I’m back, with cake!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here. Sorry about that! To be honest, my computer stopped functioning properly. But now I have a tablet!

It’s winter again, but I’m no longer in western Massachusetts. I’ve moved to Chicago, where the temperature we woke up to was -12F. No comment on that. Schools have closed and most people are working from home, so despite the appearance of sunshine and the bright blue sky, no one is going outside. It’s funny to look out at all of these houses and realize that they’re all full of people, probably sitting at their computers like we are. I imagine a lot of soup has been consumed.

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So while I sit here, barricaded into the warmest room in the house, I’m trying to stay positive by making food for sharing. One of the best parts of the food justice movement has nothing to do with food at all: it’s conversation. Connecting more to your food by growing it yourself or by respecting the conditions of the workers who grow it for you makes you want to savor every bite and make mealtime special by sharing it with others. It’s such the antithesis of industrial convenience ‘food,’ which is designed to be reheated and then eaten quickly, alone.

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You don’t need to cook an elaborate dinner to meet with people over food. You can chat over coffee or tea, and the addition of a treat baked with care will let you linger for awhile. You can also meet people over beers and snacks like pretzels and cheese, but I’m in the mood to bake right now! Can you blame me?

Since no one is coming over today (I mentioned that it’s cold, right?), I’m making a little cake that can be cut up and frozen. I’m using frozen fruit since fresh is not in season right now, but once baked it all tastes the same. I’m hoping to find a CSA that has connections to small citrus growers to get good fresh fruit soon!

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Mixed Berry Bakewell Cake
Adapted from BBC Good Food

Note: Since I’ve gotten big into bread baking (oh yes), I’ve been using weight measurements. I find them so much more accurate, plus you don’t need to wash measuring cups, just a small food scale. Since this is my blog, I’m going to keep using weight measurements, even if it makes me look a bit pretentious.

140g ground almonds (Equal Exchange sells fair trade almonds)
140g butter, room temperature
140g sugar
140g all purpose flour, or a mix of part whole wheat, part white (won’t stay fresh as long with whole wheat)
2.5 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g mixed frozen berries, frozen or room temp but not hot
2 tbsp sliced almonds
Confectioner’s sugar

Heat oven to 355F and line and grease a square baking tin.

Grind the almonds in a food processor, then add butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. (I did this by hand but you can use a food processor for the whole mix)

Spread half the mixture into the cake tin and smooth it down. The mixture is quite thick (it’s the frangipane quality of it all). Place the mixed berries on top, then dollop the remaining cake mixture and roughly spread without incorporating too much berry juice – this is way easier to do with your fingers. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Cool, remove from the tin and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Cut into squares to serve. To freeze, wrap the squares in wax paper and place in a large freezer bag, squeezing all the air out to close.
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2 thoughts on “I’m back, with cake!

  1. Glad to see you back! I’m thinking in trying this recipe with some tundra-picked berries I have left in the freezer (subsistence FTW!). Sorry the polar vortex has switched our temps around. I spend most of the winter doing exactly what you are doing: baking, sharing, and eating.

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