This week, I’ve got some exciting news to share. The Flavor Equation just got long-listed for the prestigious Art of Eating award for 2021; it is an honor to be included among all these wonderful authors and their books. I’m also going to begin working on two new cookbooks with Chronicle Books over the next couple of years, and I will reach out here and on Instagram with questions, so do keep an eye out. I appreciated all your help with the survey on colors and shapes for The Flavor Equation that eventually became an illustration in the book; it also helps me understand what you’re looking for in a cookbook. This year there will be at least 8 different language translations and editions of The Flavor Equation, and I will keep updating this page as soon as more details are available. The Dutch and Indian editions are the first ones up!
I’ve also got some recipe updates for you – sesame-encrusted tofu served over a bed of sautéed spinach with a coconut milk lime dressing and chicken with miso garlic butter at the New York Times. At Serious Eats – roasted root vegetables with sweet lime dressing and aloo parathas.
Now for something sweet this week. Blueberry pound cakes are classic, and I’m giving them an update with plenty of lime. I know, I know, kefir makes an appearance yet again!Print
For the cake
2 1/2 oz/70 g unsalted butter, cubed plus extra to grease the loaf pan
2 tsp lime zest
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups/210 g blueberries
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup/120 ml unsweetened plain kefir
For the glaze
3/4 cup/90 g confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp plain unsweetened kefir
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp fresh lime zest
- Preheat the oven to 325F/165C. Grease and line a 9 in/23 cm loaf pan with a little butter and parchment paper.
- Melt the 2 1/2 oz/70 g butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the zest to the butter, stir, remove from heat, and cover for 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Reserve and transfer 2 Tbsp of this dry mixture to a separate medium bowl, add the blueberries and toss to coat well.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar over medium speed till light and foamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and whisk in the melted butter with the lime over medium speed for 1 minute till incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down, whisk in the kefir over medium speed. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the dry flour mix, mix over low speed till there are no more visible flecks of flour, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl down and fold in the blueberries with a spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven during this time. After 45 minutes, rotate the cake pan halfway through and continue to bake till the top turns golden brown and a knife or skewer when inserted through the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
- While the cake rests, prepare the glaze. Mix the confectioner’s sugar with kefir, lime juice, and zest in a small bowl till smooth and there are no flecks of the dry powdered sugar, using a spoon or spatula. Pour this mixture over the hot cake in the pan and let it rest for another 30 minutes in the pan before removing it. This cake will be good for 3 days if stored in an airtight container.
- Ideally, always zest citrus directly into things, in this case, the butter and the sugar. If you zest a lime or lemon and let the zest sit out, it will dry out fast as those delicious-smelling essential oils evaporate very quickly.
- By infusing the hot melted butter with the lime zest, the essential oils from the lime dissolve in the fat (oils are not water-soluble and, as such, would stay on the surface of the water and evaporate easily, this method avoids that), and you get a much stronger flavor of lime in the cake.
- I’m all about using frozen fruit if it is easier. However, avoid adding frozen blueberries directly to the cake batter as they will release a lot of liquid as they cook, and the cake will be very damp (it almost feels like it’s weeping, if that makes sense). If you have to use frozen blueberries, thaw them and discard all the liquid released. You can take it further and leave them on a clean kitchen paper towel to absorb the liquid. Then add the fruit to the flour mixture to coat.
- A substitute for kefir is buttermilk or plain unsweetened yogurt but do not use Greek yogurt here. The latter has too much protein and very little liquid to work with the ingredient ratios. In America, if you can find Lifeway kefir, use that. It’s the best one I’ve come across.
- This is my favorite loaf cake pan that I’ve used for years. I do hand wash it, but I do that for all my cake pans; I don’t trust the dishwasher enough with them and my knives.