Valerie’s Buttermilk Blueberry Cake

Cover recipe- Woman’s Day, Valerie’s Buttermilk Blueberry Cake:    January 2012

This recipe comes from the January 2012 issue of Woman’s Day.  Themes in this issue come as no big surprise for the first issue of a new year:  Look and Feel Your Best– with promises of how to burn 200 calories in 10 minutes (a Bob Harper workout) and how to erase wrinkles and dark circles, 5 Tricks to Improve Your Luck Now, How to Turn Clutter Into Cash, Delicious New Chicken Dinners, and How Valerie Bertinelli (Jenny Spokesperson) is Keeping Off the Weight.  Woman’s Day always has a fair number of recipes to browse.  Recipes that look worthy of trying in this issue:  Chicken Enchilada Bake, Roasted Tomato and Garlic Tart, Chicken and Spinach Parmesan, and Flank Steak with Cauliflower Puree.

One of the “lessons” Valerie Bertinelli shares in her article: “Dieting doesn’t mean deprivation.”  The recipe featured on the cover is a cake that Valerie says she likes to make for her book group:  Buttermilk- Blueberry Cake.  Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.


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Buttermilk Blueberry Cake

Yield: 24 servings

Prep Time: 15 min + chill time

Cook Time: 70 min


2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries (or one 12-ounce package frozen blueberries, thawed & drained)
2 tablespoons coarse, sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3 3/4 cups flour; make a well in the center.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, buttermilk, sugar, oil and lemon zest. Pour into the well of the flour and stir to combine (a few lumps in the batter are OK- do not over mix).
4. In a medium bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour to evenly coat. Fold all but 1/2 cup of the blueberries into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries.
5. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar and bake until the cake is brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes.
6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then unfold (remove the outer ring) and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


*This is just a nit-picky comment, but as a recipe developer myself... I find it odd that they did not list the order of dry ingredients from largest to smallest (flour first...).
*I didn't have any buttermilk, so I made my own. I added 1 3/4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to a measuring cup, then poured the milk in to the 1 3/4 cup line. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so and you have homemade buttermilk!
*This recipe does not call for any actual lemon "juice." Your lemons will dry up quickly if you zest them and let them sit. Go ahead and juice them too, then save the juice in the refrigerator or freezer until you need some.
*I used fresh blueberries.
*I used demerara sugar.
*The batter fills the 9-inch springform pan and rises well above the top. Don't try to substitute a 9-inch cake pan in this recipe unless you take quite a bit of the batter out to make some extra muffins with it.
*My cake took a full 70 minutes to bake.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/24th of the cake
Calories per serving: 188
Fat per serving: 5g
Saturated Fat per serving: 1g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">164g
Fiber per serving: 1g
Protein per serving: 4g
Cholesterol per serving: 16mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 32g

Source: Woman's Day, January 2012

The results:

This cake rose up big and tall and beautiful.  It was really impressive looking!  We chose to serve it up as a morning coffee cake, but it could be served as an afternoon tea cake as well.  The recipe calls for 24 servings- I’m assuming because they wanted to feature this as a healthy cake at 188 calories per slice.  We enjoyed pretty large slices of cake.  I’d say it’s more realistic to cut it into 12 or 16 slices instead of 24 (which, of course, changes the nutritional information).  In any case, it was a delightful cake.  Both my husband and son felt that it needed a glaze.  I might skip the coarse sugar and perhaps drizzle a lemon glaze on top instead (whisking powdered sugar + some of that lemon juice you didn’t need!)

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes!   It’s beautiful cake to display for the cover, even though Valerie is really the cover’s focus.  The message being conveyed in this New Year’s issue is that dieting doesn’t mean deprivation.  This cake fits the bill for that.  And it’s delicious too.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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8 Responses to “Rustic Strawberry Tart”

  1. 1

    Maria — May 4, 2010 @ 7:45 am

    Sorry it wasn’t a favorite. It looks pretty though:)

  2. 2

    Krista — May 4, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    Oh how pretty! :-) I love rustic tarts – the freeform pastry – just wonderful. :-)

  3. 3

    Pixie — May 4, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

    Maybe the butter is the reason no additional filling was needed to soak up the liquid from the berries? So if you leave the butter out, then perhaps extra filling to soak up liquid would be needed?

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 4th, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

      Pixie- there was a lot of liquid… AND the congealed butter. ick.

  4. 4

    snacksgiving — May 4, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

    Looks nice and rustic. Didnt try it yet..well strawberries look pretty. That is a good enough reason to put them on a cover I guess!

  5. 5

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — May 5, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    Sorry you didn’t love the recipe. You could have fooled me with the picture, though… It looks great (even if it didn’t taste great)!

  6. 6

    Heather — May 6, 2010 @ 9:16 am

    it sure looks pretty enough to eat!! maybe apples would have been better!

  7. 7

    lk — May 8, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

    ugh, so pretty but the congealed butter sounds nasty. :(

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