I'm reading a few different baby books. I read a little of one or the other each night. Just enough to gather a bit of advice I find helpful, tell Hugh about it, and then doze off. One is about pregnancy, and while I have gotten pretty lucky by way these 10 months go, these last few weeks have been more trying in regards to how I feel physically. So tired and fatigued merely from the task of carrying around a mini person in my mid-section all day. While these books bring up pretty obvious points, I am fascinated by how innate and instinctive the qualities are that take over in the last month or so. The nesting, cleaning, preference to withdraw a little bit... In my moments of fear and angst, I try to remember how natural this is, how we've been making babies since the beginning of time. Maybe part of some womens' nesting includes cooking, but I assure you it is the absolute last thing I feel like doing. Ironically, our cookbook manuscript is due next week so food is powering through this kitchen regardless. Head down and go. I also really wanted to stay in the habit of having people over and enjoying a meal with friends, so this season has been... intresting.
We have friends coming for coffee tomorrow, another couple for dinner, and my parents here helping in the yard on Saturday (yea, about that whole final month recluse deal...). I needed a breakfast snacking cake that would last through a few days of visitors. While I do prefer it, my grain-free baking is hit or miss, so I went a more traditional route for this recipe. This cake has a tight crumb, almost dense in the most charming of coffee cake ways. A cake that requires you to take small bites between sips of coffee. We ate it with some loosely whipped cream and extra berries because if you're going to have cake, you must really have cake. Maybe even a la mode for the evening crowd. However, aside from the personal whipped cream preference, this coffee cake is relatively lowfat with some of its classic butter content being replaced by the mashed banana. It's these everyday sort of cakes I like in my back pocket for cooking and non-cooking days alike.
(update: for the few of you that asked in the comments. I have really liked the Dr. Sears books. I read The Pregnancy Book and The Vaccine Book by them and have The Baby Book as well but have only read the first two chapters. A friend recommended The Birth Partner and while dense and detailed, it has a lot of information for natural childbirth. I just started Happiest Baby on the Block and while it's a bit corny, I think there are some helpful tidbits.)
BUTTERMILK BERRY CRUMB CAKE // Serves 8-10
Loosely adapted from 101Cookbooks
For the sake of substitutions, I think you could replace the buttermilk with a non-dairy milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice. As for making it gluten free, I would try a blend of almond meal, oat flour and flaxmeal but I hesitate to given proportions without trying it myself first. I am sure an all purpose GF flour would be worth a shot as well.
I still don't completely trust the oven at our new place so you'll have to report back if you try this and come up with a different baking time. My oven and thermometer say different things and I don't exactly trust either. Bare with me. One day I will fix its uncertainty or my lack of faith.
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/4 cup / half stick unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup muscavado sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- little grate of fresh nutmeg
- 2 cups mixed berries, chopped small, divided
- / crumble /
- 1/4 cup / half stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/4 cup muscavado sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 325'. Line a springform pan with parchment and grease the bottom and sides.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix well to combine and set aside.
In another bowl, mix the white whole wheat flour, all purpose, muscavado, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and stir to mix well. Add one cup of the berries to the dry mix and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine in as few stirs possible. Being careful not to overmix to keep the cake tender.
In another bowl, make your crumble. Mix the softened butter, oats, flour, cane and muscavado sugars, cinnamon, ginger and salt together and mash everything with the back of a fork to combine. It will be sandy in texture.
Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the remaining berries on top. Distribute the crumble on top of the berries. Put the springform on a baking sheet (just in case it leaks, I prefer to play it safe) and bake on the middle rack for 55-60 minutes until golden on top and you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. The cake is fairly low in fat, be careful not to overbake and dry it out.