I like the word (say it with me) "indulge". It originally comes from the Latin indulgere, which meant "to give free rein to". In the early 17th century, to indulge was to "treat with excessive kindness". Amid these two definitions, I think, lies a healthy approach for sweeter treats and any food outside the bounds of quintessentially "healthy" — that is, to allow yourself to experience and enjoy these food mindfully.
Food is one of the ways we celebrate and, as such, birthdays and special occasions bring about indulgences. One of the best meals I can recall was the dinner after graduating from Vanderbilt in 2015. It was shared with family and dear Nashville friends who'd become like family. The satisfying feeling of accomplishment from that milestone moment culminating with a shared celebratory feast is still a sweet memory.
This year, I made my own birthday cake as my parents and I chatted around the kitchen island that morning. The batter made enough for a springform pan, with a little extra leftover to pour into two mini crocks (you know, for quality control tasting). Everyone devoured the little cakes right before my grandparents and I headed off to lunch. You could say it was an unconventional birthday: making my own cake, eating it as an appetizer, and no milestone age reached, as will be the case in two years (30? I still feel 19...). Turning 28 officially lands you in the "late 20's" era, a stage I embrace and welcome.
What about you? Can you conjure up a special celebratory meal from the past? I hope this cake makes an appearance at one of your future special, if not unconventional, occasions. In case you're wondering, tomorrow morning's breakfast totally counts.
BLUEBERRY SPELT CAKE
- 2 1/4 cups spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1 cup natural cane sugar
- 3/4 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Powdered sugar to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a medium-size cake pan (I used a 9" springform pan), tapping out any excess flour.
- Stir together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, and salt) in a mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk yogurt, milk, and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined and set aside.
- Using a mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy; add sugar and beat until well incorporated (scrape sides of bowl down well once or twice). Add eggs one at a time, mixing until batter is creamy.
- With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter, then 1/3 of the wet ingredients, stirring between each addition just enough to incorporate. Repeat until all ingredients are in the batter (making sure not to over mix).
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until cake is golden on top and springs back when touched (or a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean). Let cool in the pan a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- Lightly dust with powdered sugar to garnish before serving.