I’ve been combing the cookbooks lately. Not just any cookbooks, but the many I have on my own shelves. I won’t say too many, because I really don’t think I could ever have too many cookbooks.
I find that when I get one, as good as it may be, I make one or two recipes and on the shelf it goes. I have no idea why because they are all filled with a lot more than two fabulous recipes. It’s like the new updated gadget comes out, the old one gets shelved even though it’s still in perfect working condition.
So I’ve been combing through them page by page on my lunch hour at work and at home in the evenings. First, for recipes to spotlight these blueberries, and second, to look at photographs.
When I took the online CreativeLIVE Food Photography Course with Penny De Los Santos a few weeks ago, she repeatedly advised that aspiring and experienced food photographers should always be looking for inspiration. In books, in magazines, any where there is a food photograph, study it and use it to inspire your own ideas. That tip really stuck with me so I’ve been trying to incorporate picture study-time on a regular basis.
In the process I found an almond cake I wanted to try last year, but never got around to it. It comes from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff which I reviewed last year. It remains one of my favorite books because while it focuses on canning it is filled with recipes for entrees and desserts as well.
So I took the cake as a guide, used my favorite sugars and flours, added a little, took a little away and ended up with this Blueberry Almond Cake.
I was incredibly happy with the result. The cake is sweet and slightly nutty and the berries add just a little tartness. It’s a bit of a cross between a dessert cake and a coffee cake. I only view that as a bonus because once again, cake for breakfast!
Blueberry Almond Cake
Adapted from Rustic Almond Cake from Canning for a New Generation
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
¾ cup evaporated cane or raw sugar plus 1 tbsp and some for sprinkling (I use Demerara)
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp almond extract
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 inch spring-form pan.
In a food processor, process the almonds and 1 tbsp of sugar until they are finely ground, somewhat close in consistency to a coarse flour.
In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and ¾ cup of 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 almond 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 1 to 2 tsp 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. Serves 8 to 10.