Simplify

You don’t have to be on Pinterest for more than a minute to figure out that people are trying to simplify their lives.

blueberry loaf

Why any of us thinks Pinterest is going to help serve that purpose is beyond me, but there we all are, pinning without abandon.

blueberry loaf 2

Keep calm and carry on.  Just start.  Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

These words are all fine and good to pin, but completely worthless if pinning is as far as you get.  You have to live them.  You have to constantly make choices to keep things simple.  Which seems counterintuitive.

Yesterday, in an effort to keep things simple, I lived one of my favorite pins while I made blueberry cream cheese bread.

blueberry loaf 3

This bread has been on my mind for an embarrassingly long (think months) period of time, during which I have spent much of said time balking at the number of steps it requires.  And then I was having my friends over and I knew this was just the thing to make, and I knew that I still didn’t want to go through half of the steps it was going to take.  Wah.

So made it, but I didn’t make it more complicated than it had to be.  I didn’t beat the egg whites to soft peaks, which might have made for an airier loaf, nor did I make a glaze to further sweeten the cake.  And guess what?  This cake was amazing anyway.  My friends loved it.  You will too, because of the dreamy layer of cream cheese sandwiched smack in the middle.

To make a (slacker’s) blueberry cream cheese loaf, you will need:

For the cake:

  • 1/2 C (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C flour + 1 T
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 C milk
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed and dried

For the filling layer:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 egg
  • zest of one orange

Mix all filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a loaf pan (anywhere between 8.5-10 inches long should do).

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy in bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes.  Add salt, vanilla, and eggs, one at a time, and beat till combined.  Stop to scrape down the bowl of the mixer as necessary.

In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 C flour and baking powder.  Next you want to mix in the flour and milk, alternatively, starting and ending with flour.  So, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 the flour, 1/2 the milk, and the last 1/3 flour.  I am dying to think of a more concise way to get that across.  Stop to scrape down the bowl whenever necessary and mix just till combined.

Mix blueberries and 1 T flour in the same bowl you just dumped the flour out of.  This seems like a step that the detail-challenged (read: me) would skip, but it’s a necessary one.  It really does keep the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.  Fold blueberries into batter.

Place a bit less than half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Layer filling on top of that and spread.  Finish layering remaining batter, and bake 50 minutes.

If at all possible, serve warm.

2 thoughts on “Simplify

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