I have a uniform when I fly: a black shift dress with sheer, three quarter length sleeves. The dress is roomy and comfortable, but has enough structure that my uber driver asked if I was traveling for business. (Even when I conceded vacation, he pushed for what I did for a living. I answered somewhat vaguely–real estate development–and didn’t elaborate, but he clapped his hand against the steering wheel, exultant. “See! You are a business woman!”) I wish I’d purchased ten of these dresses.
I keep a pair of leggings in my bag. I wear a big necklace, both to dress up the simple black dress, and to give me something to finger during turbulence, like a modern rosary. A French woman once told me, always look nice when you fly. I also carry a satiny, magenta scarf a friend gifted me in college. It doubles as a blanket.
I fly often, both for love of travel, and because my in-laws live 3,500 miles from our Brooklyn apartment. Still, always, I’m a very nervous flyer. Exposure therapy is lost on me. I rely on various, western remedies to get me through long flights, but also: Harry Potter books on tape, the ones narrated by Jim Dale.
I always carry snacks. Currently, slow dried apples and teriyaki beef jerky.
Last night, my sister and I arrived in Vancouver at 3am local time, 6am New York time. I woke up to water and mountains. By the time I climbed groggily out of bed in search of coffee, the Frenchman was at his desk, already working. This is the first trip in a long time I’ve taken without him, and I’ll be gone nearly two weeks.
I drank almost an entire pot of milky coffee before venturing out of our room. I wish I’d had some of this blueberry cake to eat alongside it.
I first tried this cake last summer. It’s wonderful–my crumb cake plantonic ideal. The inside is dense, moist and flavorful. Each bite is studded with sweet, earthy blueberries.
This cake is ideal at brunch or tea, or as a treat for breakfast. It makes a lovely hostess gift, as it doesn’t need to be eaten on the first day. (The cake keeps well, covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days.)
The recipe is barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Blueberry Crumb Cake.
*A note on the flour: Deb reached 240 grams of flour with 2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (i.e. 1 3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons). For me, 240 grams came to 3 cups + 3 tablespoons, since I scoop very loosely packed cups. The “standard” comes to 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons.
Makes 8 large slices, or about 16, 2×2 squares
- 5 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (75 grams) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) light brown sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup or 55 grams) unsalted butter
- 240 grams* flour
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup or 55 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
- zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk (the higher in fat the better)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pint (2 heaping cups or 340 grams) fresh blueberries, clean and dry
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon and salt. Add the butter to the bowl–using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry mix, until you have coarse crumbles. Set the bowl aside.
- Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan; make sure the sides rise at least 2-inches.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until fluffy; 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and the vanilla; mix to combine. On low speed, alternatively mix in the dry ingredients with the milk and oil. (So: 1/3 dry ingredients + 1/2 milk and oil + 1/3 dry ingredients + 1/2 milk and oil + 1/3 dry ingredients.) Lastly, fold in the blueberries, until evenly distributed in the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top flat. Scatter the crumble topping evenly over the surface of the cake. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the crumble is golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Cool the cake for 30 minutes. If using, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of the cake before serving.