Last fall, Carolyn and I compiled and edited a charity cookbook. We asked parish members to submit their favorite recipes, had the Sunday School kids draw illustrations, pulled it all together in Publisher, printed and assembled it in-house, and sold it for $3 a pop.
When we started, we weren’t really sure if A) anyone would contribute recipes or B) anyone would buy the cookbook. Naturally, we were wrong on both counts. We sold out, earning $270 for Happy Tails.
This recipe is adapted from the Peek-a-Boo Cake recipe in our Fall Favorites Cookbook. (The fruit filling -- cherry, blueberry, or raspberry -- peeks through the top of the cake, hence the “peek-a-boo.”)
The cake is mildly sweet with a good vanilla essence (it should, doubled the amount of vanilla). It's not as dry as a shortcake nor rich as a poundcake but somewhere in between. It complements the fruit very well.
It's that fruit that makes this cake taste so seasonal. I’m not usually a canned pie-filling fan but I was pretty impressed with Comstock’s More Fruit Blueberry; it was suprisingly fresh tasting. The amount of fruit was a bit sparse in spots given the size of the cake so next time, I’ll increase the amount to 31 oz. (1 ½ cans).
One thing that concerned me with the original recipe was the lack of leavening: no baking powder or soda in sight. (Was that an editing error? Maybe.) Carolyn floated a theory regarding the eggs: with so many in the batter, you don't need leavening. I'm not sure about that but she was the science major, not me, so perhaps I should defer.
Still, I threw in a teaspoon of baking powder and a ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fortunately, everything seemed to come out all right.
Maybe it’s the blueberries – which I love — but this speaks of late afternoon summer picnics to me. It’s good warm or cool, with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Baked Blueberry Shortcake
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla*
3 c. flour
1 ½ cans blueberry, raspberry, or cherry* pie filling (recommended: Comstock/Wilderness)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour and blend well.
Spread 75-percent of the batter into the pan. (Note: batter will be very thick, almost like a cookie dough.) Top with pie filling, then dot with remaining batter. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, until golden brown.
*If using cherry, substitute 1 tsp. almond extract for vanilla extract.