Citrus and blueberries – a match made in heaven, captured in cake form
I’m quite thankful that this is my wee blog and no one can tell me that I can’t post about so many blueberry, citrus and/or almond cakes, or cookies. The thing is, I’m a little crazy about citrus and almond as a dessert flavour combination, but add blueberries and my tastebuds start making noises of disbelief, because it’s almost incomprehensible to have that much deliciousness and perfection jam packed into one bite. The thing is, up until now, it has been a difficult decision to use blueberries in baking since it seems sacrilege to use perfectly fresh ones in baking, and they never get to the “not fresh enough” stage if my mouth has anything to do with it. This is New Zealand, where I just paid $10 for two punnets as a “special deal.” My student budget starts doing an alarming alarmy dance, and it’s not pretty. Today was one of those days though, where little things kept going wrong and I just felt depressed about all the earthquake stories I was being told and I just wanted to shut my eyes and eat something so ridiculously wonderful my brain would fail to be distracted by anything else…and just in case you think I’m a selfish, inconsiderate little brat, I will be giving the rest of these cupcakes away to Comfort for Christchurch.
After all…someone else ought to realise that chocolate isn’t everything.
Of course, I had to test one. Maybe two.
…I’ll regret giving them away, but also absolutely not regret it.
Ok, so other than my wild and passionate love of the flavour combination, the other reason to make this cake is that it has a wonderfully moist texture that is heavenly soft but just sturdy enough to keep its shape.
I have a very good feeling about it staying that way tomorrow, too. EDIT: I was oh so right – these went all sticky and were still soft and moist the next day! When still slightly hot, the top is a tad crisp and the bigger ground almond bits are nibbly-crunchy. Once cooled, the tops soften and the cakes sweeten further. In terms of the citrus-y-ness, it’s up to you how much *pow* you want. I only had half a lemon left so the lemon was very much a background flavour. I vaguely remember making this as a large cake back in the day (minus the blueberries) and using a metal tin, which dried out the edges substantially more, so I would definitely recommend using silicone cupcake “tins” or lining the cupcakes, and not making it as a cake.
Citrus and blueberry cakes
makes 12 regular sized cupcakes
- 1 c plain flour
- 1/2 c ground almonds/almond flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 c caster sugar
- 1/2 c oil (pref extra virgin olive oil, but I just used canola…shhh)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (real, good stuff only)
- 1/2 tsp orange or lemon extract (I used about 1 tsp since I barely had any lemon)
- zest of at least 1/2 lemon or orange
- 1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice, or the juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon plus enough water to make up 1/2c*
- about 60-72 blueberries (5-6 per cake)
* I used the juice of half of my lemon and the rest was water.
Preheat oven to 180C (355F), with a rack centred. Line your cupcake tin if using metal ones, or grease and flour thoroughly.
Whisk eggs and sugar in both directions for about 30 seconds (I whisked in one direction for five strokes or so, then the other way for five strokes, and so on). Whisk in oil until the mixtured lightens in colour, and thickens slightly (I sped up the whisking at this point). Whisk in extracts, zest, and juice (it will get much looser once these are mixed in).
Sift over dry ingredients and whisk until combined and emulsified (about 30 seconds).
Pour batter into cupcake tins, and bake in the middle rack of your oven until the tops are golden – for silicon this will take longer (almost half an hour it took me!), for metal maybe check at the 10 minute mark just to be safe.
Allow to cool for ten minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely on a rack (if using paper liners). If using silicone, or metal greased tins, just let them cool completely in the cups, then move them to an airtight container lined with paper.