Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Blueberryzucchini

 

Happy Saturday!

I haven’t blogged again a while. Life has been changing so fast for me lately; I can barely keep up! Moving, new employment opportunities, and an upcoming wedding is enough to stall my recipes.  I just had my bachelorette party last night, and even though I am exhausted, I am not only making this cake, but I am also writing about it. If I can make this cake on only a few hours sleep, know that you can too. This is easy and delicious. Zucchini cake is perfect for summer baking as zucchini is plentiful and in season!

My future mother-in-law told me about this recipe. A woman from her church made this Blueberry Zucchini Cake, and she told me that it was a huge hit. I do believe in the power in numbers; that is, if you bring a dish or eat a dish at a potluck and almost everyone is coming back for seconds, that means that it’s a dish worth recreating yourself. She wanted the recipe, and the woman from her church gave it to her; here’s the original recipe.

If you love zucchini bread, you will love this cake. Zucchini has a lot of water, and thus, it makes for incredibly moist baked goods. I also think the inclusion of oil in this recipe also helps assure you that you’ll have a good bite. In addition, the amount of flour and eggs makes this cake dense, but I think it works well. Lemon and blueberry are always a great marriage; the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I was a little alarmed when I saw that there is four cups of powdered sugar for the icing, but it makes a firm icing that I think is necessary for the texture of the cake, and the sugar isn’t as overpowering as one may think.

Lastly, this zucchini cake made me remember why I love a food processor. My mother-in-law and I made this cake using the food processor for two purposes: 1.) to shred the zucchini quickly and evenly, and 2.) to whip up the lemon buttercream. If you do not have a food processor, go get one immediately. It’s a very underused kitchen tool that I think needs to be brought out more than once in a great while. It makes the prep work of cooking and baking such a breeze!

P.S If you make too much zucchini, freeze it in a ziplock bag. You could make my favorite zucchini fritters, too. They’re latka style and tasty!

Zucchini Cake

    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini (depending on the size of your zucchini, you will need 1-2 pieces of zucchini)
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 pint blueberries (tossed in 1 tsp flour so they don’t sink down into your cake!)
Lemon Buttercream
  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks, 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • juice of one lemon (buy two just in case you don’t have enough juice)

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan. Preferably, use a dark pan (but if you only have glass, it’s okay; just watch your edges!
  3. You will make your cake first; while your cake is cooling in the refrigerator, then you make your icing!
  4. Prep your ingredients. Cut a zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the ends of the zucchini and discard. Slice your zucchini halves into smaller pieces to throw into your food processor. Use the shredding attachment until you get two cups. Do not drain the liquid.
  5. Once you have shredded your zucchini, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar until well blended. Fold in the zucchini.
  6. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to combine. Slowly add it to the wet mixture, mixing just enough to blend. I add about 1/3 of the flour at a time, sometimes 1/4 of the flour. DO NOT OVERMIX! IT WILL BE CHEWY OTHERWISE!
  7. Fold in the blueberries, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, just until the top is turning golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Cool on a rack. You may need to cook the cake more
  8. To make the frosting, put the softened butter into the bowl of a food processor and process until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, processing till smooth after each addition. After the second cup of sugar, add in the lemon juice. Scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary. Adjust the texture by adding a little more lemon or a little more sugar depending on your taste.
  9. Frost the cooled cake and store in the refrigerator.
  10. Enjoy with company; it’s your new easy to make and eat potluck dessert. 🙂

 

Blueberry Crumb Cake with Streusel Topping

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Happy Friday! It seems to be that everyone I know is experiencing some sort of insane weather, so this might be the perfect recipe if you’re stuck inside like many of us are! I would also save this for a “rainy/snowy/icy day” because there are a lot of dishes involved (sorry), but not really any more fuss than that. I love recipes that involve one mixing bowl, but generally speaking, this rarely happens because of the importance of having wet and dry ingredients separated. What adds another “bowl” to your dish load is the cream cheese layer, which should justify the elbow grease!

I am not really one for rules, but with baking, I have to conform. Separate dry and wet ingredients, level when you measure (make sure your cup and a half is actually a cup and a half), and make sure that your butter and eggs are actually room temperature (for as long as possible–the longer they are authentically room temperature, the better the flavor!) Of course these rules are not only applicable to this baked good, but all of them. All the rules stress me out in baking, but the results are usually always perfect. Predictability is rather comforting.

Speaking of predictability, I had to improvise an oven situation for today because I used a new oven cleaner in my main oven, and when I turned it on, the solution did not come off as I thought it did and started to smoke and smell chemical-laden. Blah. I think I’ll stick to my old ways of oven cleaning. I figured that NH3 (ammonia) at 350 degrees would not really make my cake so delicious, so I turned on my toaster oven and pulled out the racks to make way for my crumb cake. I couldn’t believe that I had enough room in there to put in my springform pan! I was scared it wouldn’t cook evenly (what if my Black and Decker isn’t the right temperature?), but it all worked out fine. The recipe is infallible.

Going back to this cake in particular, it is technically a “coffee cake,” which is very misleading because there is no coffee in it. However, coffee is the perfect compliment, and if you’re a coffee lover, make sure you have your java ready to go. I like calling it a crumb cake because of the streusel topping. Normally, when I eat streusel topping, it’s overly sweet and overpowering. This cake and topping is not excessive in its sugar content which I think makes it great to eat any time of day (particularly, breakfast). There are blueberries in it which makes it antioxidant-filled and less guilty. So yes, even resolutionists can eat this cake with moderate ease.

Let’s get started!

The Usual Suspects

You’ll basically need a stick of butter, three eggs (one of which will be divided by egg yolk and egg white), sour cream,  cream cheese bar or Neufchâtel, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla, blueberries (fresh or frozen). You have most of these within your pantry and refridgerator, and here’s a fun tip: get blueberries at the dollar store (yes, I have and they’re great for baking!)

Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese-softened (if you’re feeling healthy like me (ha), you can use Neufchâtel cheese because there is less fat and no taste compromise)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)**(if frozen, please coat those suckers with flour so they don’t sink! Also, do not defrost blueberries!)
Cake Layer:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter- softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
Streusel layer:
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter-chilled and cubed (very, very cold!)
Start Your Engines 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8 or 9 inch springform pan; you may use parchment paper if you have it, but if you butter the bottom enough, you won’t need it. Make sure you grease the sides of the springform pan!
  2. Filling: Mix together the cream cheese/Neufchâtel and sugar on medium-low speed until creamy. Add egg white towards the end of the process; mix on low just to combine. (Please save the egg yolk from this for the cake batter!) You may add vanilla in here, if you wish (but it’s not necessary.) If you don’t have another mixer bowl, wash it out and put mixture aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Cake: In a bowl, begin your dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy. Slowly add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream carefully. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Next, spread the cream cheese filling on top.  Coat blueberries (if frozen) in flour, and shake off excess (make sure it looks like they’re covered). Arrange blueberries onto cream cheese filling on top. You may add more than a cup of blueberries, if you wish. You could alternatively make a blueberry jam and spread it on for a twist, but the whole blueberries here are just fine.
  4. Streusel: Combine sugar, flour and chilled cubed butter in a bowl. Stir with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. I personally use my hand as I think the heat transfer and a gentle hand makes this process easier (I scrunch my hand and lightly use my thumb against my ring, middle, and pointer finger to crumble.) Make sure the streusel is in pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel on top of blueberries.
  5. All together: Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.  Once cooled, run a thin knife (butter knife) around the cake and loose ring of springform pan (if you buttered enough, this won’t be necessary.) Store in the refrigerator as it tastes better chilled. Serve with a cup of coffee, duh.