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Toward the end of the summer I get a feeling that inspires me to think of everyone who has passed through life’s various seasons before me. I somehow take comfort in the fact that other people have experienced the rhythms of the earth more times than I have. And that they’re okay, more than okay. Where fruits and citrus are plentiful, figs, squashes and root vegetables will follow. It forces you to appreciate a more subtle kind of beauty. That being said, let’s just focus on the superficial beauty that these summer days have to offer. I’ve arrived late to the party in realizing the value in superficial aesthetics. Give me sun, bright colors, stunning flowers and suntans. Overload my senses. Subtlety is for thinkers, creative writers and introspective types. Seduce me with the substance of the book another day. Today the focus is on the cover and all the other things that shine.

We are still in the throes of summer and berries still abound. Blueberries have become my new favorite. It used to be raspberries or even the blackberries that grew in the bushes behind my house growing up. This year cherries threatened to take over as the front-runner, but for me, blueberry is still old faithful among all the beauties. I put them in salads, eat entire punnets of them in one sitting during lunch and then again after dinner.

This cake is nuanced, but its beauty is obvious. It actually appeals to both the book readers and those who revel in the beautiful aged and weather-worn cover.  I consider this cake a distant, darker beautiful cousin of my favorite olive oil cake and just as easy to make. The warm undertone of hazelnuts from browned butter gives this a very unique flavor, like a buttered and toasted muffin. I watched this video to get the brown butter perfect. And trust me, this is something worth doing. Brown butter just might be the best thing in the world (no hyperbole here). The note of fresh rosemary is what puts this over the top for me. I cannot resist a subtle savory note in a cake like this. It makes all the difference. As Beth suggests in her recipe, I made this while doing laundry, cleaning dishes and working. This cake is definitely a winner. You can put a glaze of powdered sugar and buttermilk on it if you’d like, but I left it as it was and ate it piece by piece for dessert, then breakfast, then lunch. I hope you do too. Work hard, play hard, make this cake!

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Adapted from the intrepid Beth Kirby on Local Milk Blog

Blueberry Brown Butter Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick / a 1/2 cup butter, browned & chilled until solid but soft
  • about 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons buttermilk (I used the low fat version)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup blueberries

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Directions:

Heat oven to 350° f. grease a 6-cup bundt pan well with butter. Add flour to a medium bowl. Add baking powder and salt. Sift together well.

In another bowl, mix the solid brown butter, olive oil, and the brown & white sugar until very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, incorporate the first before adding the second. After the second egg is incorporated add the vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk, alternating with the next 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk.  Mix in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture along with the rosemary. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top, bang it against the counter 3-4 times to get rid of air bubbles, and bake at 350° f for 30-45 minutes (if doubling the recipe for a 12-cup bundt pan or if using a 6-cup bundt pan with no hole as i have here, increase cooking time to 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes and cover with foil after 45 minutes) or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If at any point the top is a deep, golden brown, but then center is still not cooked, cover the top with tin foil and continue to bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake, and then invert onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Enjoy. Buen provecho.

honey rosemary butter

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