Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tarragon-Blueberry Bundt Cake

I love to be inspired at the green market this time of year. There are so many things I want to make, I worry that I won't get them all done before the leaves begin to fall. A few weeks ago, it was blueberries I was after.

I checked my cookbook shelves for something new. While I love baked goods with blueberries, for some reason they never pan out for me. Tossed with flour or not, they always seem to sink or clump up and though it doesn't effect the flavor, the looks are lacking.

No matter, I forged ahead when I came across this recipe in a long forgotten cookbook, Morning Glories Breakfast, Brunch and Light Fare from an Herb Garden, by Sharon Kebschull Barrett

The abundance of tarragon in my garden (ironically successful this year), made this a perfect recipe. Herbs in sweet preparations always intrigue me. Remember the Lemon-Rosemary Bundt Cake?

I was a bit distracted while preparing this cake. Perhaps it was the puppy, continually arguing of over-summered children or the ever growing "to-do" list. Only when I was putting it in the oven did I realize my pan was poorly buttered and floured.

After a challenging removal from the pan and subsequent cooling, I cut a thin slice. Disappointing was the apt descriptor. It was not the prettiest cake I've baked (note the pan preparation) and the blueberries were clumpy (as usual). So why am I sharing this with you?

The next day, flaws and all, it had blossomed into the most delicious cake. Unfortunately, it was so tempting I struggled to avoid eating the whole thing right off the cake plate.

Make this cake. I hope your blueberry baking skills are better than mine and don't forget to butter and flour the whole pan.

Tarragon Blueberry Bundt Cake

4 t. (1 T. plus 1 t.) minced tarragon leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably bleached (I used unbleached)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. coarse salt (I used kosher)
8 T. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (and I suggest flour) a 10-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together tarragon leaves, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time until mixture is fluffy and well-blended. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended. Gently fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until top springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve, dust cake (it will be dark) with confectioners' sugar, and mound berries in the center if desired; slice along and/or between the ridge lines.

12-24 servings.

1 comment:

Sharon Kebschull Barrett said...

I'm glad the cake (from my book) made you happy in the end! It's true that there aren't many ways to keep blueberries evenly distributed in a cake, but you could try not mixing them into the batter. Then put a bit of batter in the pan, sprinkle with berries, and repeat those layers for a more even look.

My Bundt pans generally do fine with just greasing (I find it hard to evenly distribute a flour coating), but if yours are giving you trouble, try the baker's coating in the book (equal parts shortening, flour and oil) -- it really works. And you'll be able to see as you brush it on if you miss a spot.

Enjoy your tarragon! It's such a great flavor in sweet recipes.