Blueberry Tea Cake

Today was an example of how not to bake!

I am expecting my first guest this afternoon.  And she knows I went to cooking school and like to cook and that I think I have a discerning palate.  I couldn’t very well serve her something store-bought for tea!  I immediately thought of Bill Granger recipe I really like that uses sour cream and is full of blueberries.  Most importantly though - it’s a no brainer!

I was planning to make the tea cake first thing this morning, but when I woke up I realized that I had run out of oats.  Little L always has porridge for breakfast - so I gave her a banana and off we rolled to Lidl.  Where I got distracted by all the nice vegetables they had and started thinking of what I should make for dinner.  I have to admit that after all the Lidl bashing I did when I first moved into my flat, it’s kind of grown on me.  Like an old mutt that hangs around long enough to make himself endearing.  Back to the flat we went.

I put the porridge on the stove, started putting the ingredients I needed on the counter, tried to make my coffee (one ball to many for my morning juggle - what should have been a 30 ml espresso shot just ran and ran until it overflowed.)  Little L reins supreme over the kitchen counter in the morning.  She walked among the plates, moving the blueberries to a different plate and trying to drink my ice coffee.

It turned out the sour cream I bought was just regular cream, I was 30g short of butter but by some miracle had exactly the right amount of sugar!  Excellent!  I mixed some cream and yogurt together as a substitute, creamed the butter and the sugar and hoped for the best.  I added a teaspoon of dried lavender to the recipe because it’s so pretty and aromatic.  My new oven baked the tea cake in just under 30 minutes instead of the 40 to 45 that was recommended in the recipe.

Despite my role as Captain Chaos this morning - the cake turned out delicious as always.

Blueberry Tea Cake - Adapted from a recipe by Bill Granger

180g butter (room temperature - when room temperature is under 22 C)

210 sour cream (substitute yogurt if you don’t have it)

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

330g caster sugar

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers (totally optional!)

3 medium eggs

250g blueberries (fresh or frozen)

350g plain flour

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or gas 160 C.  Grease  a 23 x 33cm baking tin and line with baking paper. Mix the soured cream with the bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a separate mixing bowl until light and creamy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla, and beat to combine. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add to the soured cream mixture and mix until evenly combined (my mix always splits at this point but rights itself upon the addition of the flour).
  3. Put the blueberries into another bowl and toss with a little of the flour (this is to stop them from all sinking to the bottom).
  4. Sift the rest of the flour and baking powder over the cake mixture and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon until just combined. Gently fold through the blueberries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin (I like to sprinkle a little soft brown sugar on top) and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

N.B. There is a cream cheese icing that goes well with this cake but I only ever make it in the winter, if I am serving it to guests and most of it will get eaten up at once.  Otherwise you have to put the cake in the fridge to preserve the icing and that makes the cake tough.  If you want the icing though, just click on this link.

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