Thursday, June 30, 2011

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake

TasteSpotting.  If you haven't been on their website, you need to look at it.  So many beautiful pictures and such variety of recipes.  Today I have fresh blueberries to work with.  A search on TasteSpotting gave me lots of options.  I clicked on a muffin recipe, and from that link I clicked on a couple more, only to end up with a recipe I'm not sure where I got.  No matter, really, because I made so many changes to the recipe. 

The original recipe called for 4 eggs; I used 2 eggs, and 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed mixed in 6 tablespoons of warm water.  I am not sure I care for the flavor that flax seed adds, but I do care for the good nutrients it contains.  The recipe also called for 3/4 cup of sugar; I used 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of sugar.  I also added blackstrap molasses, which isn't called for in the recipe but I look for any opportunity to add it to a recipe.

Also, the original recipe called for sprinkling 2 teaspoons of sugar over the top before baking.  I forgot that step, and about 10 minutes into baking I remembered it.  I pulled the cake out and put 2 tablespoons of sugar on it.  Then I read the recipe again and saw that I had gone way overboard on the sprinkly sugar.  Still, considering the flax seed issue I have, maybe that was a lucky accident.
Finally, the recipe called for almond extract.  I don't have any on hand, so I used vanilla extract.  I'm sure almond extract would have given it a stronger almond flavor.  The finished cake has a nice almond flavor even using vanilla extract.

Here is what the recipe looked like after I got finished messing with it.  It hit a few wet spots on the counter, too.

I still have plenty of blueberries left and can't wait to eat them.  Enjoy!

Almond Blueberry Cake
Serves 10


1 cup almond meal
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
2 eggs
½ cup honey
¼ cup sugar + 2T sugar for topping
2 T ground flax seed mixed with 6 T warm water
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 T blackstrap molasses
½ cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring-form pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the eggs, the flax seed in water, the honey and sugar. Using the whisk attachment beat for about 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy. It should increase in volume as well. Mix in the molasses and vanilla extract.

Slowly alternate adding the butter and flour mixture, blending after each addition just until combined. The batter will be thick.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Evenly distribute the blueberries on top of the cake, gently pressing each into the batter. Sprinkle on 2 T of sugar.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with very few crumbs and the sides pull away from the pan. Place on a cooling rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the spring-form pan and cool to room temperature.

nutrition facts
based on a 2000 calorie diet

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Garden Pictures

I love our gardens.  We have 3 huge flower beds, a largish vegetable garden, the peahouse (now featuring cucumbers and cantaloupes), and random melon plants by the shed.

The yellow and orange cosmos came up this year from seed spread by the cosmos I planted last year.  To the right, on the pergola, are the zucchini plants.  I trimmed them way back today and pulled out one of the plants.  The leaves that were covered in mildew all had to go.  We've had 2 zucchini off these plants; today I saw another one coming along!

To the left, peeking into the picture, is the big shade garden under the Bradford pear tree.  I've put lots of plants in there - astilbe, hosta, bleeding heart, forget me not, ice plant, and a few more.  One day that garden will be filled completely with flowers.

More cosmos, chrysanthemums, and a little more of the shade garden.  The gardenia bush on the right is in full bloom but I can't prove that by this picture!

Gladiolas coming up, gerber daisies, random volunteer yellow flowers that I've forgotten the name of, snapdragons, and my giant red poppy seeds went in this garden too.    To the left you can see one of the broccoli plants that turned out to be a cabbage.

 I have two tiny poppies that never seem to get any bigger.  This is, however, my most successful attempt to grow poppies from seed.   The most I've ever had before were stringy seedlings that died almost immediately.  They are right in front of the white plant stake in the bottom left-hand corner.  You can sort of see one of them.  I have high hopes for these two little plants!

Down the fence from the poppies and cabbage is this eggplant.  We have a fruit on it now and several flowers!

The cucumbers love their location on the front fence.  The roses need serious pruning.  The idea horrifies Greg, but it must be done.  I'm gradually trimming them back and trying not to draw attention to myself.

A better view of the shade garden.  I planted some tulip bulbs in there, given to me by a neighbor.   I can't wait to see what color they are when they come up next Spring. 

These pretty petunias hang right outside my office-room window and I can see them from where I sit. 

After we pulled all the peas out, the cucumbers and melons went crazy on the peahouse!  That cucumber in the middle is hanging on the inside.  I'm trying to poke all the babies through, so they'll hang inside.  So convenient for picking!

These are some melon plants on the peahouse, with cilantro along the bottom.  The baby melons are tiny and fuzzy, very cute.  I can't wait to eat them.