Mar 12, 2009

Blueberry Cuddles

I’ve elected Love Thursday to being my official weekly pamper day. I left the house bright and early, with self-gratification and coccole (cuddles) on my mind. After a 30 minute jog and an invigorating apricot body scrub, I sashayed into the Thai day spa for a herbal facial and a 90-minute ayurvedic massage. Coming back home, floating on cloud 9, I left all tensions behind and… baked streusel. The beauty treatment is a 360° affair, is it not?
While E. helped by grinding the beans for my steaming demitasse of afternoon espresso, I whisked today’s ultimate merenda reward: blueberry coffee cake.
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200 gr (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing (softened)
  • 3 small eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 gr (1 cup) plain yogurt
  • 200 gr (1 cup) fresh blueberries (OK, thaw the frozen kind)
  • 2 large eggs
For the streusel topping:
  • 50 gr (1/4 cup) pastry flour
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 50 gr (1/4 cup) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 180° C (356° F).
Grease a 9-inch square cake pan with butter and dust it with flour.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon and hazelnuts. Beat in the butter at medium speed bursts until fluffy. If necessary, use the back of a spoon to press out any lumps. Break in the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully combined, and then finally stir in the vanilla and yogurt.
Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring until just combined (over-stirring will make the batter harden), and fold in half the blueberries.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, it will be quite sticky and messy, you can use a silicone spatula to make things easier. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the batter and top with the remaining blueberries. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top.
Make the streusel topping by mixing together flour and sugar in a bowl, rubbing the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers to form coarse blibby crumbs. Sprinkle these over the cake and bake until a dry spaghetti strand (or a toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Let the cake cool slightly while you brew your coffee, and then unmold. Allow it to cool completely on a wire rack (I hardly ever obey this last instruction) before cutting into 2-inch squares and applying to face.

Happy Love Thursday a tutti!



    Regarding followers: they have to be culled, nurtured for a while. You came back to me; I'm now hooked, and will visit the other blogs you might have listed. I see that Loritimesfive has joined you. She has hundreds of followers. If you drop in a visit her, she will be a good fishing pond for you.

    Since I began visiting other blogs back in January when I decided to go public, I try to visit sites, with fewer followers. After a certain number, it's hard to keep up. This dropping in and leaving a comment takes committment, just like making new neighbors feel welcome.

  2. And making us visiting guests feel welcome is what you do so gracefully, while making us think and reflect with your deep and heartfelt posts. Thank you for the pointers and for the dedication, I very much appreciate it.
    Did you see I put new wallpaper up on my virtual blog wall? Tee hee...
    Ciao cara

  3. No.Sorry! I must be more observant. Now that you mentioned all those nice things about me, I must live up to the expectations. But, wait. Your blogroll lists a whole bunch of places that sound yummy, and I'm getting hungry.

    Grazie mille per l'opportunita di scrivere in Italiano.

    How did you become bilingual? And what are your plans for the education of your children which you hinted in a previous comment?

  4. Lovely and well written blog. Will have to return with pen and paper to copy down some recipes:>)

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipe...I shall try it soon. Happy Love Thursday !

  6. Diostracted - thank you for stopping by for a chunk of cake. I have more goodies in store, so do drop by again soon. Ciao

    Se'lah - thank YOU! Ciao

  7. Rosaria - As I commented in Man of Roma's very interesting foreign language learning post, I am fluent in Italian and English, but the task of raising my son as bilingual is not easy. I grew up with mamma speaking to me in Italian, and daddy in English. All it took after that was studying in International schools from kindergarten to graduating from the American Overseas School of Rome, and my languages were locked. That's where I also learned the basics of French. An Argentine ex-boyfriend contributed to my Spanish.

    I’m a single mom, and I tried talking to my boy in both languages from the beginning, but he is very confused when I switch to English. He’s very talkative for his age, but I can’t steer him away from his romanaccio inflection. I have been applying my own personal input method with him recently, aware of small children’s absorbant minds. So evviva cable TV, DVDs and books on tape. I'm planning multilingual education for him, but my resources are insufficiant for private international schooling demands. Vedremo...

  8. Oh, a weekly pamper day, what a great idea! I realise my life is a bit acetic sometimes, so it would be great to dedicate one day per week to floating on clouds like that. I’ll give it a good thinking. Life needs some planning after all.

    As for language education for children, ci sono molti studenti stranieri che per un letto potrebbero fornire conversazione ecc. E' una cosa che consiglio a tanti miei amici, pensando anche un poco a soluzioni diverse come il mandarino o cose del genere, che potrebbero essere un buon investimento per il ragazzo.