It was a dark and stormy morning. Haha, I always wanted to write that!
Really, it was pretty dark and stormy this morning. Record rainfall had happened while we were sleeping last night, causing havoc and damage here in Toronto. We had no idea. So, all our plans for the day got delayed somewhat. And it turned into a cleaning and baking day instead. I actually love days like today. There is something cozy about the dark sky, the rain hitting the window panes, and the occasional roll of thunder. I love the mood that is created by it all. Yes, in the autumn or winter it means a tea, blanket and old movie are in order. In the summer I can usually amuse myself by cleaning out closets, the fridge or even getting creative and baking up cookies or muffins. I’m not totally ready to hibernate yet, but I will use a day like this and view it as the treat it is.
August also means that tomatoes, peppers, peaches, nectarines, zucchini and blueberries are in season. And the proof is in my fridge. We have all this goodness that we picked up from the fruit and veg stands out in the Niagara countryside the other day. And I had all these luscious blueberries sitting front and centre in the fridge. Some were going into smoothies, some had gone into scones. And now some will go into my Lemon, Mint and Yogurt Cake.
I knew when I first baked up this Lemon Cake, that it would be the perfect setting for fresh blueberries, once they came into season. And that time is now. There is something so charming about lemon and blueberries together. Fresh and old fashioned, they make the best muffins. So this cake was just a natural thing to bake up. But I decided that I would replace the freshly chopped mint with fresh basil. Basil has a pleasant sweetness to it as well, and I had plenty in my little balcony garden box.
Of course, you can use the entire recipe for the Lemon Mint Cake as is, replacing the mint with basil, and adding a cup of fresh berries. But I decided to adjust it just a little. My original recipe uses candied lemon peel along with the lemon zest sugar, as part of the batter. And the syrup used to make the candied lemon is also used to sweeten the cake after it has baked up. But I decided to leave this out. I wanted this to be a cake with less steps, making it a bit more accessible for everyday baking, time-wise.
So since there would be less lemon flavour going on from the residual lemon sugar, and the lemony syrup, I upped the lemon zest in the revised recipe below. In fact, I doubled it. I zested 4 lemons and added that zest to the 3/4 cup of sugar. I rubbed the zest into the sugar, so that the oils from the zest would flavour the sugar. I let it sit this way for a bit, to let the flavours intensify.
My original recipe was baked up in a loaf pan. But this time around I wanted more of a cake, so I went with a bundt pan. With the added berries, make sure that your bundt pan is at least a 6 cup capacity. If the pan doesn’t state the size, just test by pouring in cupfuls of water, keeping track of each cup, until you are comfortably near the top. If your pan is smaller, fill it 2/3- 3/4 full, and use any leftover batter in muffin tins. I used a 6 cup bundt pan for the cake today, and it worked fine. It did puff up above the rim, but it was fine. Disclaimer, as it rose closer to the upper element, it did get a bit more ‘golden’ so I had to loosely drape a piece of aluminum foil over the top. Next time I would probably fill it less and use the rest of the batter in a lined muffin tin.
You can still glaze it the way original recipe calls for, and either top it with the candied lemon peel, or leave it just glazed.
I just love slicing into this baby, and seeing all that jammy goodness of the purple-y blueberries as they burst into the cake. This is such a moist and tender cake. The yogurt and olive oil can take all the credit. The cake freezes well, but unless you are like us (only two in the house) you probably won’t be freezing anything!! I brought this cake to where I volunteer last week, and it was a huge hit. Everyone loves a tender cake bursting with berries!
And what’s really great about this cake, is that it can be made in January! We always have access to lemons. And blueberries are pretty well a staple year round as well these days. Wouldn’t this cake be an amazing treat when it is gloomy and cold and miserable outside. (Kinda like today, but with frigid temps!) This yellow hued, blueberry laden treat would make great muffins or a loaf on the most dismal of winter days. The promise of sunshine and warmer days ahead. The sky is still dark today, there is thundering rumbling in the background, and I have to have the lights on, the rooms are so dark. But I have some sunshine on a plate, thanks to this cake!
Lemon Blueberry and Basil Bundt Cake
This moist, tender and bright lemon cake is filled with the bursting jammy goodness of fresh blueberries, and has the savoury sweet accent of freshly chopped basil.
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- zest from 3-4 lemons
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil packed
- 1 cup Greek yogurt or Skyr
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup fresh blueberries that have been rinsed and dried
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp milk can use non-dairy milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 6-7 cup bundt pan (you can also use a 9x5 loaf pan) If you think the pan you are using may be too small, pour remaining batter into lined muffin tin.
Combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and rub together well. Set aside to let the oils flavour the sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the basil and toss to coat evenly with the flour.
In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest-white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs.
Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
With a rubber spatula, fold the olive oil into the batter, making sure it’s completely incorporated.
Add the blueberries and fold in gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and give it a gentle tap to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. The size of your pan will affect baking times. I often find I am baking this for a good 55-60 minutes. But start checking after 50 minutes.
If you are baking these up as muffins, start checking at the 30 minute mark.
Once out of the oven, let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, on a cooling rack.
To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and the milk, and mix until smooth.
Turn the cooled cake onto the side and tap gently to start loosening it. Remove the cake from the pan by placing the cooling rack over the top and gently turning it over. Place the cake on the cooling rack set over a wax paper or parchment lined baking sheet.
Pour the glaze slowly over the cake
If you want to make the candied lemon peel and the lemon syrup, check out the original recipe HERE