cast iron recipes In the Kitchen

The perfect melt-in-your-mouth blueberry cake baked in cast iron

The older I get, the more I bake, and the more I experiment with grandmom’s cast iron recipes, the more I’m realizing that the secret to amazing baking is simply going back to the way Grandmom baked. And boy, let me tell you, grandmom gave the perfect name to my favorite of all of her recipes: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Blueberry Cake.

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For me this week, part of going back to the way Grandmom baked included harvesting the fresh-picked blueberries myself. I was extra elated to spend my birthday morning doing just that.

Delay gratification

While there are a lot of things I love about living in New England, mountain hikes with majestic views and the rewards of wild blueberries is definitely on the top of my list. (This week’s hike overlooked a harbor of the beautiful Lake Winnipesauke. I wrote about Winnipesaukee, one of my favorite lakes, in this post.)

As I picked the tiny blue berries in the morning mountain breeze, I thought often of the delicious moist taste of the blueberry cake that I hadn’t had for almost a year. And I wondered how much of the secret to baked perfection is also in delayed gratification. That’s something we don’t know much about today when we buy a boxed cake on aisle 18 of the brightly lit grocery story–a box that proudly announces its contents are good for 4 more weeks because it’s loaded with unnatural ingredients and preservatives.

Savor the memories

Bent down among the tall, itchy grasses and short wild blueberry stalks, slowly adding one tiny berry after another to my pail, I was thankful that this cake was a long time in the making. I wondered how often previous generations associated food with one particular day and looked forward to that deliciousness for another 364 days.

The last time I had enjoyed Grandmom’s Blueberry Cake was on Mom’s birthday, last July. She loved the cake as much as I do, so we had made it for her numerous birthdays before. While I feel empty thinking about not being able to celebrate with either Mom or Dad again on this side of heaven, beautiful thoughts of Mom are one more sweet association I have with my favorite cake.

So as I feasted on the sun-warmed sweet berries, placing every third or fourth one that I picked in my pail for later, I decided that this year–today–I would make my own birthday cake. And it would be grandmom’s Melt-in-Your-Mouth Blueberry Cake, mom’s favorite and my own.

Enjoy the secrets

So maybe all three things add up to the secret to the perfect Blueberry Cake…

Harken back to the way Grandmom baked, consider using shortening and always bake in cast iron.

Delay the gratification a little, and take time to make the deliciousness just right. Really cream the ingredients well, instead of plopping it together, and carefully coat the tender berries in flour before adding them to the batter.

Enjoy all the memories your family has associated with the cake through the years. Each memory makes it just a little sweeter.

Regardless of what the secrets are that lead to this deliciously amazing blueberry cake, I promise you, you’ll be glad you made it.

And after you enjoy this amazing Blueberry Cake in cast iron, you’ll want to try this cookie, which may wind up being the best thing you’ve ever baked in cast iron.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 


Print Recipe
Melt-in-your-Mouth Blueberry Cake in Cast Iron
I discovered this gem on a tattered recipe card, in an antique recipe box, in my husband's grandmother's summer cottage a few decades ago. It's been my favorite thing to do with fresh-picked blueberries ever since.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together 3 times.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  3. Cream shortening with sugar.
  4. Add egg yolks to the shortening and sugar, beating well.
  5. Add in dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  6. Fold in egg whites, lemon juice, and the floured blueberries.
  7. After scooping batter into a greased 10" cast iron pan, sprinkle top of batter with a 1/4 cup of mixed white and brown sugar.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Yes, grandmom did use shortening when she baked her fresh blueberry cake, so I do too. This cake is just too amazing for me to be willing to alter it in any way. But you certainly can substitute an equal amount of butter or margarine for the shortening.

I researched how to do this with the best results: Always start with butter at room temperature. And (I thought this was interesting) the bowl and beaters should be cool to prevent the butter from becoming too warm as you beat it. To accomplish this easily, you could rinse both the bowl and the beaters in very cold water. Then make sure you cream the butter and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is truly light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

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For this recipe I love using my grandmom’s cast iron pan. Hers is an old, unusual size that I haven’t found anywhere. It’s labeled “10 5/8.” But a 10″ cast iron pan like this one would work very well:

These are the three sizes/styles of cast iron pans that I’ve found work best for baking cookies, like my favorite chocolate chip recipe. And I’ve tried a LOT of cast iron pans, from heirloom to new, from tiny to huge, from griddles to skillets. I mean someone had to do the difficultly delicious research. 🙂 You can trust me when I say these three styles/sizes of cast iron pans make the world’s best cookies:

Other cast iron products I love:

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If you love blueberries, you’d probably love Vanilla Bean Infused Blueberry Jam… or maybe you’d like to learn canning basics so you can make blueberry jam the way grandma used to make it… or if you’d like to know more about all kinds of sustainable living topics, such as embracing an off-grid lifestyle; planning a year’s food supply; preserving herbs; self-defense preparedness; making cheese; natural skincare; backyard livestock; year-round gardening; tips for fat loss; 13 ways to utilize sunlight efficiently; benefits of heirloom seeds; and starting a homestead from scratch, just to name a FEW… you’ll definitely enjoy learning sustainable living insight from experts in their fields (including yours truly, offering Maple Joy in 8 steps–from Tree to Syrup). You have to check out the Back to Basics Living Summit. You’ll also learn ways to jump-start an urban farm and tips on seed saving, just to name a few more of the 30 fantastic topics available!

I am truly honored to be a part of this really fabulous assortment of presenters. (Be sure to check out my class: Maple Joy in 8 Steps–From Tree to Syrup.)

And the Back to Basics Living Summit is totally FREE from Sept. 10-16, 2017. After that date, all the great knowledge will still be accessible, it just won’t be free, but still well worth every penny, so definitely give it a gander!

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