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Summer berries nestle in bright, airy cake squares

Blueberry Cake Squares.

Blueberry Cake Squares.

Embedding summer berries in a creamy cake batter creates little fruity pockets and, along the way, a nifty cake for serving as dessert, with mid-afternoon iced tea or coffee or as a casual treat.

The operative word, for me, is “treat” – a fun thing to make, have on hand and enjoy.

That description fits my Blueberry Cake Squares.

BLUEBERRY CAKE SQUARES

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

1 cup fresh blueberries, picked over for stems

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup sour cream

confectioners sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of an 8-by-8 baking pan (2 inches deep) with nonstick flour-and-oil spray.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of wax paper.

Toss the blueberries with 11/2 teaspoons of the sifted flour mixture in a medium bowl until thoroughly coated.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On moderately high speed, blend in the granulated sugar in two additions, beating for 45 seconds after each addition.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds (or until just incorporated) after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture, mixing just until the flour is absorbed.

Scatter the coated blueberries over the batter; use a flexible spatula to fold them in.

Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing the surface evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake has risen and set and is golden brown on top.

The baked cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan. Cool the cake completely.

Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar evenly over the top.

Cut the cake into 16 squares.

Makes 16 servings (one 8-by-8-inch cake).

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