Every Christmas morning, my mum or sister will bake blueberry muffins. A strange choice for the time of year perhaps, but they’re made with frozen berries that Mum buys, freezes and hordes during the warmer months. For me, the origin of the berries is a moot point; my disinclination for cooked fruit means that I get two muffins made especially for me- before the offending berries are added. Oh, how I love my blueberry-less blueberry muffins.
The exceptions to my no-fruit rule are subtle but concrete: I like fruit-based desserts if the fruit in question is raw, baked but structurally intact, or else cooked and mashed beyond recognition. This last stipulation hasn’t been illustrated on the blog yet, so when I bought these blueberries at the market on Sunday, I thought this was as good an opportunity as any to give it a go.
I envisioned a blueberry purée swirl running through a delicious white cake, creating a feast for eyes and taste buds alike. Inspired by Deb‘s Cream Cheese Pound Cake, I decided that a ring cake, rich with cream cheese and zingy with lemon zest, was just the vehicle for this experiment. I don’t have one of those massive 12-cup bundt pans, but I do have a silicone savarin mould from Sabre in Paris*. (My favourite cookery store which I’ve never been to: I love their products but alas, the pan was a gift.) Slightly smaller than a traditional bundt and far less fancy, this pan generally serves me well in the cake game.
And this was no exception; my swirly ring cake was a resounding success. Though I fear I overbaked it slightly, it was rich and moist, with the bright and zingy blueberry swirl a purple stroke of genius. I can’t promise that I’ll be taking my Christmas muffins with blueberries this year, but I’m getting there. Maybe if I can convince the rest of my family of the merits of a swirl?
*Edit: My Mum has emailed to say that while the cake cutter she bought me was from Sabre, the savarin mould was only purchased at Bon Marche. Sigh, how plebeian.
Blueberry Swirl Pound Cake
makes one 24cm ring cake
- 150g (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh blueberries
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. water
- 170g unsalted butter
- 113g cream cheese
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F. To make the blueberry swirl, mix together all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 5-8 minutes until thickened. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula, crushing the berries as you go. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl (or a stand mixer), cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for another 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each until smooth. Add the flour and the salt and beat until just blended. Finally, gently fold in the vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Remove 1/2 cup of batter to the saucepan with the (now slightly cooled) blueberries. Mix well until you have a bright purple batter.
- Pour the rest of the batter into your ring pan and shake to distribute evenly. Dollop the purple blueberry batter on top and swirl the two together, using a toothpick or metal skewer. Be careful not to over-swirl! You want some purple and yellow bits to remain.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about one hour.