Wild Huckleberry Citrus Birthday Bundt with Italian Meringue

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Mr. Flour Child has a birthday on the 27th of December.   While it’s always a challenge to rally myself two days after Christmas, I enjoy digging deep for a more creative cake idea.  Owing to childhood summers spent in Maine, he loves blueberries, but here in Washington — I grew up with huckleberries.  I have memories of taking the Schwan’s butter brickle ice cream bucket down the hill behind my Granny’s house and picking them wild.  We were supposed to come back with a full bucket but somehow it never got past about an inch in the bottom because they all ended up in our mouths!

Huckleberries are foraged as they are considered almost impossible to domesticate.  I am lucky to have an excellent wild huckleberry connection in the fall these past years, and I will have to die for someone to get that secret source!  I found this recipe on the internet and changed it quite a bit.  It was credited to Bon Appetit but I couldn’t locate it on their website!

Wild Huckleberry Citrus Bundt, with Italian Meringue 

3 C All Purpose Flour (I actually substituted 1 C Emmer Flour which was excellent!)
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 – 2/3 C sugar
3/4 C unsalted butter – at room temp
3 large eggs
1 T orange zest
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 C buttermilk
2 C frozen huckleberries (it’s important they are frozen, or they will bleed all over the cake)

Preheat your oven to 350.   Use shortening and flour to ready your bundt pan or spray generously.   Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.   In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light.   Add eggs one at a time, and then add orange zest, vanilla and almond.  Mix thoroughly and add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk.  Fold in berries, pour into pan and bake ~50 minutes until top springs back easily.   Cool at least 8 – 10 minutes and then turn out onto a plate or rack.

Italian Meringue
1 C sugar
1/3 C water, minus 1 T
1 T orange juice
2 egg whites
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 t vanilla

Begin heating sugar and water /juice in a small saucepan.  Add a candy thermometer to the pan.   Continue to boil as you froth two egg whites in the base of a standing mixer.  Add cream of tartar when egg whites are frothy, stop beating.  When sugar reaches about 225 degrees, begin whipping the egg whites on high until peaks form.   When sugar mixture reaches 240 or soft ball stage, remove from heat and pour in a steady stream into whites, with mixer running on low.   Beat for 7 full minutes until fluffy and glossy – and add half teaspoon vanilla.

huckleberriesBeautiful foraged wild huckleberries, still frozen ready to add to cake.  Make sure to pick these over carefully as they occasionally have stems.

huckleberries2Folding in berries ready for the pan….

huckleberry5Temping the sugar solution….

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