The sweet lemony loaf is studded with blueberries, then drizzled with a tangy lemon glaze that soaks in and makes it taste even better the next day. The secret ingredient: buttermilk, in both the cake batter and the lemon glaze. The buttermilk’s acidity disappears during baking, and it works to soften and lighten the texture of the cake, leaving only a subtle buttermilk flavour behind. Pair that buttermilk taste with lemons and blueberries, and you’ve got a cake that’s humble enough to enjoy in the morning with a mug of coffee and also flavourful enough to steal the show as dessert after dinner.
If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to one cup regular milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
Special to The Globe and Mail
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
zest from two lemons
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons buttermilk
2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour two 9×5 loaf pans.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter on medium high, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar a ½ cup at a time, and cream until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one by one, making sure that they are fully mixed in before adding the next. Once all the eggs are incorporated, turn up the speed on your mixer and beat until fluffy (about 10 seconds). Return to medium speed and beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Turn the mixer back up for a few seconds to fluff it up again.
With the mixer on low speed, or with a large spoon, stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ cup of the buttermilk. Then stir in another ⅓ of the flour mixture and the remaining ½ cup of buttermilk. Add the final ⅓ of flour and gently mix until just incorporated. Fold in the blueberries.
Split the batter between two greased loaf pans. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack. Drizzle liberally with the glaze while still warm. Let cool before slicing. Makes two 9×5 loaves.
Mix the lemon juice and buttermilk together. Gradually whisk in icing sugar until the glaze is sweetened to your liking (it should be a little bit tangy to compliment the sweet cake).