Wednesday, June 11, 2008

birthday food and gifts

A coworkers' birthday was last week sometime when she was on vacation. I made her a little stuffed kitty and a blueberry crumb cake. Here is a very bad picture of both items. I love the fold lines in the plastic table cloth. That's so classy looking, no? She loved them both (the kitty and the cake not the plastic table cloth). We tend to go all out for birthdays around this little college. We all like to eat, I guess.

blueberry crumb cake - as always, get all the ingredients to room temperature. It will mix up much more nicely and make a fluffier cake.

For the streusel topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers,
crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

The kitty is very easy to make. It is a simple silhouette of a cat with a hinged tail. The bottom is fabric covered illustration board which I hand sew onto the already stuffed kitty. I made a couple of these before I realized that I should not try to sew around the ear points but rather end a line of stitches on the outside point of each ear. Make sense? I seem to get the best, most pointy ears that way. I am crazy about this fabric on this particular kitty. The little roses are so precious! I don't stitch whiskers on the kitties since I like simplicity of just having the little nose and mouth on the face. The nose and mouth are pink embroidery floss and the eyes are obviously buttons.

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