bustin in summer

It’s been awhile.  A fact I am slightly ashamed to be typing given that a brief scroll of this page will show this is not the first time I’ve abandoned you.  Life has a way of sweeping you up at times and you begin to think there are way to many things to accomplish, to many to dos’ that it becomes hard to slow down.  The two things that gift me ability to slow down the fastest and most effectively are yoga and cooking, specifically baking.  So I’ve done a lot of baking and yoga in the past month to combat the frazzled feeling that built up over the course of a month involving the ER, finals, graduating, starting a new job, having my purse stolen, and putting off studying for the bar exam.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time left over to WRITE about food.

Until this weekend.  This glorious past weekend of Memorial Day.  The sun shone bright and warm for three days in which I did a variety of nothings including laying about in the garden drinking endless homemade lemonade out of mason jars, taking a long lazy hike with the pup just outside the city, spending an evening at the museum of modern art, taking in God of Carnage at the Ahmanson Theater,indulging in mornings sleeping in late followed by eggs and sausage, and baking a cake in the middle of the afternoon because those strawberries your sweet husband pulled over for have been asking for it.  And the buttermilk has been daring you.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Vanilla Bean Paste and Espresso Sugar*

Made with Whole Grains.  Adapted from Super Natural Everyday

What you need:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 T aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 tsp cracked sea salt

1/2 cane sugar

2 large eggs (I improvised with 4 wild eggs)

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

3 T espresso sugar

2 T vanilla bean paste

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

What you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 400, rack in the top third.  Butter and flour an 11 inch tart pan.  In one large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.  In a separate medium-sized bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.  Whisk in melted butter after it has cooled.  Add wet to dry and stir till just combined with a wooden spoon.  Pour batter into tart pan, pushing it into the corners with the back of the spoon.  Use a spoon to swirl the vanilla bean paste into the top layer of cake.  Place strawberries cut side down in a single layer. Bake for 35 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.  This cake is not too sweet with a tender crumble so serve with a glass of cold milk or just the slightest bit of cream on top to not overpower all the layer flavors.

The amount of berries in this cake affect the baking time as there is more moisture in the cake.  You can go less strawberries if you like in which case I would start poking around 20-25 mins, but remember that they are strawberries and therefore delicious while you are making these decisions. Bon Appetit!

*Note: Vanilla Bean Paste and Espresso Sugar come by way of The Spice Station.  It is my most favorite to go a dream about food.  It feels like walking into an old alchemists shop with wooden shelving laden with jars of wonderful smelling powders, kernels, sugars, salts and leaves.  If you live in Los Angeles and not getting spices here, you are doing your food a disservice.  If you aren’t out west in the land of women and gold, consider finding a spice purveyor in the area or swap the Vanilla Bean Paste for 1 T vanilla extract folded into the batter and the Espresso Sugar for a larger grained sugar with some leftover grounds from espresso/coffee beans.

The Spelt flour I added in for a grassy note to the cake, but you can do the full 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour the original recipe calls for.

here is hoping for more blissful moments in the warm months ahead


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