I'm not sure I quite know what to say about this pudding cake... by anybody's reckoning it should have been a disaster, considering my mistakes - I cant blame the recipe, it was from "Gourmet July 2005", according to the printout. And yet it turned out to be a delicious cake.
In hindsight, I think the blueberries went in with too much liquid and the cake simply wouldnt set because the batter was so liquidy. The original recipe confidently said that the blueberries would sink to the bottom, so when I poured the blueberry mixture over the cake batter, I expected the blueberries to perform as per the recipe.
Although I waited expectantly, the blueberries didnt sink. They just pooled in the middle of the batter, creating a sunken effect, and didnt even bother to give an impression of being cooperative enough to do as the recipe indicated.
Right about then, while I gazed at my concave batter, I got that sinking feeling (I suppose I should have been glad that SOMEthing sank, even if it wasnt the darned blueberries) which precedes a culinary catastrophe. I did debate for a moment whether I should just throw it all in the bin and wash my hands of the whole thing - but I would have felt far too guilty throwing away perfectly fresh, lovely and expensive blueberries without even trying to salvage them!
Good thing, too. Like I said, the cake should have been a disaster but somehow it worked. I had to bake it for far, far longer than the recipe said, because the bloomin' blueberries simply wouldnt set in the centre! Not that I blame the blueberries... there was far too much liquid, so it took an extra long time. By which time, of course, the cake part was well cooked and somewhat crusty around the edges, although not burnt. I finally switched off the oven when the blueberries had a sort of jelly like texture in the centre - still not "set" but I hoped that (like with baked cheesecakes) the centre would firm up as it cooled.
It did set, but it was like a chewy jam/jelly in the middle with lots of fruit in every bite! Doesnt sound particularly appetising (nor does it look it in the photo above), but no amount of descriptions can do justification to the taste, which was just lovely - perhaps the extra long time in the oven concentrated the flavours of the blueberries, I dunno. But in any case, it disappeared like magic (it helps that there are two hungry teenagers here right now, but still), helped along by some thick fresh cream.
Next time I make this, I'll make sure that the blueberries are not poached in too much water - that, I think, was the main problem with what I did. The recipe below rectifies the things I think I did wrong. So, hopefully anybody who tries this recipe will have a more conventional looking cake that also tastes lovely!
Recipe for: Blueberry pudding cake
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cornflour
1-1/2 cups blueberries
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter - melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spray an 8" round pan with Pam.
2. Stir together 1/3 cup sugar with water, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a
small saucepan, then stir in blueberries.
Bring to a simmer and let it cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a
4. Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined.
5. Put batter in the baking pan.
Then pour blueberry mixture evenly over the batter (berries will sink - hopefully!).
6. Bake until a knife inserted into centre of cake portion (towards the side, not the centre of the cake) comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
7. Cool in pan on a rack for five minutes, then remove to a serving plate.
Serve warm with fresh strawberries and cream or icecream.
"Plump blueberries, cooked until juicy and poured over a simple batter,
create a deliciously moist pudding cake bursting with summer fruit."
Source: "Gourmet July 2005"