Ottolenghi’s recipe for a blueberry and lemon cake with almond flour, extra jammy blueberry topping and simple icing. Unbelievably delectable.
Not another blueberry cake
WHAT??? Not ANOTHER cake with blueberries? There’s the upside down, the cornmeal tart, the mascarpone loaf, the cream Victoria sponge plus probably ten more I’ve forgotten about, and now this? Ottolenghi or not, surely the world doesn’t need more blueberry cakes?
Never too many blueberry cakes
But it does. I’m now adding blueberry cake to the collection of ‘never too many’ (earrings, shoes etc.). Because blueberries make the most wonderful cakes of all.
As I’ve said many times, I’m not sold on chocolate. Cream cakes are a bit sickly, tarts a bit dry and everything with raisins and nuts in it belongs at Christmas.
Soft fruit is my favouritest thing in cakes because a/ it means it’s summer (don’t start me off on the berries imported from South America in February) and b/ it makes cakes a bit lighter, a bit less sweet – a bit healthier.
I won’t argue this point too much as I know ‘a healthy cake’ is an oxymoron, but let’s face it: the more fruit in the volume of a cake, the less CAKE matter in it which is sugar, flour and butter, to put it bluntly.
Blueberries in cakes
As fruit of choice, blueberries reign supreme. They don’t have stones that need to be removed creating an approximation of a bloodshed like cherries, or annoying pips like brambles. They don’t turn mushy like raspberries or grey and sad like strawberries. Just the right size and don’t leak inordinate amounts of juice. Vibrant, flavoursome and they photograph well. Need I say more?
Ottolenghi's blueberry lemon cake
This is a wonderful cake – no surprise, it’s a recipe by Ottolenghi. Yotam momentarily suspended here his fondness for mile-long lists of recherché ingredients and came up with a cake made of cake ingredients. But what a cake – let me just say that within barely over 24 hours it was gone, polished, hovered up and the two of us were looking sadly at the few crumbs left on the cake platter.
Can you cut down on sugar?
Health warning: I cut down the sugar amount nearly by half. The original recipe stated 190g/1 scant cup. It’s probably absolutely appropriate; it’s a cake after all, but I’m trying to limit the intake of white powder (haha) at the moment.
The choice is yours – and it serves you right for not reading this intro if your tooth is particularly sickly: without knowing, you’ll be wondering why on earth this cake isn’t sweet enough.
But joking aside – it IS sweet enough, plenty so. And gorgeous. And yes, it probably can be made with frozen blueberries but then the baking time might extend considerably.
The way this cake is made is genius
Do not skip the two-stage blueberry adding or covering with foil. It might sound like unnecessary faff but trust me and Yotam – it’s worth it because the fruit added atop the almost-set cake and then covered with a foil tent dissolves into a beautiful, jammy pulp, topping the cake with extra purple excitement. Rather skip the icing if you need to skip something – at your own risk.