One of the key elements to self-sufficiency and domestic charm is resourcefulness, being able to work with what you’ve got. Cooking seasonally from the harvest you just pulled in from your garden or brought back from the farmer’s market is more rewarding to me. Or baking with the berries you just picked from the wild bushes in the woods where you go walking! You know exactly what it took to grow that food, where it grew and how it got to your table.
I spent most of the morning outside wandering through the woods in search of hidden patches of Wineberries – so hopefully the berries would be plump and sweet because they hadn’t been over picked already by young horseback riders that use the same trails.
I had never experienced wineberries before this summer, and boy was I missing out! The red berries are easy to see, with few seeds, and tender bodies similar to raspberries with a simple sweetness. The name Wineberry I suppose comes from the pretty reddish hue they carry. Although they are not a native plant to these parts, they’re here so we might as well use their fruits. Its a much kinder plant than blackberries that’s for sure. You’re cloths might get a little snagged as you venture deeper into the berry patch, but your arms and legs come out pretty clean. No sacrificial blood necessary for the harvest!
My search wasn’t the best of harvests with less than a quart to show for it, but it was certainly enough for a Berry Boy Bait – a recipe I’d read not long ago that sounded to funny not to try. So instead of going out and finding blueberries to buy, I used the forest’s bounty. Its similar to a coffee cake, with a light texture and buttery flavor. I’m not sure if I could Bait the Boy I’ve already got with it, but its definitely a nice little treat with your morning coffee!
WineBerry Boy Bait adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 12, generously
2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (though buttermilk, which was all I had on hand, worked just great)
1 cup berries (the original recipe calls for Blueberries, but I think anything will do)
3/4 cup berries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)