Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blueberry Breakfast and Breezy Beaches

Alan and I just spent a lovely weekend with our visitors from Jedburgh!  We had not been able to get together since last September but it was just like we had seen each other last week. Although the weather here was not great, we managed to enjoy the Ayrshire shore and scenery!

Last night we had a lovely dinner overlooking Ayr Beach at Ayr India.  We had hoped for better views, but the atmospheric conditions were interesting enough for us, and the food was magnificent, as always!

We were so busy getting the house ready for the first overnight visitors we have had in ages, that I didn't have the chance to bake anything for their arrival.  So early Sunday morning, I decided to find something suitable for breakfast baking!

In my searches on the internet, I found so many delicious sounding recipes, many too sweet and also too involved for me to get done fast enough.  But one that caught my fancy was a  Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake from a blog called Alexandra's Kitchen!  This sounded quick and easy and just what I was looking for!  With only one problem, I didn't have any buttermilk!

Although there are instructions on how to convert milk into buttermilk, I have never really wanted to try that.  But I did have Creme Fraiche in the fridge and decided to use that as a substitute.  No pressure, with guests in the house and having no idea how it would turn out.......but it was absolutely delicious.  (I did add another heaping tablespoon to the mix because it did seem too dry with the measurement that was suggested, glad I did too.)

Following our breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and this blueberry cake, we all had a lovely Sunday drive along the coast to Largs!  Since it is still August, this should have been a much nicer day than we got.  But the wind was gusting and the waves were all churned up and it was cold enough for a scarf and layers!  However, we had a fabulous day!

After walking along the shore, looking at the Millport ferry going back and forth and discovering Ibac and how much I missed it being in Ayr.....we did what you are supposed to do when visiting Largs - had ice cream at Nardini's!

As often as I have to go to Largs, mainly to work, I have only sat down to eat there 3 - 4 times, and have never just sat down for ice cream only!  (There is another section where you can just get cones to walk along the usually beautiful beach!)  So I can also say their food is excellent. But on this particular occasion, we enjoyed gorgeous sundaes and then coffee before heading back to our home.  Once there, our friends had to begin their journey back to Jedburgh.  But we will certainly not go so long between visits again, I hope!

Being in a hurry, I was not able to convert any measurements, but I did have to refer to the online butter conversion to be able to get the correct quantities.

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake -


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more - zest from large lemon (I didn't have this and didn't miss it)
7/8 cup  1 Tbs to sprinkle on cake before baking
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (set aside 1/4 cup of this to toss with blueberries)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen and that worked out fine)
1/2 cup buttermilk or creme fraiche worked for me!

The instructions from Alexandra's Kitchen explain how to make homemade buttermilk as follows:
Place 1 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill cup with milk until it reaches the 1 cup line.  Let stand for five minutes.  Use only 1/2 cup of the prepared mixture for the recipe.  (so if I had to make this substitute - I would make 2 cakes!)


1.  Preheat oven to 350F or 160C.  Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup sugar until light and fluffy.

2.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of flour, then whisk remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3.  Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.  Fold in the blueberries.

4.  Grease a 9 inch-square baking pan with butter or coat with non-stick spray.  Spread batter into pan.  Sprinkle batter with remaining Tbs of sugar.  Bake for 35 - 45 minutes.  (35 was good for my cake)  Check with a toothpick for doneness.  If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes.  Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Since my husband is not crazy about blueberries, I was delighted to see this exact recipe can also be used with cranberries. There were a few changes:  orange zest instead of lemon zest.   1 cup of sugar instead of 7/8, and a suggestion that you can make the batter the night before and store it in the fridge!  Alexandra's Kitchen goes on to say not to store the batter in the pan you plan to bake it in but to store it in a tupperware container of some sort, then transfer to the greased pan in the morning when you want to bake it.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." ~C.S. Lewis