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LABOR DAY FINALE

LABOR DAY FINALE

from Laurie Burrows Grad*

It’s the last of the summer cookouts and it is fun to make a truly Americana dessert with your grandkids.  This is a very easy cake to assemble for a Labor Day barbecue.  My grandkids and I fill the center with fresh whipped cream, (licking the bowl all the while), and decorate the sides with strawberries for a fantastic holiday dessert.

I make this cake when fresh berries are in season, but you can also make it out of season and use frozen berries but do not thaw them first.  If your grandchildren like nuts, add ½ cup chopped pecans to the cinnamon sugar.

RED, WHITE, AND BLUEBERRY CAKE

Serves: 10-12

Equipment:

sugar shaker jar

10-inch bundt pan

electric mixer – preferably a standing one

mixing bowls

rubber spatula

measuring cups

measuring spoons

wire rack 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Filling:

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cake:

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 ½ cups sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Decorations:

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups fresh strawberries

  1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Generously butter or coat with nonstick cooking spray a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar with the cinnamon, stir to combine, and set aside.
  3. In bowl of a standing electric mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter with the sugar on medium high speed, until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix in.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the 2 ¼ cups of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
  6. Dust the blueberries lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour to prevent them from sinking into the batter.
  7. Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan.  With a fork, swirl the cinnamon sugar into the batter.  Place the blueberries on top of this layer.  Add the remaining batter and top with the remaining sugar mixture.  Swirl the sugar with the fork again.
  8. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to cool for 1 to 2 hours.  Place the finished cake on a cake plate.
  10. To decorate: Place the beaters and bowl of an electric mixer in the freezer for 20 minutes if time permits.  Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  11. Wash and hull the strawberries and dry on paper towels.  Grandmothers can halve some of the bigger strawberries.
  12. Fill the center of the cake with the whipped cream.  Top the cream with some sliced strawberries.  Decorate the plate with the remaining strawberries and serve with any remaining whipped cream on the side.

* Laurie Burrows Grad is a cookbook author, television chef, food journalist, and activist/fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her cookbooks include Make It Easy in the Kitchen; Make It Easy Entertaining; Make It Easy, Make It Light; and Entertaining Light & Easy. On a personal note, she is the enthusiastic babysitter for her ten-year-old grandson Lucas and his six-year old sister, Georgia.

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