Blueberry Crumb Cake {ModBak}

Like most of the rest of the country, we have had an unseasonably warm spring and early summer here. One of the consequences of this has been that many of the local fruits and vegetables are coming on much earlier than normal.

So I was only a little surprised to find fresh local blueberries at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. Blueberries don’t usually hit until about mid-July in our area, but here is was the second week of June and they were at the market already.

I try to avoid buying trucked in fruit whenever possible, so I was holding out until I could get local blueberries to make this recipe from the Cakes section of the Modern Baker Challenge. I just never imagined it would happen this soon. This recipe is a combination of  a blueberry crumble and a cake. It has a thick cake layer on the bottom, topped with a mix of blueberries and crumb topping.

I began by making the crumb topping, which consisted of flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter. Because the butter was melted, it had more of a doughy consistency than a crumb topping made with room temperature butter.

I crumbled the topping onto the blueberries in a baking dish and set them aside while I made the cake. I found this step kind of odd, as I expected the recipe to say to put the blueberries on the batter, then add the crumb topping. It turns out my instincts were right on in this case, as I got an e-mail from Nick Malgieri after I made this recipe noting that this instruction was an error in the book. Either way, it worked out fine.

The cake batter was made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and buttermilk. After mixing it up, I spread it in the pan.

I topped the batter with the blueberries and crumb mixture.

I baked the cake for about 40 minutes, until the batter was set and the crumb well-colored.

The blueberries melted into a jam-like consistency and were delicious with the crumb topping. I thought the cake layer was a bit too thick for the amount of topping. I think if you doubled the amount of blueberries, it would be perfect.

Abby liked this recipe a lot (she has a thing for blueberries), and she wrote the official post for the Challenge. You can check it out here.

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Sweet Dough Explosion — Artisan Breads Every Day

I recently found myself with family unexpectedly coming to town. I wasn’t sure who would be here, how long they would stay, or whether we would be eating here or at restaurants. Flush with my recent audience with Peter Reinhart and my success making his sticky buns recipe, I decided that I would mix up a big batch of sweet dough and at least have breakfast covered. When I say big batch, I mean a double batch. Enough to make at least four recipes.

I mixed up the dough, then grabbed my dough bucket and packed it in. The recipe says to make sure there is enough room in the container for the dough to double. No problem, as the dough bucket holds more than six quarts, and the dough barely reached the two-quart mark. I put the dough in the refrigerator for an overnight rest. When I opened the fridge later that evening, I was surprised at how much the dough had grown already. But, again, I wasn’t concerned, as I knew there was plenty of room in the container and the dough does most of its rising at the beginning, when it is still warm.

So imagine my surprise when I found this beast in my refrigerator the next morning:

The top and bottom were both bulged way out, but to its credit, the container held. I donned an oven mit and popped the seal.

With that bit of excitement behind me, I used half the dough to make creamy caramel sticky buns and, at my daughter’s request, cinnamon rolls.

The sticky buns were every bit as good as the first two batches I made from Peter’s recipes. In fact, I liked the creamy caramel buns as well or better than the honey almond ones.

With all the hubbub around here, I didn’t get a picture of the cinnamon rolls after they had been topped with  cream cheese frosting, so you’ll have to trust me when I say they looked and tasted fantastic. I didn’t think I could love another sweet as much as sticky buns, but these rolls were amazing.

A few days later, I made crumb cake with half of the dough that was left.

It was really good, too, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the cinnamon rolls or sticky buns. I had some fresh blueberries, and I was going to put them on the crumb cake, but I forgot. Had I remembered them, I think the crumb cake would have stood up well next to the other sweet dough recipes.

By this time the family had gone, and my sweet tooth was more than satiated. So I froze the rest of the sweet dough to use another day. My father-in-law just brought us several quarts of fresh blueberries from his bushes, so that day may be soon.