I am back (briefly) from my home away from home in the mountains – as always, camp was a balm for the soul that I didn’t know how much I needed until I felt the afterglow.
There’s something intangible and so special about that place and those people – my camp family will always see me and love me for who I am.
Words aren’t even really sufficient – it’s more of a feeling and less of something that I can properly explain. Even as a director where I’m actually technically ‘working’ while I’m there for the session (albeit fun work), I still come home feeling deeply rested and generally better about the other aspects of my life. Camp magic is a real thing. Something to do with laughing until I cry, sleeping under the stars, smelling campfire in my sweatshirts, and jumping in the lake with a cadre of women who have either watched me grow up or grown up alongside me.
This was year 18 at this magical place – almost at the two decade mark and going strong. I already can’t wait until next year! Even better, we passed our ACA reaccreditation with flying colors, which just clinches an all-around great camp year. Since words don’t really do it justice, I’m leaving a bunch of photos here instead.
I am only back for about a week and a half before C and I leave again – this time to the east coast for some family reunion beach time, hooray! The beach is calling my name. Time for a true vacation.
In the meantime, I baked a thing! Had to squeeze something in so you didn’t wonder what happened to me – this one was thrown together from what I had on hand, since I’m avoiding buying anything else before I leave again.
Enter: the black sesame blueberry cake! Amazingly grey colored and fantastic tasting. It’s super simple to throw together – if you don’t have black sesame, no worries; I’m including a sub in the recipe notes. Great with coffee (what isn’t) or for dessert. It’s lightly sweet and nutty; highly adaptable for any summer fruit you have around. I grabbed a bag of blueberries I’d frozen before I left for camp, which worked perfectly – but anything that resembles a stone fruit or berry will do nicely.
Happy baking! Get after that summer fruit while it’s freshest. Have a great weekend!
Black Sesame and Blueberry Cake
Adapted from Food52, here! I tweaked it a bit for personal preferences and am very happy with the result. I may try it in a slightly smaller pan for a thicker cake, next time I make it. Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 8 or 9″ cake.
1 c black sesame seeds*
1 1/2 c almond flour
1/4 c oat flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c pure maple syrup
1/4 c unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 c blueberries, fresh or frozen
*if you don’t have black sesame or don’t want to use them, omit them and increase the almond flour by 1c
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cake pan (8 or 9″) with parchment paper. A springform would also work well for this I think, though I haven’t tried it.
In a food processor, grind the sesame seeds until fine (just don’t let them go until they start turning into tahini). Once ground, add them to a large bowl. Add in almond and oat flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients, until the batter is just combined. Scrape it into the prepared pan, smooth out and top with blueberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (if your fruit is super juicy, it might go for a few more minutes). Remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Slice and serve warm or cool. Keeps for several days in the fridge.