. It’s simple to mix together – the sort of cake that should be in everyone’s repertoire – able to be pulled into service for whatever berries or other fresh fruit is in season. It’s buttery and plain, with a tender crumb and lovely flavour.
This cake would be fab with rhubarb tossed in sugar, come to think of it. And raspberries. And thickly sliced peaches or plums. And in winter, chunked apples, pears and cranberries. This is the sort of recipe I imagine hammered out by typewriter on a yellowing card, stuck to the fridge for eternal reference. If I can find an old typewriter I may do just that, so I can hand it down to my grandkids.
Blueberry Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cake
For a lemon version, substitute white sugar for the brown, and add the grated zest of a lemon when you beat the butter and sugar together.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (totally optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar for a minute or two, until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half to the butter mixture and stir just until blended; add the buttermilk in the same way, then the rest of the flour mixture. Spread the batter into a 9” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, and scatter with blueberries. If you like, sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.