I am not super creative with Lego. I can only pound play-dough into shapes for so long. I think Elmo referring to himself solely in the third person is kind of annoying. I tire of driving cars off coffee tables quickly. I do not like ‘rounders’ which is basically like tag on a jungle gym…. with your eyes closed. I, basically, do not rule play land.
This is not to say I don’t like little kids. I love them. I actually spend quite a lot of time with them. My best friend, her two darlings and I have a standing weekly date. Another friend’s princess who (much to my delight) wears dresses every day has invited me to come by. We have a certain curly-haired ‘little man’ back in our lives from a year spent away. My husband recently had a KFC date with a sassy 6-year-old which her mother and I were invited to join. My friend’s imaginative son welcomes us into church on Sunday mornings alongside his Papa, the pastor, with little pieces of advice like: “wear your seat belt.” And there is, of course, my enthusiastic little sister who I hang out with every Thursday.
I tell you all this to prove that I do like little kids. I delight in them. I do not rule kid play land because I am not particularly partial to doing “kid” things. Let’s just say that I am not the cool aunt who comes by with a trunk full of water guns, food coloring and a bag of candy. First, I don’t really love running around screaming. Second, ruining my clothes with colored water sounds like a bad time and three, I think kids are completely wacky when they eat candy and I prefer to leave them to their mother’s when they succumb to the sugar craze.
The women I know, who have kids, do rule play land. They also rule snack land, whipping gold fish and raisins out of their purses at the just the right time. And let’s not forget, they rule nap land, manners land, sick kid land, discipline land and snuggle land – they rule the kingdom of kids, period.
I do not. I prefer to do calmer, less cool things, like read and walk and bake and eat. Lucky for me the kids I know like these things, at times, too.
My favorite dimpled little guy and I made chocolate chip cookies one afternoon. I had all the ingredients measured out, thus ready for the best part – the stirring part. So, I pulled a stool to the counter, lifted him giggling, high in the sky and brought him back down to land on it, made sure his little feet were steady and handed him a spoon.
He was ready. I was ready. He was smiling. I was smiling. He turned to me and did not say “Oh Beff, I love stirring,” nor did he say “Oh Beff, I love cookies.” No, what he did say was: “Oh Beff, I love standing on a stool.” Darn it, the enthusiasm with which that sentence settled into my ears let me know that his mama would never (has never) stood him on a stool. But at this point, the damage was done – I had corrupted the stool, no longer was it a place for bums to sit on, but also a place for feet to stand on, oops. The damage was already done, so we stayed the stirring course and made cookie dough. And when he handed me the spoon, saying it was now my turn, he looked at me as I stirred and said “you are doing a good job, Beff.” Whew, I may have undermined a feet on furniture rule, I may not rule play land, I may be the only person who despises Elmo, but I can stir and I do it best with help from a sweet little guy giving compliments even if he is standing on a stool.
This cake was made with the help of that little blonde princess I mentioned earlier; the dear who wears dresses every day and so sweetly, calls me Miss Beth. She’s sort of a pro. You can tell she bakes with her mama. She was pouring in ingredients, stirring them together, folding in the berries and even managed to eat a couple of the blueberries as we worked, a girl after my own heart… Who doesn’t want to eat a little of the batter or the berries as they work?
We chose to make this cake in particular because her lovely mother, who helped me a whole lot with all these photos (and given me so much photo advice), cannot eat sugar. So she had the cake without the glaze and declared it “so good” and I had it with the glaze and thought it divine. And, what did the princess think? She gobbled it up and wanted more.
Blueberry Maple Tea Cake
Adapted slightly from Cookie + Kate
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp pastry flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, egg, milk and melted butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the battered into your prepared pan and bake for about 23 to 26 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
3 Tbsp real maple syrup
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup and salt, then stir in the powdered sugar. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Pour the warm glaze over the cake and use a pastry brush to distribute the glaze evenly. Or if you have those who would prefer it without, cut the cake into pieces and pour glaze over individual slices. Let the cake cool completely.