There are - admittedly rare - times, normally around Christmas, Easter or a birthday, when I can sense chocolate overload descending. You know, when you simply cannot stomach the thought of another mouthful of chocolate, when it seems to cloy in your mouth rather than make you salivate in anticipation.
This lovely bright loaf is the perfect antidote. It's a perfect balance of sweetness and sharpness with the fresh blueberries and triple hit of lemon (with zest in the batter, a syrup infusion, and a light lemon icing glaze). Its general zinginess (it seems right but is that even a word?) seems to clense the palate, and if you're having visitors over Easter, and want a bake that will counteract the chocolate overload, then this is for you.
Ingredients (adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort.)
225g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn fine salt
125g softened unsalted butter
185g caster sugar
1 tbspn finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
125g fresh blueberries
For the syrup
3 tbspn fresh lemon juice
3 tbspn water
For the icing glaze
60g icing sugar
3 tspn fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 160 fan / 180 conventional. Grease and flour a 23 x 13 cm (5 x 9 inch)loaf pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest (best done in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one, beating until each is incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla, alternating in thirds with the flour mix, until it is just blended.
|Batter before adding blueberries|
Turn the batter into a prepared pan and then bake for about 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Make the syrup while the loaf is baking by heating the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, simmering for a couple of minutes to thicken it slightly. Pierce the sides and base of the loaf with a skewer, and then brush generously with the syrup.
Make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice with the icing sugar, and when the loaf is cool, drizzle over the top.
I am submitting this - as my first time entry - to this month's Alphabakes Challenge, which is organised by Ros from the More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes. The letter for this month is 'B', and as there are lots of luscious blueberries in this, I think it qualifies! As Ros is hosting this month's challenge, I look forward to catching up with all the other entries later this month on the More Than Occasional Baker.
This is an absolutely lovely bake and perfect as an afternoon treat with a steaming hot cup of tea.
Hope you have a fantastic Easter,