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Blueberry Buttermilk Cakes for Recovery Cafe

wyatt helping me

On the third Tuesday of the month from here on out, I'll be baking cakes for the Recovery Café in downtown Seattle.  The Recovery Café is a "loving, supportive community serving men and women traumatized by homelessness, addiction and mental health challenges."  I've known about them since I was working with street kids downtown, and have wanted to get involved for a long time.  I really want to go down there once a week and sit with the members, but, as Emily said, "The people already in your life need you more right now." Man, I needed to hear that.  So birthday cakes will suffice for now, and me and another woman are supplying them each month.

It's really important to the Café that they be homemade, and I couldn't agree more.  After working in a drop-in center for 8 years, I've seen the %$& that qualifies as food sometimes. The Café wants their monthly birthday celebration to feel like something a loving parent or friend would put on--not something leftover from another celebration.

My friend Kathy made this cake from this month's Gourmet, and she subbed blueberries for their raspberries just like I did here. My sister Naomi was over while I was baking it today, and she said, "Oh perfect!  Same things that go in blueberry pancakes!  I always have that around."  Exactly.  Except for the berries, this is a QUICK cake you can make from pantry staples, and I'll give another plug for having buttermilk around.  It's cheap, has a long shelf life, and has many uses.  You could add a glaze to this or serve it with fresh berries and whipped cream.  Or eat it like this for breakfast.  Those are Wyatt's little hands up there, by the way.  I can't guarantee that he washed them after watering the garden, but at least it's an organic garden, right?

cooling cakes

So I have a little request to make before we get to the recipe.  I've been thinking a lot about how non-profits are struggling so much right now and how we NEED the work they're doing--especially to meet basic needs of people in our communities.  I'm nudging you to reach out to one of them today or in the next week--write a check, send a note to an overworked Executive Director, bake some cookies for a tired staff, or call a friend that's hanging in there as a staff person at a non-profit.  If this description applies to YOU, thank you.  Thank you for being present to the folks that are forgotten, ignored, barely surviving. May you be blessed in every way as you continue your work.

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
adapted from Gourmet magazine

1 c. flour
1/2 ts. baking powder
1/2 ts. baking soda
1/4 ts. salt
4 Tb. butter (1/2 cube), softened
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 ts. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 c. fresh raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries

Preheat oven to 400.  Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

Beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla, then egg.  Beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top.  Scatter berries evenly over and sprinkle with 2 Tb. sugar.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.  Cool in pan, then invert onto a plate.

Reader Comments (18)

This Sunday our church commissioned 140 volunteers from our church community who will be working for Royal Family kids camp (for kids who have been neglected, abused or traumatized) We started hosting the camp 17 yrs ago. we recruit all the volunteers, raise all the money to sponser 72 children for a full week of fun .We have 2 counselors per child, who train and take (most of them) the only week of vacation they get to spend it with these children. Recruiting seems to get easier, because the counselors say it's the best week of their year as well; the kids can't wait for camp. But the truth is ,the conselors are the ones that benifit the most, and come back with changed lives,as well as the children I have a busy week, but I will drop off some treats for the staff (yikes all 140 of them), or second thought, maybe send them a note of appreciation, and let them all know what they do really matters, and I notice and care about the differance they contribute to our community. Thanks for the nudge to affirm, support and appreciate,those who sacrificially give of their time and resources. There is some real truth in "the more you give, the more you receive".

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermfm

i just made this cake with strawberries.

i live in tacoma but have been trying to think of a place where home-made food would be appreciated by those less fortunate.

and i have those pans. :)

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichaela

Ok, ok, I'll buy buttermilk...

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpds

Love this post. I love looking at the pictures and reading the reflections. Hard not to get teary reading a lot of your postings. Thanks for the depth and tenderness and nudging.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEm

OK, one quick question about the food blogging world... Is there a conspiracy for everyone to try the same recipes from Gourmet magazine every month? I think I've seen at least five variations of this cake in the last couple of weeks on Food Gawker. It's like viral cooking. I'm not sure if I am wowed or horrified or a little bit of both.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpds

The cakes look gorgeous, so sweet and simple. Blogging, catering, parenting, some sort of consulting, baking for the homeless and firefighters - is there anything you can't do (besides sleep, apparently)? I feel Uber-productive today because I changed the bed sheets.

And yes, I often see Gourmet referenced on blogs, seems to be the food blogger mag of choice. Amazing, the power of the press.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

You got me thinking before asking in the final paragraph about me baking for the Southside Food Bank. I think I'll call or email today. I couldn't agree with you more about buttermilk.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkamille scellick

Yum. The group at the Recovery Cafe is in for a treat, I am sure! Check out my blueberries. Did this in the past couple days without even knowing you were going to post this today! Had such a great time hanging out with you yesterday afternoon. xo.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi Cox

You Rock. Good Work. Love that you are baking homemade birthday cakes for them. It does make a difference when it is homemade and made with Love.

There was a major accident outside my workplace this morning. A car trying to turn left and beat a city busy coming the opposite direction. Well, the car didn't make it and it ended up attached to the buses front end. Pretty scary. The rescue crew arrived, including the fireman to pull this person out of the car (which took quite awhile) and I thought of Yancey. As I have mentioned before I have a special place for rescue personel, those brave souls who seem to be calm and under control when things are in chaos around them.

Both of you Rock. happy anniversary by the way.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I love that blueberry sketch! We are going to do a cookbook together. I just know it.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

This made me laugh. Okay--don't you have a seven-week-old baby? Changing the sheets IS uber-productive.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Yes--freaky. I actually only saw it on one other site, but I'm sure it's making the rounds because it is so EASY.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

I love this--thinking of all those precious kids being celebrated all week long.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

these cakes look so delicious. i think they will be in my future with strawberries, something i have in abundance right now. thank you for reminding me to to say (and show) my thankfulness to those who do the hard work. and, thanks for taking the time to hang with me today...i treasure it.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

Jasmine made this tonight. I made lemon curd. We topped the cake with lemon curd and more blueberries. Haven't eaten it yet though... It's killing me too 'cause I've been staring at it FOREVER (twenty minutes). We have Naomi Momosis and super-hubby over for dinner. I'm trying to be good.


June 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpds

That is SUCH a good idea to put lemon curd on top. Wish I would have thought of it. I am salivating over here.

June 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Report: IT WAS FABULOUS! And another detail that was not shared with me until later, Jasmine made it with whole wheat flour. I wouldn't have even known, much less cared. YUMMY!

June 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpds

Made this last night to celebrate a good meeting for Sam and sent some home with the friend who dropped Sam off from the airport. Felt great to share. This was delicious with freshly whipped cream!

July 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

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