Blueberries were bountiful. Saturday I was going to the Blue Mountains. I snaffled Simple from the library. All signs pointed to me making this cake. Miraculously, my apartment managed to stay cool enough for me to bake on the rogue 35 degree day last Friday. It was fractionally cooler on the weekend, and cooler still up in the mountains. Cake felt like a good reward for surviving the heat, and the trip out of town in which we crossed the Harbour Bridge twice by heeding Google and not instinct.
This is a full-size version of the little lemon, almond and blueberry teacakes from Sweet and it's every bit as good - lemony, nutty and bursting with berries. It's hard to compete with nature - especially when the bush is in bloom with waratahs - but this was definitely a highlight of the day.
Blueberry, almond and lemon cake
Adapted from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi
By all means use a food processor or stand mixer for this by but make sure you fold in the blueberries at the end by hand or you're likely to end up with a grey cake from berries split by the blade/paddle attachment.
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
190g caster (superfine) sugar
2 lemons: finely grated for 2 tsp zest and squeezed for 2 tbsp juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
90g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
110g ground almonds
70g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line a loaf tin (11cm x 21cm) and set aside.
Beat butter, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until batter is light and creamy. Mix in eggs, in small additions, scraping down the side of the bowl. Don't panic if it splits a little - it will all work out in the end. Measure the flour, salt, and almond meal into a medium size bowl and add to the cake batter in three additions. Fold in 150g of the blueberries. Spoon into loaf tin.
Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle remaining 50g of blueberries over the cake and return to oven for another 15 minutes, then cover loosely with tin foil and continue to bake for a further 25-30 minutes, til risen and cooked through. Use a toothpick or a knife inserted in the centre of the cake to test - if it comes out clean, it's ready to come out. If not, give it a little longer.
Once done, remove cake from oven and let cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make icing by combining icing sugar with lemon juice and whisking til smooth. Pour over cake, cut into thick slices and serve.