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Blue Belles

With juicy berries and zesty lemon, these tiny cakes pack big flavors.Heading to a friend's house for the weekend? Tasty little loaves made with peak-perfect berries are great gifts for the host. For a blue-ribbon presentation, print these gift labels and attach to wax-paper-wrapped loaves.

  • prep: 35 mins
    total time: 2 hours
  • yield: Makes nine 2 1⁄2-by-4-inch cakes

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Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)

Variations

To make a large loaf instead of several little ones, use a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes.

Cook's Note

Cakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter nine 2 1/2-by-4-inch baking pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

  2. Step 2

    Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and syrup is thickened, about 4 minutes. Let stand while making cakes.

  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, combine heavy cream, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the vanilla in a bowl. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl.

  4. Step 4

    Beat butter, lemon zest, and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Gently fold in blueberries using a rubber spatula.

  5. Step 5

    Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

  6. Step 6

    Transfer pans to wire racks, and brush tops of cakes with lemon syrup. Let stand for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, and brush all over with remaining syrup. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, July 2011

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Reviews (10)

  • 18 Nov, 2013

    Perfection (period). Anyone who doesn't give this recipe a glowing review... just didn't know what they were doing.
    Appearance, flavor, texture... it's all there! I doubled the recipe and baked mini muffins and a loaf. I sliced the loaf and froze the individually wrapped slices for about two weeks. Thawed to room temperature and it was still perfect!

  • 2 Jul, 2012

    I made Blue Belles for a family gathering last year over the 4th of July... they were delicious! We all drove from 2 to 12 hours, so everyone arrived hungry ~ the Blue Belles were gone so quickly that I wish I'd made more :)

  • 13 Sep, 2011

    I absolutely love these little cakes. I made them exactly as the recipe says, using fresh blueberries, lemons, and other ingredients. They were creamy, buttery and packed full of flavor. I took them to a Gathering for 37 soapmakers and they were a hit. I used the label template in Martha's craft section and the presentation was fantastic. The Wilton nine cavity mini cake pan fits the recipe perfectly. Now my sister is planning to try the recipe for a Federation of The Blind fundraising event.

  • 28 Jul, 2011

    This is a delicious recipe! I've made it 3 times already. I do add some extra blueberries though. I love the lemon syrup-it adds something special!

  • 18 Jul, 2011

    Didn't like it. They didn't have any taste. Expected a really nice sweetness from the blueberries and the sugar (and I added a little more than called for!) but it just wasn't there.
    My husband will eat anything that is a baked dessert and
    even he commented on the lack of sweetness.

  • 5 Jul, 2011

    This recipe is so simple and sooooo delicious! I love it, my fiancee loves it, and even the people I work with loved it! The syrup is sweet and tart. The cake is moist and the fresh blue berries mixed with the lemony goodness makes this cake and a year round favorite! Easy to make and easy to taste!

  • 30 Jun, 2011

    My mother made this for my husband and I. Enjoyed them late night after dinner. What a perfect way to end the month of June. Blueberries and Lemon are a perfect treat for the summer. Oh...I also took it a step further and printed out the blue ribbon art and wrapped them in wax paper as you suggested! It was fun to recreate. Thanks Martha. I was running around the house boasting that I was Martha Stewart....much to my husbands rolling of the eyes. He said, "your mom made them."

  • 26 Jun, 2011

    OMG this is SOOO good. I don't know how long the syrup took to thicken, but it was fine. I made two standard loaf pans instead of the small ones, but that was just my choice (and, I don't have the tiny loaf pans, but it's a great reason to buy some. I bought some fresh blueberries from the farmer's market the day before, and just put it all together. Don't change a thing. This tea cake is incredibly delicious. You will not be disappointed, just follow the directions.

  • 24 Jun, 2011

    These little cakes are great tasting and a great gift. I used Wilton's 8 mini loaf pan. My syrup took a lot longer than 4 mins to thicken. I am looking forward to making more fruit loaves for holiday gifts from this basic batter. I hope freezing berries now, that they can be thawed and used later and will taste as good.

  • 10 Jun, 2011

    I used the aluminum mini loaf pans approx 5"x3" and it filled 4. My dough was a little sticky/dry so it didn't smooth out in the pans like my banana bread when cooking and cooked up to seem more like a biscuit dough. But after putting on the lemon syrup (and I just left the cakes in the pans and poked some holes in the tops for the syrup to soak in) it made them moist and I have to say 'Delicious'! I used 2 cups of blueberries as I like more fruit in my breads/cakes. It's a 'keeper'!