I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, “Oh, I am miserable, what shall –
what shall I do?” And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
“Excuse me, I have work to do.”
We’re heading into the darkest time of the year now, losing our sun and our bearings as we move through November. Darkness can hold fear and hate, it can be lonely and cold, but winter, I think, is a time for growing strong. This year, as our days get shorter, let’s give our bodies some rest. Let’s spend some extra time with friends and family, let’s practice being gentle. Let’s spend some extra time in our heads and really get to know our thoughts, without judgment or agenda. Let’s go outside and breathe in the light as it moves over the mountains, the forest, the ocean, the field. We’ll grow slowly stronger, more courageous, more wise. And, if the cold and fear start to overwhelm, we’ll build a fire, light a candle, turn on the oven and bake our homes warm. This year, let’s acknowledge the darkness and then create our own light. Friends, we have work to do.
BLUEBERRY ALMOND CRUMB CAKE
For the crumb:
3 Tbls. whole almonds, roughly chopped
2 Tbls. brown sugar
2 Tbls. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 Tbls. butter, cold and cut into ½ -inch cubes
For the cake:
¼ cup whole almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
½ tsp. almond extract
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbls. whole milk
¾ - 1 cup blueberries (Fresh or frozen will work. Use wild Maine blueberries, if possible!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. Make the topping by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingers, breaking it down to pea-sized pieces. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator.
Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse until a coarse flour forms. Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt to the almond flour and pulse a few times to combine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Crack in the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the extracts. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions, beating until just combined each time. Stir in the milk and then gently fold in the blueberries.
Carefully transfer the batter into your prepared cake pan and sprinkle the crumb topping evenly across the surface. If using a 9-inch pan, bake for about 30 minutes (45 to 50 minutes in an 8-inch) or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Serve still warm with vanilla ice cream on the side. Nate recommends eating the leftovers for breakfast.