This winning blueberry recipe sure has gotten around
Recipes travel. And they endure - in pretty much the same way they were first made.
Last week, we ran a story on a blueberry cake tasting and the winning recipe was a simple confection with a crisp streusel topping, baked in an 8-inch square pan. It’s the sort of cake you might have seen on your grandmother’s kitchen table this time of year, sitting in the pan, still warm from the oven. The cake was sent into the Globe as part of the Recipe Box Project, in which we’re asking readers to share their favorite dishes.
We put this streusel-topped cake up against five other blueberry cakes, each a little different. The recipe took top honors from several dozen tasters. Jane Connelly of Scituate had sent it in to us. She got it from her mother, Shirley Lashway of Williamsburg, who got it from her sister-in-law, Dorothy. It was originally called Blueberry Tea Cake.
Well, this little cake has really been around. Apparently it appeared in the Globe’s Confidential Chat column decades ago. “You should give credit to ‘Cakes and Cookies,’ ’’ wrote Roberta Berenson of Falmouth in an e-mail. “The recipe was printed with three others under the heading ‘Blueberry Basket.’ I have given this recipe to all my friends because it got rave reviews every time I made it. I always used to cut out her recipes because they were just wonderful.’’ Berenson does not know who “Cakes and Cookies’’ really is. (If you do, please tell us.)
Betsy Sands of Winchester urged us to try her blueberry recipe, which is called Community Supper Blueberry Cake. She found it in the 1992 cookbook “Saltwater Seasonings: Good Food From Coastal Maine.’’ It’s another simple confection in an 8-inch square pan.
We also heard from Claire Naughton of Foxborough, who reminded us that the old-fashioned cakes with streusel topping are called buckles. In fact, wrote Naughton, the winning cake “is nothing more than a passed around version of a ‘Betty Crocker Cookbook’ recipe, blueberry buckle, with only two minor ingredient differences.’’ There are a couple more tablespoons of flour in the version we printed, and the addition of vanilla. “In the 1950s,’’ wrote Naughton, a retired home economics teacher, “my now 99-year-old mother lovingly prepared it during blueberry season in Michigan for breakfast or dessert, and it was often requested for family reunion picnics. When I go home to visit, my sisters and I still pick blueberries and prepare the buckle.’’
Naughton’s advice to this food editor: “Before you look far and wide for great recipes, check the ‘Betty Crocker Cookbook’ and ‘The Joy of Cooking.’ They are classics, which often can’t be beat.