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.