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Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake


When I was young, my mother and I would go blackberry picking in McDade, Texas. 
We always went to the same farm, which was owned by a very small old woman who had puffy white hair. 
We would get there in the morning, wearing old clothes and wide-brimmed hats. 
My mother always wore gloves, because she has beautiful hands, and blackberry bushes are very thorny. 
We would pick blackberries for hours. 
It was hard work. Because the thorns tore up our hands, and because there were fire ants. 
We always got stung by fire ants. 

It was fun though: my brothers and I would run between the bushes 
and eat berries until we felt sick and dig in dusty red dirt that coated our skin. 
Whenever I think back though, I  forget about the fire ants and the dirt and the thorns. 
Instead, I remember that when we drove home, after a day in McDade, 
in the trunk of the car, all of my mother's pots and pans
were filled with 
gleaming 
blackberries. 

It made me feel plenty.  


It's many years later now. 
These past months have been difficult, what with school and all the uncertainty and ache that I guess comes with being 
20.   

But it doesn't matter anymore. Like the thorns and ants and dirt didn't matter. 
Summer is here now. 
And I feel plenty

And life feels like blackberries. 

Life is all blackberries. 


XOXO



Blackberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake
via SmittenKitchen.com

SmittenKitchen suggested making this with a variety of berries. But I love blackberries. So there ya go. I've included her recipe for glaze, which sounds amazing, but which I was too lazy to make. 
This entire cake was eaten in under 24 hours. I kid you not. 


Cake
2 1/2 cups (355 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (20 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (340 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
3 cups (350 to 450 grams) mixed berries

Glaze
2 cups (240 grams) powdered or confections’ sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, very, very soft

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, either with butter or a nonstick spray.* Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift 2 1/2 cups flour (leaving 2 tablespoons back), baking powder and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and impossibly fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on a low speed, add your eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in vanilla, briefly. Add 1/3 flour mixture to batter, beating until just combined, followed by half the buttermilk, another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk and remaining flour mixture. Scrape down from time to time and don’t mix any more than you need to. In the bowl where you’d mixed your dry ingredients, toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. With a silicon spatula, gently fold the berries into the cake batter. The batter will be very thick and this will seem impossible without squishing the berries a little, but just do your best and remember that squished berries do indeed make for a pretty batter.
Spread cake batter — you might find it easier to plop it in the pan in large spoonfuls, because it’s so thick — in the prepared baking pan and spread the top smooth. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees after 30 (to make sure it browns evenly). The cake is done as soon as a tester comes out clean of batter. At 10 minutes before my baking time was up, a tester was totally wet with batter and I wascertain it would never be done in the estimated time. 7 minutes later, the same tester was clean as a whistle, so fret not.
Set cake pan on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, before inverting the cake onto a serving platter to cool the rest of the way. Cool completely. Once cool, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth and very, very thick. (If you’d like it thinner, add more juice, but I like the thick drippiness of it, seen above.) Spread carefully over top of cake, letting it trickle down the sides when and where it wishes. Serve at once or keep it covered at room temperature for 3 to 4 days.


Coconut Macaroons.


This is a painting I love very much called Christina's World: 



When I saw it in person I gasped. 
That is how much I loved it. 

I found a postcard of it in an old journal I'd kept last year. 
It struck me as particularly relevant now. 
So much yearning. 

I read that the girl, Christina, had polio and the lower half of her body was paralyzed. 
And one day the painter, Wyeth, saw her crawling through the grass to get to the barn. 
And he painted what he saw: 
So much yearning. 

That's how I feel right now. 
Like I'm crawling into a future that I can't quite reach. 
My own barn. 

I'm trying so hard to begin the process of creating a life for myself. 
I don't know how to do this. 

My dad likes to tell me, one day at a time, one step at a time, one bite at a time. 
Slowly crawl to the barn. 

I'm surrounded by so many beautiful people right now. 
People like my friend Margaret, who dreams her own gutsy dreams, and has started to realize some of them. 
I want to be like that. I want to realize dreams.  

But right now I'm still figuring out what the dream is. 






I don't know. 


So I go swimming with Murphy, and I call my brother. 
I go dancing when I am sad sometimes. 
I write my name in chalk in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night. 
I try and reason these mistakes and misunderstandings, make them into digestible lists and lessons. 
And I try to be inspired and I try to enjoy this sun and these days and these people, for what they are. 
I stumble. 
I make coconut macaroons that melt in the mouth. 
And I eat every single fucking coconut macaroon because they are so so good and I am so so hungry. 

I don't know. 

So much yearning. 

I am Christina. 
But I am building the barn and trying to get to the barn all at once. 

At least, on the way, there are coconut macaroons. 

XOXO


Coconut Macaroons


via JoyofBaking.com

4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cake flour (I used regular flour) 
3 cups shredded or flaked coconut

You can do what I did, which is completely forget to follow directions, hastily combine all ingredients, and just bake them until brown. I was happy. Please note that these are quite sweet, decrease sugar if you don't like desserts that are borderline saccharine. 


OR YOU CAN ACTUALLY FOLLOW DIRECTIONS: 


In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt. When this mixture is warm to the touch, and nice and creamy, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, flour and coconut. Cover and refrigerate for about two hours, until firm. 
Preheat oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
Place small mounds (heaping teaspoons) of the batter onto the parchment lined baking sheets, spaced several inches apart. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool. 
Makes about 2 dozen.