I remember blueberries

We drive across the Michigan border in our ocean green MG with the convertible top down. My sister and I squeeze into the cardboard box size back seat; we are 5 and 9 years-old. The wind tangles our hair and blinds us along with the glaring sun. Forty-five minutes later we pull up to a blueberry farm and spill out of the car.

Row upon row of high bush berries sparkle in the hot sun. We fill our bellies and containers with sweet berries before piling back into the car and driving to the dunes. Before long, we are hungry again and we stop by a small shop and buy water, dried sausages, cheese, crackers, grapes, and a baguette for an afternoon picnic. When we return home, I spoon more blueberries into a bowl with milk and sugar before I fall over in bed.

Two weeks ago, we went blueberry picking at a farm in Whately, Massachusetts where once again, I ate enough blueberries to wonder if I had a blue tinge of evidence on my lips when we paid for the three quarts we picked. “Looks like you did well,” said the woman checking us out. “Yes, we did,” I said, trying to hide my stained teeth while returning her smile.

This time, instead of eating the berries with milk, I followed D’s advice who tended blueberry bushes when he was young, and rinsed the berries before placing them on baking trays in the freezer. After they were frozen, I began flipping through cookbooks and searching online for recipes. I read Mark Bittman’s recipe for No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Bars. His recipe inspired me to make a No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecake with yogurt, cream cheese, honey, and vanilla covered with blueberries set in a simple graham cracker crust to bring to a Sunday afternoon cookout at my sister’s house.

Unfortunately, the cheesecake lost its solidity during the two hour drive. Even though it was runny, all was not lost. My sister made a delicious lemon yogurt cake and the runny cheesecake made an excellent topping.

Yesterday, I decided to return to the berries and made a Blueberry Coffee Cake modified from Cooking the Whole Foods Way by Christina Pirello. The result was a resounding yum by everyone and the leftovers are even better the next day.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Yields 1 cake, 6-8 servings

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 organic extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (scant, really a little more than 1/3) maple syrup
1 Tbs. (dripping off the spoon, or enough to level off the 1/2 cup maple syrup) raw honey
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 – 2/3 cup soy (rice, almond, etc.) milk
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
Crumb Topping
5 Tbs. brown sugar
3 Tbs. chopped walnuts
2 pinches (large) cinnamon
2 tsp. organic extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare an 8-inch round cake pan by either spraying or brushing it with olive oil then dust with flour. First, make the cake batter. Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Next, whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, water, and 1/2 cup soy milk. Make a small hole in the center of the dry ingredients and gently add the wet ingredients without over mixing or the cake will become tough. (Cakes are finicky and delicate, especially whole grain varieties). The batter should be thick enough to pick up with a spoon, not runny. Add more milk if necessary. Fold in frozen blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan.
Prepare crumb topping: Mix brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and oil in a small bowl
5 Tbs. brown sugar. Sprinkle topping evenly over cake.
Place a baking pan filled with water on the bottom of the oven to create a moister cake.
Bake 40-57 minutes on center rack, or until the top is golden and a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. (It was 57 minutes for mine but I set the timer for 40 and kept time in increments). Keep the oven door closed for the first 20 minutes or the cake may collapse. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out of pan and cooling on a wire rack. Enjoy.


  1. Fantasy at its finest says

    I totally remember that, the MG and the blueberries and even the winery. This is one of my favorite childhood memories. LOL talk about car seats.


  1. […] months ago. I blame it on Saturday morning blueberry coconut pancakes, but maybe the berry hoarding blueberry coffeecake was the real culprit. Either way, we need to invest in a deep freezer and to find more berries, […]

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