Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It's that time again.

Last year, this very same thing happened. The weather, as though it knew it was September 1, suddenly felt cooler and was undoubtedly rainier. The difference is that while last year I was singing the praises of fall, this year I don't want it to come! I wonder how this is, since last year we barely even had summer as much as we had a few fairly warm days. Perhaps the two full months of sun awakened the Southern Californian in me enough to get used to the good weather again- and take it for granted, even.

Not to mention the summer produce this year has been awesome. I have been practically living on peaches, nectarines, and blackberries the past couple of weeks.

At least I can bake again. Today I wanted to make blueberry coffee cake. I thought it was the perfect compromise- the coffee cake part seemed to be warm and cozy, while the blueberries are still fresh and summery. The recipe I found called for vanilla extract and walnuts. I replaced these with almonds and almond extract, since I don't like walnuts and almonds were my only other option. I knew it would work, because it's similar to the way we did coffee cake when I worked at Whole Foods. And work, it did. It was delicious. Oh, and relatively low fat, too.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and almonds. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter and oil until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps in the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully combined. Beat in the almond extract and yogurt.

Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter and top with the blueberries, gently pressing them into the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture over the cake, pressing gently. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly and then unmold and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Cut the cake into 2-inch squares.

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