Summer Camp was one of my favorite places in the world. I went to
several different ones over the years but the first two stand out as
the best. I spent the first several years at Day Camp. The I moved on
to sleepaway camp in New Jersey. It was only a few hours away from my
home in NYC but it seemed like a whole different world. We were
located on a lake in the woods in the middle of nowhere, or so it
seemed to me. Instead of sweltering days and sultry evenings, we had cool nights and early mornings with temperatures that slowly rose into hot sunny afternoons and evenings with the temperatures dropping as the sun went down. We had line-up before breakfast in the mornings in sweatshirts and jackets. As long as it wasn't raining we met outside on the field for the daily announcements. On rainy days we met in the dining hall. Tables were divided up according to camps (there were three) and age groups so that we met people outside of our own cabins at meals.
My favorite days were the ones when they served blueberry cake. It was probably from a mix but it was served warm and we all loved it. It was a white, or yellow cake with blueberries scattered throughout and a crumb topping. The rule was that platters had to be emptied before you could send someone back for seconds and on those days we would quickly move all the cake onto one plate and send someone running, actually speed walking because we weren't allowed to run, back to the kitchen counter for seconds. I know that I wasn't alone in my love for this cake because on those mornings it was a race to get seconds for your table before the kitchen ran out. Once it was gone that was it.
The cool mornings here in mountains remind me of those days. Summertime weather here is very reminiscent of summertime at Silver Lake. It's what we call monsoon season now so there are thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Thunderstorms in Jersey were tremendous. I remember sneaking out of our cabins to watch the thunder in the field and doing rain dances outside our cabin at night. I also remember a summer many years later on Nantucket when a friend and I went out in a huge storm on bicycles. We recklessly splashed through puddles on a road alongside the beach, watching the crashing waves and screaming into the salty winds. Storms remind me of the power and beauty of nature and the wild freedom trapped inside each of us waiting for a moment to be free.
This morning was chilly, with the air scrubbed clean from the evening rains. The sun was peeking over the horizon as I drove to work and the sky was ablaze with a golden, rosy glow. My mind was wandering through summers past as I drove toward the day ahead. I had a little extra time and some fresh raspberries so I decided to recreate my favorite breakfast cake. A brown sugar cake, studded with raspberries and a cinnamon crumb topping served hot from the oven. I can only hope that the guests enjoyed it as much as I did.
Raspberry Breakfast Cake
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup soft sweet butter
Rub together or pulse in a food processor to form coarse crumbs.
1/2cup soft sweet butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2cups AP flour
1teaspoon baking powder
1/4teaspoon baking soda
1/4teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh raspberries
PRE HEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
Grease an 8inch springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift or whisk together to blend. Take 2tablespoons of the flour mixture and gently toss with raspberries. Try not to break up the berries, just lightly coat with flour mixture. Cream butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating throughly after each addition. Add 1/2 of remaining flour mixture and stir till just bleneded. Add buttermilk and stir till just blended. Add remaining flour and gently incorporate it. Spoon 1/2 of batter in pan and sprinkle with 3/4 of raspberries. Spoon remainder of batter into pan and GENTLY smooth over berries. Sprinkle remaining berries on top. Cover with streusel topping.
Bake 25 minutes and rotate pan. Begin checking cake after 10 more minutes. Cake is usually done in about 45 minutes. Berries will make the center seem wet so check texture with toothpick but don't be alarmed if it seems firm and comes out juicy looking. Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.