about bliss

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

twd: blueberry crumb cake

a real high riser!

My fingers are dusky and stained, my face ever so slightly sunburned, my flaxen hair in a tangled ponytail, my old pair of nikes encrusted with smashed berries.

It's summertime in the 1980s, and I'm finishing a long day picking blueberries. I tally up how many pounds I've picked, multiple by the wage per pound (somewhere around twenty cents), and sigh to realize that I'm pounds and pounds away from having enough money to buy the pair of Calvin Klein jeans I've been coveting but are much too expensive for my family's budget.


Saturday I drove a good 6 hours to spend part of my Spring Break with my parents. The first afternoon I was home, I laced up my "mud shoes," and walked out into the blueberry fields with my parents, traversing the 2 acres directly behind Mom and Dad's home, and then many, many acres that my Dad, Uncle, and Grandpa farm together.

Monday night I sifted through my Mom's well-stocked chest freezer and pulled out a bag of frozen blueberries for this week's TWD creation, Blueberry Crumb Cake, chosen by Sihan of Befuddlement.

Despite baking in a different kitchen, and despite having to bake the cake in the old oven in the basement as my Mom's oven is having temperature issues, and despite adjusting to the awesome power of Mom's professional model KA (who easily outwhirls Blossom), the baking experience was smooth, languorous, and fun.

The most fun part was having a captive audience to drink in the buttery, toasty, cinnamoney fragrance and to follow me upstairs to see if it was time to test the cake yet.

My Dad, who loves most any kind of dessert, declared the cake "really good," and when I asked if he'd like to comment on it some more for the blog he replied, "I'll have to eat more first." I'm still waiting for his follow up comments...

I made a few minor adjustments, using thinned yogurt in place of buttermilk because we didn't have any, cutting the total butter to 1 stick, eliminating 2 TBS in the crumb topping and 1 TBS in the cake, and using pecans instead of walnuts. Next time I may play around with whole wheat flour.

Thanks, Sihan, for choosing this recipe serendipitously when I'm visiting my parents and have access to high quality, local fruit.

molten fruit and toasted nuts


  1. Awww how sweet to read of your memories picking blueberries and dreaming about Calvin Kline jeans! I love your story.
    Sorry your moms oven isn't working well but it looks like you pulled on through and came out with a great cake. Im glad your dad liked it. Im sure he is thankful to have a great daughter that can bake!

  2. Anonymous9:17 PM

    Your cake looks great. Your dad is too funny! It sounds like he really enjoyed it even if he didn't elaborate.

  3. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Your cake looks wonderful. Great memories. I wanted a Guess jean jacket.:P

  4. Great memories :) Your cake looks amazing!

  5. I love your blueberry picking memories. I think I coveted those same Calvins; I'm still waiting . . . How wonderful that you got to bake this and enjoy with your family! So glad that everyone loved it!

  6. Oh, those Calvins. Right around the time you were coveting the jeans I was already a mother and clucking in disapproval over their ad campaigns! I love that you have not only local blueberry fields, but family ones. When I was little we picked blueberries in a vacant field in the neighborhood.

    I love your post. And the coffee cake is beautiful. It really did rise a lot, didn't it? Your changes are great.

  7. That last shot is perfect with the pecans, etc. It is hard baking/cooking somewhere else. How will I bake this summer while living in a travel trailer for two weeks. But we do what we have to do, right. CAke looks just right.