Every Good Mother Deserves Cake

…….. especially if she’s a formidable 95 years old and flying in for a visit.

I am about to dash to the airport to pick her up, as well as my sister who hasn’t visited these shores in a long time.

My kitchen is fully stocked, organized, and ready to deliver my dear mom all the foods she loves to eat.

BlueberriesRaising five younguns, (how DID you do it Mom?), she insisted breakfast was the most important meal of the day. The challenges in the classroom for our wayward minds (before ADD was identified in most every kid up and down the block), were too tough to conquer on an empty stomach.

Once she could eat exactly what she felt like without leading her children astray down the sugar frosted path to her nirvana, she liked nothing better than a cinnamon laced sticky bun or a rich buttery coffee cake piled high with a crumbly topping of ….. butter and sugar.


I can’t wait to serve her a piece of Deb Perelman’s fabulous Blueberry Butter Cake. I  discovered it recently and have already whipped it up three times. It has a way of making grown men crumple at the knee and bow down as if you are a food goddess.

I find it is a great way to put on weight, if, for instance, you are  preparing to climb Everest or facing a similar monumental challenge. This is dangerous stuff to leave lingering in a kitchen with a woman home alone. Best to make it, linger lovingly over one divine piece, and quick wrap it up and gift it to your neighbor.

foodie pic

Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is filled with delicious recipes – look at all my sticky notes. I have lots to do in the next week to care for everybody, but as my momma taught me, Breakfast First!

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

For the Cake:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1/3 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry

For the Streusel:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 8- inch square pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the pan or coat with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, for at least 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions, then add the vanilla and zest. Add a third of the flour mixture, all of the sour cream, and another third of the flour, beating until just blended after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Mix the remaining third of the flour mixture with the blueberries. Fold the blueberry-flour mixture gently into the cake batter.

Spread the cake batter in the prepared cake pan. Use your original dry-ingredients bowl to combine the dry topping ingredients with a fork. Mash in the butter with a fork, your fingertips, or a pastry blender. Scatter the topping over the batter.

Bake the cake until the top is golden brown (mine never browned) and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes (mine takes 50 minutes and the middle was still a bit undercooked). Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Run the spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it, then flip out onto the cooling rack.

Cooling CakeThe connoisseur of coffee cakes declared this one most satisfactory.


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