This post was created in partnership with Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Spread with Yogurt.
Hello from New York, where the heat of Indian Summer is in full swing. I’m prepping for tonight’s NYC book launch, but will save those updates for next week. Today, there’s a breakfast cake, and kindness, and a few thoughts on my time in Portland, during the raging wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge. I was there to celebrate my friends Sophia and Andy at their wedding, but just days prior the state had issued a mandate not to go outside. By the weekend, by the time their ceremony rolled around, the sky began to clear. Watching people come together—choosing to prioritize love and community—in the midst of the fire was bracing, heartening.
I kept thinking about kindness, about choosing kindness over fear, and about ways I summon this human solvent. I do it through story, through touch, through giving time and energy and love even when I think I have none left. And, yes, I do it through baking.
In baking, too, I find kindness. Tenderness in whisking salt, flour, baking powder, cinnamon. Calm in emulsifying maple, vanilla, and lemon juice. Precision in washing, slicing, pitting plums. I do not have answers, but I do have life-giving ingredients. Their surety is an anchor.
This breakfast cake is particularly good for morning contemplations and afternoon tea. It’s not overly sweet (no refined sugar here), not too dense, and just the right amount rich and tangy. I was able to use Brummel & Brown’s new Organic Buttery Spread with Yogurt in the batter, melted to golden perfection. And it showed up, unmelted, in the light walnut crumble on top. While it added a lovely degree of buttery crumb to the cake, I couldn’t resist slathering the finished product with it, too. It’s a creamy, perfectly salted dream of a shmear.
And during, and after, the shmear—once we’ve shared kindness in the form of breakfast cake, there’s the remembrance of how good it is just to be together. No matter what land is burning, or flooding, or crumbling. Where there is community, there is strength.
Sophia and Andy’s wedding reminded me of this tenderness. I came home and I baked. I sat with poetry. I took plum cake to friends, slathered with buttery shmear.
Because there’s kindness in buttery shmears, too. Come over, and I’ll warm up some breakfast cake for you.
LEMON, WALNUT & PLUM BREAKFAST CAKE.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon melted Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Yogurt Spread
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon almond milk or liquid of choice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon + 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups sliced plums, about 1/2" thick
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Yogurt Spread
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 12” cast iron skillet with Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Spread with Yogurt, and dust it with flour, shaking off any excess. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk the melted Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Spread with Yogurt, maple syrup, almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet, and fold them in using a silicone spatula. Fold in 1 cup of sliced plums. Pour into prepared skillet and top with remaining 1/4 cup sliced plums.
In a high speed blender or food processor, grind the walnuts into a fine meal. Empty them into a medium bowl, and whisk with flour, and salt (only if nuts are not salted). Add Brummel & Brown Organic Buttery Spread with Yogurt and maple syrup, and mix with a spatula until you’ve got a wet sand-like texture. Sprinkle evenly over the top.
Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.