If you’re looking for a great cooking magazine, you really should look into Fine Cooking. It’s a wonderful learning tool. It would make a great gift for the Graduate or anyone starting out on their own. Its recipe directions are not shorthand. They’re written to make the most newbie of cooks feel confident that they’re doing the right thing. No shorthand here, Fine Cooking steers you right all the way to the finish.
The other day while I was in Bridgehampton and Andrew was in New York, I texted that beautiful New Jersey blueberries had just landed at our supermarket at a really good price–$1.87 a pint. Not twenty minutes later, Andrew sent a link to today’s recipe, a signal that means “Print This”. I dutifully printed it out and knowing Andrew was en route, went down to the market, got the blueberries and took the eggs out of the refrigerator so they’d be ready for his arrival. (I was later told I should have taken the milk out too, but then, nobody’s perfect.)
New Jersey blueberries hold a special role: In 2003, fourth-graders at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School in the town of Brick, New Jersey campaigned to make the blueberry the State Fruit. Brick happens to be in Ocean County which has the distinction of producing fully 80 percent of the State’s blueberry crop. And what do you know, the fourth graders succeeded! The Blueberry is the State Fruit of New Jersey. This makes a lot of sense all of which was spelled out in the Declaration from the New Jersey State Legislature. Here it is in its entirety:
“WHEREAS, The highbush blueberry is indigenous to New Jersey, where it was first cultivated for commercial production, due to pioneering work by New Jerseyan Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Covile, who in the early 1900’s dedicated themselves to the study, domestication, and breeding of blueberries at Whitesbog, in Browns Mills, New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, the cultivation of highbush blueberries in New Jersey served as the basis for an entirely new agricultural industry; and
WHEREAS, Blueberries taste good, are good for you, are high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, are sodium and cholesterol-free, are low in calories and provide medical and health benefits, including the prevention of cancer and heart disease; and
WHEREAS, Blueberries are appreciated around the world, especially in the area of nutrition and the emerging field of nutraceuticals, where blueberries are known for their health benefits and medicinal properties; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey ranks second in the nation in blueberry cultivation, producing 21% of the nation’s total, with 38 million pounds grown annually on 8,000 acres, spanning seven counties in central and southern New Jersey; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey is widely recognized as the blueberry capital of the nation, and the highbush blueberry, also known as the “New Jersey blueberry,” is the ideal symbol of a delicious, nutritious, and healthful fruit …
Be it Enacted … the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is designated as the New Jersey State Fruit.”
So there! And now here is the recipe for this sensational Blueberry Muffin Cake. It’s described as being “a muffin batter baked in a cake pan” by its creator Shelley Wiseman in Fine Cooking. Andrew made one addition to Fine Cooking’s recipe. He liberally sprinkled the top of the cake with Demerara sugar before baking. This gives the crust a nice little crunch when you bite into. The cake is recommended as a ‘summertime breakfast treat’ that should be served ‘still warm from the oven’. All I can tell you is that there were five people here this weekend and the cake lasted under 24 hours in our house. Here’s the recipe and below some other blueberry recipes for your consideration.
A mouth-watering way to usher in blueberry season, this great cake has a muffin-like texture packed with fresh blueberries.
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- more for the pan
- 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 lb. (2 cups) fresh blueberries
- 2-3 tbsp. Demerara Sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Step 1 Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round springform pan.
- Step 2 Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Using a silicone spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Fold in the berries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles. Sprinkle Demerara sugar liberally all over the top
- Step 3 Bake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes (if the top gets too brown, tent with aluminum foil).
- Step 4 Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake and remove the side of the pan. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature, with confectioners’ sugar sifted over the top, if you like.