Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

A few nights ago, I texted my sister, who was scheduled to arrive for a visit the next day. “What do you want me to bake you?” She didn’t text back for a bit, so I began perusing my cupboards for ingredients and scanning the internet for possibilities.

I had no cream cheese and only a little bit of sugar left (what kind of baker am I?), but pulled a pint of slightly-shriveled blueberries and some lemons out of the fridge, and decided to experiment. Now, I’m not normally one for pound cake, but something about the sunny lemon flavor distracts me from the fact that I’m eating an incredibly dense piece of cake. It’s all about balance.

By the time my sister texted me to say that she wanted something with chocolate (she had the nerve to suggest cheesecake. brownies.), I was pouring the cake batter into a pan. However, I can’t really say no to her, so while it was in the oven, I whipped up a batch of chocolate buttercream.

My sister declared this cake spectacular, and I must agree with her. It’s rich, but worth every bite (and ounce of butter). I was unsure about pairing the chocolate frosting with a fruity pound cake, but I now highly recommend it.

I made my buttercream with some hot chocolate mix and melted semi-sweet chips because I didn’t have any cocoa powder. I assume you, a real baker unlike myself, probably have cocoa powder in your cupboard. Either works well.

I also used brown sugar instead of regular sugar (out of necessity, rather than experimentation), but it worked well! It makes the cake a bit heavier, but lends it a nice flavor that compliments the lemon.

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Makes one bundt cake, or two loaf cakes. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Lemon Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon zest (4-6 large lemons)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two loaf pans, or one bundt pan

  2. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. (You can also do this by hand, but make sure your butter is soft!) Mix at a medium speed, and add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest.

  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. In another bowl, mix the lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. 

  4. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk mixture to the butter and sugar mix, alternating between them. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan(s), and smooth the top(s). Bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean. 

 

Chocolate Buttercream

Adapted from Add a Pinch.

  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa ((or hot chocolate mix, if you're like me))
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted (OPTIONAL))
  • 3+ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4+ cup milk
  1. Cream the butter and cocoa together with a mixer, or by hand. Once fluffy, add the vanilla extract. If using, add the melted chocolate chips.

  2. Gradually add the confectioners sugar and milk, alternating between them, and mixing until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. 

White Chocolate Strawberry Challah Bread

 

Well, friends, I’m back to posting recipes again. My replacement camera arrived in the mail this afternoon (which is terribly exciting after being without one for a year), so now I can take pictures of the things I bake!

This summer has been mostly about pie, but the other day, I woke up with the desire to make something with yeast. This, of course, means bread, for those of you who don’t randomly crave the smell of active, bubbling yeast. So my holiday was spent minding a double recipe of challah–a slightly sweet, soft bread traditionally braided into loaves.

I experimented with putting things inside the challah dough. While I can’t say I recommend fresh peaches (they taste amazing, but make the dough too wet to work with), this loaf intertwined with fresh strawberry pieces and white chocolate chips was a big hit! I chose to tuck the chocolate and strawberries into the dough as I was braiding it, but you could also mix them in before the first rise, or before braiding (although if you do the latter, you’ll need to give the gluten in the dough some time to rest before trying to roll it into strands).

You can find the recipe for challah bread at Kitchn (along with a great tutorial for a 6-strand braid!). Simply mix the chocolate and strawberry pieces in at some point (see the last paragraph) before baking.

Post-Finals Health

We’ll categorize this post under “taking care of yourself after finals week” or “restoring sanity”. Both, I think, are terribly appropriate. The fact that currently working at two internships for the summer, and am enjoying the break/relaxing gives you some indication of how insane this past semester was.

For the record, I know now not to take 19 credits, have 2-3 major leadership positions, and present at 4 conferences all in one semester. My advisor has been warning me of overloading myself for the past three years (I am a chronic overbooker/overachiever), but it was this semester when this habit caught up with me. For the record, it did not catch up with my grades, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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To top it all off, I managed to dislocate a rib during finals week while I was simultaneously studying and moving. So after finals, my first stop was at the chiropractor (mine is basically a miracle-worker). Now, I’m housesitting in a gorgeous local home – with a kitchen all to myself. At some point during finals, when I’d gotten so sick of sugar/not eating well that I couldn’t actually enjoy eating anymore, I decided to do something about it post-semester.

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As I remarked to someone last week, going back to healthy food as a detox is a bit reminiscent of my roots as a farmgirl (see the title of this blog), where health was a way of life. I don’t miss some parts of living on a farm, but I definitely miss the ability to eat well all the time. It’s easy to make the choice to eat well when you have the resources to do so, but for those of us whose access to clean food/kitchens/more than 15 minutes for meals is limited, choosing healthy food is often impossible.

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So this week has been for detoxing, and getting over a sugar addiction. With the exception of a meeting at the local bakery (cannot stay away from raspberry croissants, ever), I went sugar-free and pescetarian. It’s been incredibly successful, and I feel far more energized (*also because I’m getting more than 5 hours of sleep per night). I’ll probably go back on some other meats throughout the summer, but I wanted to start by getting myself used to eating mostly-vegetables again.

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Finally, I’m trying to use my free time doing things that are both productive and mentally healthy. That means trying to stay away from Lord of the Rings Online (my guilty gaming pleasure) and wandering aimlessly around Facebook for hours. I’ve pulled out my camera again, and am trying to put aside time for devotionals or quiet contemplation every few days. Every few days because I have a really bad habit of starting something “daily” for a few days, and then getting off track (and guilting myself into not restarting it). So every few days to get back into the mode of spending time peacefully with God, and outside of my own head. I also picked up a copy of the Common English Bible this semester, which is helping immensely. (Reading Ezekiel is actually really interesting when it’s in simple English.)

So here’s to self-care and rejuvenation.

Done with the Semester + Iced Coffee

Happy May! I’m back to the blog with another semester under my belt. As a told a professor via email yesterday, I’m pretty sure this spring was when I discovered the limit of responsibilities + classes (+ boyfriends + drama) that I can handle in one 16 week period. It was a good growing experience, and luckily, my GPA made it out unscathed. As did my sanity, surprisingly.

Now I’m doing two marketing internships – one continuing from last semester, and one beginning this week for a new company. I’m so excited to concentrate on this without homework and 143980713587 other tasks pulling for my mental energy.

If you’re a fellow college student (or once were), I’m sure you know exactly how this feels.

To celebrate, I’ve been drinking a lot of iced coffee. The house I’m staying in has a ginormous coffee maker, and I generally make way too much in the mornings, which means that I have cold coffee to ice in the afternoons! If you’ve never made it, you’re missing out on an easy treat (that you don’t have to pay $4 for!).

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Enjoy!