Blueberry cake-ler is deceivingly good
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
I have to prepare you for this recipe … it’s good, but it’s not what you expect. It makes a dessert that looks like a cake but doesn’t taste like one. In fact, it’s not really cake-like at all; It’s more like the offspring of a marriage between a New York style cheesecake and a cobbler (I guess we could call it a cake-ler?)
So, instead of the light, airy crumb of a cake, get ready for a texture made dense by lots of cooked fruit and rich by the white chocolate and cream cheese in the batter. This combination rests on a crisp vanilla and cinnamon crumb crust. Blueberries and cinnamon, a pleasing combination, dominate the taste.
You can make this early in the day it will be eaten, or even the day before. However, I think it’s best served at room temperature or only slightly chilled. So, if you make it early and refrigerate it, let it warm up a bit before you present it. A serrated knife makes nice, clean slices, so use one if it is available to you.
You can fancy this up by serving it with sweetened whipped cream or a blueberry sauce or by substituting a lattice of drizzled white chocolate for the powdered sugar topping.
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in an 8-inch springform pan
1 cup of crushed vanilla wafers
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
4 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg at room temperature
1/4 cup of white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, DON’T thaw)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Place the bottom of the springform pan so its lipped edge is on the outside and its smooth edge will hold the bottom of the cake-ler. (This makes it easier to cut after it’s baked; the raised lip is not in the way of the knife.) Spray the springform pan with a vegetable oil-flour mixture and spread it evenly all over the pan’s sides and bottom with a paper towel.
Make the crust: Mix together the crushed vanilla wafers, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until evenly absorbed by the dry ingredients. This takes a minute or two. Squeeze some of the mixture between your fingers ” it should still be somewhat dry but should stick together where you squeezed it. If it doesn’t, add a bit more melted butter. Press the mixture over the bottom of the springform pan, leveling it as you go. Bake in the preheated oven until light golden (about 13-16 minutes). Remove to a rack to cool while you make the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees.
Make the filling: Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. In another bowl, combine the room-temperature cream cheese (cut into pieces), the sugar and the vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour-baking powder mixture and mix only until combined. Stir in the chopped white chocolate and the blueberries. Spread this batter over the baked crust. The batter is stiff; I find it easiest to spread with a rubber spatula dipped in water. Make sure it’s smooth and evenly distributed. Bake until the cake is dark golden and the center springs back when touched lightly. This takes 45 to 50 minutes in my oven.
Remove the cake-ler from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. After about five minutes, gently run a knife around the edge of the pan, pressing against the pan, not the cake. After about 15 minutes, carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan and let the cake-ler cool completely. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for a day or two but bring them to room temperature, or close to it, before serving.
This is a variation of a Sunset recipe.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User