January 26, 2014

Honduran Blueberry-Lemon Cake

Lemon cake with Honduran blueberries

Ah, we need a break from all that seriousness, don't we?

Doesn't that cake look yummy? Before I came to Honduras, blueberries were my favorite fruit. Now I would have to say that mangoes are on top with blueberries being a close second. Imagine how happy I was to find that blueberries are grown in Honduras! Then imagine how sad I was to find that most of the crop is exported.

You can occasionally find blueberries in La Ceiba, where they are incredibly cheap compared to US blueberry prices, but a little more expensive compared to tropical fruits. However, blueberries aren't well known here so sometimes the store's supply isn't as fresh as it should be.

Lucky me, I have a connection so I get some nice fresh Honduran blueberries every once in awhile. I hoard them away in the freezer and dole them out like they are made of gold. Honduran blueberries are similar (or the same?) as the rabbit-eye blueberries grown in Texas: big and juicy. Combine those berries with some big, fat, juicy Honduran limes or lemons, if you prefer, in a sweet, moist cake and you have blueberry-lemon heaven.

I felt like baking a cake not long ago. I started searching my cookbooks for a lemon cake recipe (one of El Jefe's favorites). Then I remembered my blueberry stash in the freezer and a Lemon-Blueberry cake recipe I had made long ago. It was a lower fat-lower calorie cake recipe.

I started making it, when it occurred to me: Is my Catracho going to be satisfied with a low-fat, low-sugar cake? I don't think so! In fact, after he saw the cake later, his happy face turned downtrodden when I started telling him that I had a recipe from a low-fat cookbook. Then I went on to explain that I modified the recipe to fatten it up, which cheered him up considerably. Yes, that is shameful, but if you are going to eat dessert, it might as well be the real thing.

Here is my recipe. I hope you enjoy it:

La Gringa's Honduran Blueberry-Lemon Cake

3 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup mantequilla blanca (or sour cream)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 tbsp. lemon zest, divided use (~4 medium lemons)
1 1/2 - 2 cups cups fresh or frozen Honduran blueberries
1-2 tbsp. sifted flour

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp. of lemon zest from above

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt pan or, I'm guessing, two loaf pans or maybe 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cupcakes. This cake rose quite a bit so whatever you use, don't fill it more than about 2/3 full.

Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine milk and 1/2 cup lemon juice and let sit for about 5 minutes until it thickens. Add mantequilla and vanilla and whisk to combine. If using sour cream instead of mantequilla, I think I'd add an extra 1/4 cup of milk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add softened butter and beat another 2 minutes. To the sugar mixture, alternate adding about 1/3 of the milk mixture with 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, beating on low speed with each addition until blended. The batter will be thick.

Place blueberries in a colander, rinse if necessary. No need to thaw them if frozen. (It's preferable not to thaw because the juice then sometimes turns your batter grey). Shake off excess water and sprinkle berries with 1-2 tbsp. sifted flour. Toss the berries in the colander to lightly coat them with flour. Gently fold the berries and 2 tbsp. lemon zest into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, invert the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling. While still a bit warm, but not hot, pour the glaze over the cake. For loaf pans, I'd check the doneness of the cakes at about 40-45 minutes and for cupcakes, at about 20-25 minutes.


Sift the powered sugar into a small bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons or so of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. Stir well. Add more juice until the glaze is the consistency you like. (Truth is I forgot to measure the juice.) Drizzle over slightly warm cake.


If you try this recipe, please let me know how you like it. By the way, I call this Honduran blueberry cake not because it is a Honduran recipe but because it has Honduran blueberries – just to be clear. Of course, it would work with any type of blueberries.

Blueberry tip: Don't wash blueberries before freezing. Spread on a cookie sheet to freeze and then place into a plastic freezer bag. They will freeze separately better that way allowing you to measure out what you need, but more importantly, the skin tends to become tough if you freeze them after washing them.

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