Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Some days I feel as if I've grown up suddenly, my personality changed and shaped by time and the world around me. It's as if I woke up one morning a different person, but I can't seem to pinpoint what those differences may be. Some days I feel the same as ever, my nature indistinguishable from the eight year old girl who walked to school each day with a heavy backpack on her back. As much as I'd like to believe I've grown into a young woman, it's easy to feel like a child posing as an adult, identifying with the Hollywood films where teenagers wake up to a thirty year old body and realize they can eat as much ice cream as they'd like (or, in my case, cake).

I think the truth lies somewhere in between, a mixture of new characters and old habits evolving over time.

Some days I do things that embarrass me, mortified by the words that came out of my mouth or an action I took in a moment of uncertainty. In the small moments of personal shame that follow, I vow never to do or say such a thing again. Sometimes I have similar moments with similar circumstances (I am, after all, the same person often making the same mistakes as I strive to change), the desire to grow up and be someone else never more present. Some days I surprise myself, doing something brave or confident and, though it seems out of character for a moment, I wonder if this is what it means to mature and grow a little wiser.

When I go back and watch old family movies, it makes me realize how my true nature really hasn't changed as much as I imagined. As I view the home movies with my family, I'll often comment on what's happening, only to have the much younger version of me make the exact same observation using identical words a moment later. Though I often share a kindred spirit with a younger me, it's eerie to visually see how little I've changed over time, at least in some aspects.

When I was younger I thought I would be a completely new person as each major stage hit my life. I thought I would feel differently somehow, when I went from elementary school to middle and from middle to high schoolโ€”older, wiser, less shy, more confident. As each new stage approached, I was left with the realization that I wasn't changed in any significant way than before (except, perhaps, I had grown a little taller).

The changes our natures go through as people, as individuals, as children as much as adults, are so small, so modest, that if you weren't paying attention perhaps you'd never notice the transitions. I catch these minute changes when I no longer shy away from conversations with people I don't know. I uncover them when I do something brave and strong that I would have been intimidated with months or years before. Perhaps I notice them most when meeting with old friends I haven't seen in awhile, realizing how different we've both become.

Today, I may be a completely different person than I was yesterday. I think, however, that it's for the better.

This Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake is a gift to share with friends and family. The cake is moist and light, with a hint of ginger and an abundance of blackberries. The cake is topped with a crumble topping, which lends a bright, sweet brown sugar flavor to the slightly tart berries. With a dusting of powdered sugar, this cake makes a lovely addition to a summer evening.

One Year Ago: Plum Clafouti

Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Yields 1 9-inch cake

Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (112 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (114 grams) sour cream
12 ounces blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch cake pan (or cast iron pan).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Mix in the sour cream. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated. The batter will be thick. Spread into the prepared pan and top with blackberries, pressing them into the batter slightly.

Crumble Topping
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (42 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, flour, cinnamon, and salt until well mixed.

Crumble the topping on top of the cake; the dough will be a bit sticky so try to get small pieces evenly distributed. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for several minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.