Summer Flavour of Choice: Lemon-Blueberry Cake

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Well, I did start out well with some semi-consistent blogging. But for the month of August? Not so much. I suppose I could apologize again, but it’s probably sounding a bit like a broken record. And I’ve been busy doing other things, most important and surprising of which is working on The Novel. Lots of changes on the horizon, both in fiction and in my real life. Hopefully.

But as much as I’ve been neglecting my blogging, I’m happy to report that I haven’t been so lax when it comes to baking. Take this luscious lemon blueberry concoction, for example, which started out as two loaves of quick bread. I decided to make more use of my Bundt pan. The result? Lovely and light, with a nice moist crumb. I covered it in a quick glaze of lemon juice and confectioners sugar, which I admit may have been overkill. I just got a little excited about the flavour of the moment, is all. I ended up being able to chip it off – that doesn’t sound good, does it? – without destroying the cake entirely.

The best part of all is that I was able to extend its life thanks to a recipe I found in 1940s cookbook I picked up at an antique market. It featured a great little section on how to use various leftovers to create completely new dishes – something that would be of particular interest for the budding Post-war housewife. I had half the cake left, so sliced it up and layered the pieces in a foul-lined loaf pan alternating with some French vanilla ice cream thinned with almond milk. After an hour in the freezer, I ended up with my first ever icebox cake!

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You can find the original recipe for the lemon blueberry loaf here.

Meringue Swirls Taunt Me No More!

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Finally, I give you my version of the accursed meringues! Now that I’ve finished them, I’m not sure what I was so intimidated by. But of course it’s so much easier to say that in hindsight. So let’s not go down that all-to-familiar road. Instead, let’s just focus on the fact that at last I was able to conquer this particular Martha-induced demon.

Here is a side-by-side comparison shot.

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Keeping in mind that I am by no means a professional, I’d say I did a pretty damn good job. One thing I would do differently is make sure I used more food coloring – and the gel kind instead of the liquid which was all I had on hand. But in any case the first few came out nice and swirly, while the remaining ones were more uniformly yellow. That’s fine with me – in the jar they have this sort of ombré effect which is quite lovely.

I piped as many as would fit in the oven but was still left with a fair amount of meringue. Not wanting to waste either that or the lemon I’d grated half the peel from, I set about making lemon curd for some sort of tart. I didn’t feel like making another shortcrust, though, and that’s when it hit me.

Why not make upside down lemon meringue tarts instead?

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I even crushed up some cookies to sprinkle on top to mimic pie crust. Judging by the reaction they garnered from the resident taste testers, I’d say the experiment was a success.

I must say, spending half the day in the kitchen was actually the most enjoyment I’ve gotten from life in quite a long time. I just need to figure out more ways to keep that feeling going all day long.

Recipes I used are here and here – both from Martha. Of course.