This recipe was in the cookbook that came with Daniel’s grandmother’s food processor, decades ago. Daniel and I bought a used food processor shortly after we began living together 19 years ago, and when his grandmother heard about this, she insisted that we look through her recipes and copy some we’d like to try. Next to this one, she had written, “DANIEL’S FAVORITE!!!!” She was a very enthusiastic person, so Daniel’s first response to hearing about this was that he must have said he kind of liked this cake one time. However, when I made it, he found that he really does like it a lot.
Now it’s his traditional birthday cake that I bake every February. I try to make it the night before so that we can start eating it for birthday breakfast, because it is a coffee cake–it’s not super-duper-sweet, being almost half fruit, so it’s good for breakfast as well as dessert. We’ve also made it in the summer when we find a good price on blueberries.
The original recipe called for white flour only. We’ve tried substituting whole wheat flour for one-third of it, and that makes a healthier cake without any noticeable difference in taste or texture, so that’s how I’ve written the recipe.
I’ve never tried to make it without using the food processor, but I’m sure you could–just chop the nuts finely before you start mixing, and mix the batter in a bowl with a rubber scraper.
To make one 8″ square cake, you will need:
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- dash of salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup blueberries (fresh, or frozen and thawed)
Set up food processor with standard blade. Put in nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cut 3 Tbsp. butter into 3 chunks and place them separately on top of the food. (This helps the butter mix in evenly.) Pulse the food processor just until nuts are chopped. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Measure flour into food processor. Cut the remaining 1/2 cup butter into about 8 chunks and place them separately on the flour. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and white sugar. Pulse the food processor just until the butter is absorbed.
Add eggs, milk, and vanilla. Run the food processor about 30 seconds. If batter looks unevenly mixed, scrape down the sides and whiz it a few seconds more.
Grease and flour the baking pan. Spread batter in it. Spoon the blueberries on top and then swirl them into the batter. Sprinkle the nut topping on top.
Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.