Friday, August 14, 2009
Plain Jane Plain Cake
We're going to try something a little different today and open today's post with a movie review. No, it's not for G.I. Joe, despite that cinematic masterpiece's obvious relevance to this blog. Rather, it's for Julie and Julia, which I saw on Sunday and Rebecca is going to see soon. I would highly recommend it for anyone who likes to cook, bake, eat or produce estrogen. It's the rare Hollywood movie about women where the main topic of conversation isn't men, and it will make your mouth water! Meryl Streep is incredible as Julia Child; Amy Adams, while okay, kind of gets chewed up in the jaws of Meryl's awesomeness. Oh well, that's what happens when you play in the big leagues. It inspired me to cook my way through Dorie Greenspan- a bout of inspiration that wore off pretty quickly when I remembered that I go to college, but still.
Speaking of Dorie..on to the post! So here's the deal. I really love blueberries. They're my favorite food, and I think it's genetic, since my dad also loves them (and so did Simon, last time I checked). So when I came home from Julie and Julia and was rooting around for recipes (Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a classic cookbook, but a) it's not great for anyone that keeps kosher and b) it's not stellar on desserts), I came across Dorie's Blueberry Brown Sugar Plain Cake and made it the very next day.
I have to say, I was kind of disappointed. But to be fair, a lot of the disappointments were my fault. Our house has really fallen into baking disrepair since I was in Pennsylvania, and I came home to find no unsalted butter, no light brown sugar and only two eggs of an indeterminate expiration date. Lame. Still, I soldiered on, and the cake wasn't bad. It just wasn't great.
I thought it came out too thin, which was once again my fault- the recipe calls for an 11 x 7 pan, and I didn't have one so I used a bigger one. Hence, thin cake. However, the recipe also calls for a pint of blueberries, and I thought that was way too much. I didn't even put in a full pint (I was nibbling at them in their container- sue me), but it was a kind of overwhelming amount and sometimes the cake threatened to fall apart because the blueberry-to-crumb ratio was too much.
That said, there were good things about this cake as well. I made it on Monday, and today (Friday) it's still really moist and not at all stale. The brown sugar flavor is strong and unique. You can have it for breakfast, or serve it with vanilla ice cream as a dessert (yum yum yum! I highly recommend). It is, as its name states, a plain cake, and it's pretty versatile but nothing too special.
But never fear, dear reader(s?). I went to the Farmer's Market today and bought a whole mess of blueberries. Tonight- Maida Heatter's blueberry crumble!