Monday, August 2, 2010

Blueberry boy bait cake

Nothing quite says summer like a day with friends at a classic American amusement park.  We went to Kennywood on perfectly warm and cloudy Saturday and had ourselves quite a blast (albeit an unphotographed one... had to make my pockets light, theme park rules.  Surely you understand). 

The new rollercoaster, Sky Rocket, was our first order of business.  And pure business was what it was -- the business of thrill rides (oh yeah, went there)!  A super smooth coaster experience thanks to those new magnet-powered rides.  Since there was a Kennywood newbie among us, we were sure to give her the royal treatment for the rest of the day: Potato Patch fries, the Thunderbolt, the very back seat of the gloriously dangerous Jack Rabbit wooden rollercoaster, the outer seat on the Music Express, and fried Oreos.  Mmm. Be still my heart and, I suppose, eventually the blood that once flowed through my arteries, too.  Worth.It.

It's only fitting that after a day steeped in Americana, I wanted to make something that would evoke that same feeling in the comfort of my own kitchen.  It was finally time to scratch that two-week-plus baking itch!  Cue ecstatic jumping and clapping.  I refuse to let the summertime heat run my life.  Sure, "cooking" no-oven meals was delicious and easy, but baking is my real passion.  Conveniently, Matt decided to capture my valiant return to sugar and butter.  Oh, and those are definitely headphones, as I like to rock out with my KitchenAid :)

Flipping the calendar to the August page also meant that blueberry season was waning, and I had yet to feature them in a dessert.  "Get your head in the game, Kemp!"  It seemed meant to be, then, that I had this little number tucked away in the recipe black hole.  The story of Blueberry Boy Bait first took place in 1954, when a 15-year-old girl entered the junior division of the Pillsbury Bake-Off with this recipe.  She named it after the effect it had on boys -- one bite and they were hooked.  Astonishingly, she only earned second place, but reportedly stole the show with her light and fluffy blueberry cake.  And, rightfully so regarding the latter.  Finally, Cook's Country stepped in and made the final adjustments to the original version to make the recipe we know and love today.

The cake is so airy, and the pockets of moist blueberry pop so that the flavor is center stage in this dessert.  And the crunch from the cinnamon sugar on top is a nice little surprise.  When I wanted to verify the effect of this treat and asked my boy what he liked best about it, he replied, "The cake.  I like the cake.  And the crunch on top.  I love it."  Said between bites and with food in his mouth, of course.  I'll take that as a good sign. 

Note: If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw, as they will become mushy and make the batter a blue-green color.  Just use frozen.  Also, if you'd like to make a smaller cake, try halving the recipe and using an 8-by-8-inch square pan; cooking time will remain the same.  Finally, I didn't use parchment paper, but I'd highly urge you to use it and would do so myself next time.  It would make things a heckuva lot easier during the turning out and flipping processes.

Blueberry Boy Bait
(adapted from Cook's Country)

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
1/2 cup blueberries

For topping:
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

With rack in the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.  Line bottom with parchment paper and grease paper as well; set aside.  In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  Cream butter and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium high for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition.

With mixer on low speed, add one third of the flour mixture and beat until no white streaks remain.  Add half of the milk, beat until mixed.  Repeat with another third of the flour, remaining half of the milk, and final third of the flour.

In a small bowl, toss 1/2 cup of the blueberries with 1 teaspoon of flour until coated.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold floured berries into batter.  Pour batter into greased pan.  Scatter remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries over the top of the batter in pan and top entire cake with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake in oven, 45 to 50 minutes, until golden on top and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.  Carefully, turn out cake onto a clean surface (I used a cookie sheet), remove parchment paper, place onto serving dish top side up.  Cut and serve warm or at room temperature.  (Cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.)  Enjoy and have a rolling pin ready to beat away any unwelcome boys (and girls) when necessary :)

For the month of August, I'm going to share with you that day's national food holiday because, hey, why not?  Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich day!


  1. I can attest to the awesomeness of this cake.

  2. I love Cook’s Country and had printed this out a while ago; finally made it yesterday. Your photo is making me want another piece…too bad it’s gone! A blogger mentioned that it tastes best the first day, so I divided it by four and baked it in a 6-inch round pan for my husband and I. My husband loved it, as promised :) Personally, I’d just had dental work done and with my numb tongue, I couldn’t taste it as well, but it was good enough to want to make again! Happy baking and rocking out :)