Summer is a great time to enjoy the delicious bounty of Maine foods. Towns throughout the Pine Tree State are celebrating with fairs and festivals. Here in Hancock County, the Blue Hill Blueberry Fest on Aug. 4 starts with a blueberry pancake breakfast and culminates with a wild blueberry pie bake-off.
Although we enjoy frozen Maine wild blueberries all year, nothing beats a freshly picked, fragrant, intensely sweet, wild blueberry. Recently, I learned that there are more than 200 varieties of wild berries. It’s no wonder that I feel like Sal in Robert McCloskey’s “One Morning in Maine,” eating fresh berries, as each mouthful of nature’s healthy, antioxidant fruit demands another.
When the fresh berries are coming on strong, I like to make a Blueberry Cake. Adapted from a recipe in Marjorie Standish’s cookbook, “Cooking Down East,” this cake is a real crowd pleaser. By separating the eggs and beating the whites with sugar, the texture is very light and sweet. Sprinkled with fresh blueberries, it literally “melts” in your mouth.
We enjoy Blueberry Cake plain for breakfast, or with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt for dessert. It is a welcome treat tucked into a lunchbox, and the perfect local food for your morning coffee break.
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected].
The recipe for this “melt-in-your-mouth” Wild Blueberry Cake comes from Marjorie Standish’s book, “Cooking Down East.” Standish took the recipe from a Maine church cookbook, and it was among the most popular recipes ever used in her column.
2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1½ cups fresh wild Maine blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-by-8-inch pan.
Separate the eggs. In a small bowl, beat the whites until stiff. Beat in ¼ cup sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, dust the blueberries with a bit of flour so they won’t settle in the batter. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter with the vanilla. Gradually beat in the remaining ¾ cup sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until light. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the mixture alternately with the milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Fold in the blueberries.
Turn into a greased 8-by-8-inch pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter lightly with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 289 calories, 4 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams fat, (0 grams trans fat), 124 mg. sodium, 1 gram fiber.