Vanilla & Blueberry Loaf Cake

Vanilla & Blueberry Loaf Cake
We are very partial to a loaf cake in this house. There is something that feels relatively wholesome about these cakes, although that’s probably more to do with the word ‘loaf’ in the title. They aren’t too big and are relatively fuss-free to make, store and cut. A slice is stoically comforting with a mid-week morning cup of tea and has none of the guilt-inducing extravagance of, say, a three-layer chocolate fudge cake normally reserved for the weekend.

This is a deliciously fresh-tasting cake made with fresh blueberries and the added Greek yogurt gives it a light, moist texture. I’ve included a simple recipe for not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, but it is equally yummy without.

Ingredients:

110g / 4oz very soft, unsalted butter

110g / 4oz caster sugar

2 large eggs (US extra large)

1 tsp vanilla extract

140g / 5oz plain flour

2 tsps baking powder

90mls / 3oz Greek yogurt (or sour cream if that’s what you’ve got handy)

100g / 3.5oz blueberries, washed and shaken in flour to coat while still a bit damp – this can help stop them sinking (they will still sink quite a bit though – this is normal!)

Preheat the oven to 170c / 325f / Gas mark 3.

Line a 2lb loaf tin. I urge you to use 2lb loaf tin liners! They are readily available in the baking aisle of your supermarket. You just pop one in your tin and you’re ready to go with no fuss whatsoever. Cutting paper to line a loaf tin is about as much fun as a hangnail.

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Beat the butter and sugar together until pale yellow, light and fluffy, using whatever mixer you have (or a wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease.) It’s virtually impossible to overbeat at this stage, so keep going until it’s really fluffy.

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Turn down the speed -you don’t want eggs on the ceiling – and add the eggs and vanilla. Mix gently to incorporate, then mix on a higher speed for just a minute or so to really bind the mixture together. Don’t worry if it looks slightly curdled.

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Reduce the speed again add gradually add the flour. Mix on high for another couple of minutes. Lower the speed, spoon in the yogurt and mix for another minute. Your mixture will look pale yellow and creamy. It should ‘drop’ nicely from a spoon with no effort.

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Add the blueberries. Mix just enough to distribute them evenly. Now, scrape the mixture into your prepared tin. Smooth the batter with a palate knife or the back of a spoon and pop the tin in the centre of the oven.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Check after 45; the cake will have a deep golden top (it might have a little split down the middle, that is fine!) and will spring back if you lightly press it. A cake tester should come out clean.

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Allow to cool for 15 minutes or so on a cooling rack before lifting out the cake to cool thoroughly. Because of the moisture in this cake, it tends to flatten out a bit once it is cold – which makes a good surface for the optional cream cheese frosting!

Cream Cheese Frosting

100g sifted icing sugar

25g very soft unsalted butter

50g cream cheese, cold from the fridge

2-3 teaspoons blueberry jam (optional)

Beat the sifted icing sugar, butter and blueberry jam (if using) together until well mixed. Add the cream cheese and beat just until thick and creamy. Once it looks done, stop mixing. Cream cheese frosting is notorious for going runny if overbeaten!

Spread over the loaf cake and tuck in.

This cake will keep happily in a tin overnight but if you want to make it last longer, store in an airtight tub in the fridge, as it will keep the cream cheese frosting fresh. Slice as required and try to let the slices to come to room temperature before eating.

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