Alright, here goes – career killing post #5, or maybe 20, but who’s counting at this point: I don’t know what it is lately, but my fanboy status for Cook’s Illustrated has been waning with the last two issues.
How can this be? This is like the no-fail magazine.
But “it” did it—it failed me. The last two issues’ recipes have only been okay. With that, this blueberry bundt cake was even less than okay—in fact, I was disappointed—the flavor was off. I didn’t agree with the cinnamon from the onset and even less so at the end. Personally, I would replace that flavor portion with a 1 cup of coconut or 3-4 tablespoons of lime zest. Although what I did like, the blueberry filling—even though my streaking didn’t show through as prominently (probably because I didn’t use enough pectin to set it)—the method of pureeing and swirling the blueberries rather than just dropping them in definitely guarantees a more even blueberry bite.
That said, you guys already know—of course, I’ll still read every issue cover-to-cover, or at least until the end of my subscription.
Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Recipe from Cook's Illustrated, Issue 122 - May & Juen 2013
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 18 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cup (5 ¼ ounces) sugar
- 3 tablespoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes
- Pinch salt
- 10 ounces (2 cups) blueberries
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat 12 cup bundt pan with bake spray and lightly dust with flour.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla; set aside. Gently whisk all eggs and yolk until just combined; set aside.
- Place butter and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in half of eggs until combined, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs, scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Reduce speed to low and add one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture.
- Repeat step 3 until all batter and buttermilk is combined. Cover bowl and set aside
To make blueberry filling
- Add pectin, blueberries, grated lemon zest in a food processor bowl and process until smooth. Transfer 1/4 cup puree to saucepan and heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar and pectin. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Add remaining puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, about 8 minutes.
- Spoon half of batter into prepared pan. Using the back of a spoon, create a well. Spoon half of filling in well. Using a knife swirl filling into batter. Repeat swirling with remaining butter and filling.
- Bake until top is golden brown and cake tester is clean of crumbs when inserted and removed from cake, about 60-70 minutes. Cool cake on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then invert cake directly on wire rack.
Averie @ Averie Cooks says
Sorry to hear that the cake was not as impressive as you wished. It sure LOOKS awesome. But your photography skills would make a dirty sock look amazing 🙂
I had a bit of a fail with a recipe with them from their cookbook with some chewy sugar cookies. They recommended baking them for 18 minutes! I would have had char-broiled dust at that point and there were a few other things that didnt quite work for me with those but so far…that’s the only recipe that I didn’t have luck with!
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
Thanks for your honest opinion of the recipe! I bought some blueberries to bake with this weekend. I love your photos, they are so creative!
William Algie says
Maybe I missed something, but I can’t seem to find the ingredients measure for the blueberries or the pectin.
Also, the following needs a spell check:
“Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, Issue 122 – May & Juen 2013”
Still look pretty good to me, but anything you photograph looks delicious!
Oooh! I always appreciate posts of recipes that do not work. Saves us all from spending time and money on ingredients. Thanks!
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
I hate how they are suppose to have the best tested recipes and yet often fail so many or disappoint. I get that recipes can’t please everyone but they should also be easy to wow. Yours looks stunning and I do love the concept of swirling the fruit instead of dropping in.
Arthur in the Garden! says
I love any type of bundt cake or pound cake.
Love bundt cakes!
Oooh, I am super loving these photos! Also love bundt cake, blueberries, + coffee cake…perfect combo!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
So sorry about the disappointment, Naomi. The cake sure looks great! I love your styling. Wish I could help to get rid of the cake for you 🙂
Heather Christo says
The recipe may be off, but your photos are spot on- gorgeous as usual!
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
This blueberry bundt is fantastic looking. Looks so beautiful!
Jackie Hammond says
We all tend to be our biggest critics but the cake looks delicious and I have to ask what are the measurements for the blueberry filling.
Miriam @ Overtime Cook says
Well I think it looks fabulous. Love this styling as a different way of shooting a bundt cake!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Even so, the cake looks killer. Love the lime zest idea… sounds great with blueberries!
This cake looks amazing! I love the idea of that jammy filling. But I must also admit–Cook’s Illustrated and I do not get along. That whole concept of “the best X” just makes me angry. It’s much more interesting to explore all kinds of different variations, even with the occasional failure.
Kevin (Closet Cooking) says
This would make for an excellent breakfast!
Julie @ Table for Two says
what a gorgeous cake, naomi!!! blueberry is one of my favorite flavors for cakes/muffins 🙂
Beth @ The Collegiate Baker says
This cake is so simple and pretty. I’m sure if you made it, it’s delicious. 🙂
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says
So sorry that Cook’s let you down, Naomi. It has happened only once before with me. The best part? You know what to do to make this Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake shine and be what she should be! Love the coconut and lime ideas!
Marian (Sweetopia) says
Such gorgeous photos, Naomi! You really know how to make your sweets shine.
Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) says
Ah, it’s always a bummer when cookbook or magazine recipes don’t turn out as well as you think they will! It sure does look great though. I fully support you making a new and improved version of the Cooks Illustrated cake. 🙂
Zainab| Blahnik Baker says
The cake is beautiful and I love your photos.
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Wish I was close enough to get the cake away from you. No disappointment from the photos, my friend 🙂
Shanna@ pineapple and coconut says
I love the honesty. I too get disappointed when I see a recipe in a favorite food mag, follow the recipe to a T and it doesn’t sound right but I soldier on knowing that it MUST be good because there is no way that publication would allow a bad recipe to go to press and it falls flatter than flat. I have had that happen many times. At least you have the ability to make something mediocre in flavor look amazing to the eye. Gorgeous photo like always
Love me a good bundt cake ~ this one looks fabulous!
The cinnamon does sound off, not the right spice for this at all. Your pictures look amazing though, as always.
I need a slice of this cake in my hand right now
Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective says
Since we can’t taste it, all we have to go by is the pictures, and yours are beautiful!! Lovely-looking cake. 🙂
Barb H. says
Why don’t you past recipes with changes, instead of posing theirs. I would love the improved recipe.
Allie B. says
I agree that Cook’s Illustrated is getting more hit-or-miss lately. What really bothers me is recipes I can’t even use, like grilling. Here in a New York City apartment those are completely useless.
If that’s a career killing comment then my day to day inappropriate monologue must be food blogger genocide ;D
I hate when a cake doesn’t rock the casbah.:/
Recipe for the blueberry filling seems to be missing. Thanks.
Janet Geelan Thomas says
How much pectin are you supposed to use?
Wow – I totally agree with you. Their recipes are more frequently miss then hit. This one in particular. Following the recipe EXACTLY, the pectin/puree/sugar blend was glue-like. Was this the case for you, too?
Can pectin be substituted for anything else?
I am not sure of its purpose and would rather not use it.