august 13, 2016
A few years back I had the idea of growing my own blueberries. With sun gracing only the deck and mostly shade covering my yard, the blueberry bushes would be in large deck pots. I was warned by the neighborhood berry growers that critters loved blueberries and netting around each plant was the only method to deter poachers.
My plan came to naught when I realized the yield of berries, at any given time, would likely not even fill one of those cut mesh baskets. I am so very grateful others grow them properly so consumers like me can make berry trifle, berry tarts and cake, like today’s blueberry lemon cream cheese cake. Moist lemon scented cake filled with a not-too-sweet cheesecake filling and coronated with a sweet lemon glaze and more berries. A great breakfast cake for a summer beach house vacation, a wonderful brunch cake for a lazy weekend and a welcome dessert to bring to a gathering of friends.
The early days of gluten free baking were fraught with attempts to make baked goods taste like “the real thing”, with varying degrees of success. Today, I am happy to report it’s easier than ever to make a gluten free dessert that looks, cuts, smells, and tastes just like The Real Thing.
I’m always looking for shortcuts and easy methods, and more often than not using the gluten free flour mixes commercially available instead of making my own mixes. I still use my standard combo of rice flour/potato starch/tapoica starch, when I have the time and inclination, but some of the packaged combinations, like the cup-for-cup products, made to do just what the package says (use cup for cup in place of regular all purpose flour for your baking needs) are performing so beautifully that I now happily pay just a little more for the convenience factor.
My current favorite is Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 gluten free flour blend with just enough plant-based xanthan gum to hold together all kinds of baked goods, eliminating the guesswork about how much to add for varying types of recipes. This cake recipe is a variation of one I have been making for clients with a solid interior and light lemon glaze. The cheesecake filling simply ups the nutrition profile, making this cake a complete meal! No? Well, then you have not joined the cake-for-breakfast club.
So that the cheese filling is enrobed by blueberry cake, you will want to make a well in the center, spooning in filling and then covering over with the remainder of the batter, which will be thick and require a moistened spoon or spatula to smoothe in place.
The cake should be completely cooled before glazing. Don’t worry if the glaze seems super thick; once you spoon it across the top of the cake, it will trickle down nicely. Here’s what I love about cooking : you can always improvise and add a little more lemon juice or water if it seems too thick, or add a little more powdered sugar if it appears runny.
If your kitchen is not hot, this cake will store at room temperature for up to 3 days (just like a danish pastry with cheese filling), but with summer humidity, it does best in the fridge and will soften up quickly at room temp for serving. The cake does freeze, but if you wrap it in plastic, remove that plastic before defrosting so the glaze does not stick to the wrapping. You will lose all that extra nutritional value, I type with a perfectly straight face.
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 10-12 servings
cream cheese filling : two 8 ounce packs softened cream cheese, ⅓ cup sugar and one egg at room temperature
2 ¾ cup gluten free flour (you can also use all purpose wheat flour for recipe)*
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries
¼ cup gluten free flour (or all purpose)
1 large lemon, zest (no bitter white pith) and juice (3 Tablespoons total)
2 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar, more if needed
* I like Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 gluten free baking mix with xanthan gum already added
for coating pan : cooking spray or soft butter and more gluten free flour mix
optional garnish : more fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray large heavy bundt pan with cooking spray and coat inside with gluten free flour mix.
- In medium mixing bowl, use electric mixer to whip cream cheese, then add sugar just until combined and then egg just until combined; set aside.
- Whisk together dry ingredients: 2 ¾ cup GF flour, baking powder, sea salt.
- In separate bowl, toss blueberries to coat with the ¼ cup GF flour.
- In large mixing bowl with clean set of electric mixer beaters, cream butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined.
- Add lemon zest and vanilla.
- Gently fold in dry ingredients and then coated blueberries, gently, until uniformly mixed.
- Add about half the batter to the prepared pan, then make a furrow in the center with a large spoon (see pictures in post); place cream cheese filling in furrow, smoothing top.
- Spoon in remainder of batter over cream cheese filling, using moistened spoon to cover completely.
- Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes; top will look puffed but flatten more with cooling.
- Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack.
- When cake is completely cooled, mix lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon over the top ridge of the cake, allowing it to flow down the sides; glaze will appear very thick (and look like a slowly dissolving ribbon when you dip your spoon in), but will soften as it flows over the cake – if not, just add a couple drops water.
- Garnish if desired with more blueberries.
- Store at room temperature in a cool kitchen up to 3 days, but in the fridge when it’s hot.
- If cake is frozen after being wrapped in plastic, remove plastic before defrosting so glaze does not stick.