I was doing a little “housekeeping” in my photo library recently, and I came across a few shots of this amazing little cake that were taken almost a year ago. I didn’t remember ever sharing it with you before, and after doing some checking, I realized that I never had. Unbelievable! How could I have missed this one? Blueberry Boy Bait is one of my most favorite cakes ever. And, I make it often – especially during Florida’s blueberry season, which happens to be now. It’s the perfect time to spread around some Blueberry Boy Bait love.
So, why is it called Blueberry Boy Bait? Well, they say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Apparently, that applies to teenaged boys as well. At least, that’s what Renny Powell was thinking when she developed her award winning Blueberry Boy Bait recipe for the 1954 Pillsbury Bake-Off. The 15 year-old amateur baker from Chicago took second place in the youth division of the contest that year with her creation. When asked why she named her cake Blueberry Boy Bait, Powell explained that it was named after the effect it had on teenaged boys – “one bite and they were hooked”!
Having indulged in this luscious, golden treat many times before, I can attest to its powers of seduction – and I’m not even a teenaged boy! Loaded with plump, fresh blueberries and topped with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar, Blueberry Boy Bait is wonderfully buttery, moist and tender, without being cloyingly sweet – exactly what a great cake should be.
The cake is also fairly easy to make, and doesn’t require any special equipment other than an electric mixer. Plus, except for the blueberries, you probably already have all of the ingredients stocked in your kitchen. For not a whole lot of effort, you’ll be rewarded with an incredibly delicious treat that will make your nearest and dearest worship at your feet!
When shopping for blueberries, look for those that are firm and smooth-skinned. The berries should be deep purple to blue-black in color. Avoid containers with juice stains, which could mean that the berries are overripe and possibly moldy. (Yuck!) Also steer clear of dehydrated, wrinkled fruit. This usually means that the blueberries are past their prime.
You can use frozen blueberries in this recipe, but with fresh ones available, why would you want to? If you do go with frozen berries, don’t thaw them before using or else your cake batter may turn green.
There are quite a few recipes floating around the web for Blueberry Boy Bait. (Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves it.) The one I like best is from Cook’s Country Magazine, which I originally found on Smitten Kitchen. This version uses a mix of both white and brown sugar, which gives the cake just a hint of molasses flavor. It also has almost twice the amount of blueberries in it, to which I added even more. And let’s not forget the butter – all sixteen tablespoons of it. That’s two whole sticks, people! I defy you to find anything containing that much butter, which isn’t outrageously good.
So, whether or not you’re looking to reel in a teenaged boy or two, you really must give this Blueberry Boy Bait a try. I taught Mini SGCC how to make it and you can see for yourself how that turned out!
Blueberry Boy Bait
adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine
For the cake:
2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
For the topping:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the flour mixture and the milk alternately in two batches until incorporated. Toss 1 cup of the blueberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Scatter the remaining 1 cup of blueberries over the top the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle over the blueberries. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter with the topping side up. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cake can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.