Thursday, July 9, 2015

Berry Buttermilk Bundt

Uh-oh, summer is weird and I'm in an in-between. I was just home for the Twin Cities Improv Festival, and I'm going back in a few weeks for the Minnesota Fringe. "See you soon!" I earnestly said to all of my friends in Minneapolis, meaning it, remembering that I shouldn't get homesick because I'd be back in a hot minute. Time slipped away in June and I reassured myself that the things that didn't happen then would happen soon -- late-night happy hour at Chino Latino with Taj, Noodles with Tara, a night at the cabin. All of that is great. But now that I'm back in LA and playing catch-up here, I feel like I can't do all of my business before I leave again. I'm writing things and recording my podcast (plug!) and getting drinks with friends and performing -- extra careful to not push anything in my calendar to my Minnesota time. I'm very tired. All I really want to do is watch BBC's Great War Diaries on Netflix and eat tacos. If a friend wants to come over and do that, perfect. I can also do it alone. Wouldn't be the first time. Even trips to Target have felt laborious and that SHOULDN'T HAPPEN.

When I do go home in a few weeks, it will not be a vacation. It will be incredibly fun and friend-filled and exciting, but I will not sleep and I will get sick. I'll drink too much beer. The Minnesota Fringe is like a weird theater camp for adults. Almost all of my friends make shows -- we craft intricate schedules to see them all and spend every night at the same bar celebrating. I adore those 10 days in August, even if I'm exhausted at the end.

I wrote a play called "The Mrs." It's sort of about polygamy and my dear friend Sam is directing and some of my favorite people are in it. It's a lucky dream to write something, hand it off and then see the finished product -- when everyone else did the hard work of putting it together. All I had to do was write it a few months ago, which I did -- often in my bed and usually without pants.

I'm also in a really excellent show conceived and produced by Tom Reed and Anna Weggel-Reed called "Couple Fight." They asked some of their favorite couples to script out the worst, real-life fight they've had, and I get to be involved even though I'm single -- they asked me and my BFF Maureen. We have had one real fight and it involves Pictionary and turns out those wounds are still fresh, because it was no picnic to write. We're fine. Everything's fine. :)

So, in a few weeks, I go back to Minnesota for all of that extra delightful craziness. But in the meantime, I have got to find my center. HELLO, CENTER, WHERE ARE YOU?

Bundt cakes ground me. They're a refreshing go-to when life gets crazy and I can't even think about the layers of my schedule, let alone the layers of a cake. Just mix it all together and pour it in. Bake for an hour and you're done. The flip? Okay, the flip can be stressful, as we all know. But when you nail it? I don't know if there's a better feeling. Rarely have I experienced a clean bundt flip that ISN'T accompanied by an actual cheer, even if I'm alone. Especially if I'm alone. I have to believe it's exactly how an Olympic gymnast feels when they nail a complicated floor routine. Basically, I'm a gymnast.

I had the extreme pleasure of being invited to join a book club here in LA. I haven't been this excited about social inclusion since I got to attend my first boy/girl birthday party in the St. Louis Park Rec Center community room (YES there was dancing and NO I didn't grind with anyone, but it was just so nice to be there, ya know?). I wasn't going to show up to book club meeting #1 empty-handed like some kind of animal, so this bundt seemed like the way to go. Get ready. This puppy's seasonal as shit.

Berry Buttermilk Bundt


2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Glaze (optional)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice of 1 lemon 
1 tablespoon very soft butter 

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the hell out of your bundt pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl, and set aside.
With your standing mixer (or... hands), cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest, until extra fluffy. You'll know when to stop. You'll think, wow, didn't realize these ingredients could become "fluffy," yet here we are.
Add the eggs one at a time, gently mixing between additions.
Beat in vanilla.
Add about 1/3 of your dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk, and so on, until it's allll in one bowl.
Let's not overmix, okay?
In your now-empty medium bowl, toss the berries with about 2 tablespoons of flour, until well-coated.
Gently add the berries to your batter, carefully mixing until evenly distributed. If the berries become destroyed by your spatula, and that's the WORST thing that happens in your day, things aren't so bad.
Plop the batter evenly into your bundt pan.

Utilizing my new star-shaped bundt from Nordicware!

Bake for about 55-60 minutes. Use the toothpick test to determine if it's done -- I checked at 50 and it was still a reallll wet mess, but by 55, it was coming out clean. So, once you get close, check often.
Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate. 
Take the opportunity for personal reflection and judgement, depending on whether or not you are granted a clean release. 
Cool completely.

Stuck the landing. USA!

If you're into the idea of a citrus-y glaze that may or may not look inappropriate when drizzled:
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and sofffffft butter in a bowl.
Drizzle away.

This is another cake that could be socially appropriate to eat for breakfast. The berries make it tart and refreshing, and the buttermilk base creates a smooth and moist situation. Moist situation. Deal with THAT.

Happy baking!

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