Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake

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For some reason, I cannot think of bundt cakes without immediately breaking into Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”  I like big bundts and I cannot lie…. anyone else?  Just me? This of course reminds me of the Friends episode where Ross sings it to Emma to make her laugh, and then I get tickled because Joey sings it to Tucker and Henry to make them laugh as well.  Any other inappropriate parents out there?  Just us?

…. moving right along…. This bundt cake is pretty awesome.  It’s a standard cake that’s swirled with a blueberry jam of sorts, laced with subtle lemon and cinnamon flavors, and then drizzled with a sweet lemon glaze.

For some reason, half the time when I bake with blueberries, they all sink to the bottom of the baked good.  Half the time they are perfect.  And I cannot for the life of me figure out what causes it.  I’ve tried the “toss in flour” trick, and it’s inconsistent.  So the nice thing about this cake is that you get all the flavor of blueberries, without the annoyance of them all being in the bottom of the cake – plenty of blueberry flavor suspended throughout the cake.  The solution to the problem of the sinking blueberries was to whip of a quick jam.  Fresh or frozen blueberries are briefly cooked with sugar, lemon juice, and pectin to make the filling.  It is swirled into the batter twice – once in the middle, then again at the end.  Not only do you get blueberries in every bite, but it also looks pretty!

Summer berries are on the horizon, and while I made the cake with frozen wild blueberries this time, I know I’ll be using fresh soon enough!  This cake makes a nice simple dessert… or an indulgent snack… or a special breakfast.  Mother’s Day is this weekend, and I would venture to guess that not many moms would turn this down!

Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake
barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2013

Cake

  • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • zest + juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs + 1 yolk, at room temperature
  • 18 Tbs (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (14 oz) sugar

Filling

  • 3/4 cup (5.25 oz) sugar
  • 3 Tbs low- or no-sugar-needed fruit pectin
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 oz (about 2 cups) fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp lemon zest + 1 Tbs juice

Glaze

  • 2-3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

For the cake:  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and adjust the rack to the lower-middle position.  Butter and flour a 12-cup nonstick bundt pan.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking osdea, salt, and cinnamon.  Whisk together the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.  In a third bowl (or large liquid measuring cup), gently whisk the eggs + yolk to combine.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl as needed throughout.

Reduce the speed to medium and add half of the eggs, beating just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining eggs.

Reduce the speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk mixture, mixing only about 5 seconds after each addition.  Repeat using half of the remaining flour mixture, all of the buttermilk mixture, and the last of the flour.  Scrape down the bowl and mix at medium-low speed about 15 seconds.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold the batter once or twice to incorporate any remaining flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while you prepare the blueberry filling.

For the filling:  Whisk the sugar, pectin, and salt together in a small saucepan.  Use a blender or food processor to puree the blueberries until they are mostly smooth, about 1 minute.  Transfer 1/4 cup of the puree plus the lemon zest to the saucepan and stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes, stirring often to dissolve the sugar and pectin.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and allow to cool 5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining blueberry puree and lemon juice and whisk to combine.  Let sit until slightly set, about 8 minutes.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared bundt pan smooth the top with a spatula or spoon.  Using the back of a spoon, create a 1/2-inch-deep channel in the center of the batter.

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Spoon half the filling into the channel.  Using a butter knife, swirl the filling into the batter – there should be no large pockets of filling remaining.

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Repeat the swirling steps with the remaining batter and filling.

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Bake until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar.  Pour over the cooled cake, allow to set for at least 10 minutes, and serve.

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Pink Parsley

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