It seems July is more than half over and here I am feeling like it's not even begun. No sooner had I made it through the 4th, than my mother arrived shortly there after. It was kind of her to take pity on me and pay me a visit. Let's face it. It has been awfully quiet around here. Even the dogs were getting excited at the sound of the TV being turned on. My mom and I kept busy doing some real gourmet eating. I managed to eat at two restaurants I've never been to before. Wings N' Things is certainly not my idea of eating, but Mom preferred that over a burger, well, that is until she saw a Steak and Shake sign and we had to go there too. Seems it reminds her of the good old days. You can see she looks like a kid in a candy store as she happily ordered her favorites. I was planning on grilling shrimp, but steak burgers and a chocolate shake stole her heart!
So then 2 days after my mother left, Manservant returned for a 2 week "visit". He's been gallivanting around Vienna, Holland, Dusseldorf and London for about 7 1/2 weeks. Yes, he is going back and I am hoping to accompany him for some of it. Let's hope he gets this figured out fast because our China trip is less than two months away!
In the meantime I've managed to get two car batteries replaced, 4 yards of dirt spread, killed two wasp nests, destroyed Japanese beetles and managed to maintain the yard and the house and I guess, myself. Being away from someone is never easy and one quickly realizes what that person contributes even when it seems like they aren't. However then one gets used to said person being gone, and life is turned upside down when they return. I imagine that's what keeps us on our toes.
During these 7 1/2 weeks I've still been cooking and photographing, but somehow I've found myself busier than when he is home. Perhaps it is the extra jobs being thrown at me. Perhaps it is because I've occupied myself in different ways. Whatever the reason is, if you figure it out, please let me know.
In the meantime though, while you are pondering this deep thought, please feel free to munch on a slice of cake; preferably this luscious, dark chocolate studded, berry cake. It is a perfect summer cake. Easy to prepare, not overly sweet, can be made with any berry or jam, and is great topped with whipped cream or ice cream. I baked this one with raspberries, but I am now feeling the mood to give it a try with blueberries. Dark chocolate and blueberries sounds pretty good to me. And after all life may be getting kind of blue around here next week, when he departs again. Well, that is unless he takes me with him...
Berry and Dark Chocolate Studded Summer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart
Time to Make: Active: About 20-30 and Baking about an hour
6 T soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c plus 2 T sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c skim milk
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla
2 oz dark chocolate mega chips or a chopped bar (I chopped a Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar)
1/2 c berry jam (your choice)
12 oz fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" deep dish pie plate or a 10" spring form or cake pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing cup. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 c sugar until pale and fluffy with a mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and cream, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry ingredients gradually, beating until smooth. Stir in chocolate. Spread into prepared pan. Spread jam on top and swirl lightly into batter. Arrange your choice of berries on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 T of sugar on top.
Bake cake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter. I baked my cake for 65 minutes but yours may only take 50-60. Let cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and chocolate shavings. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
More Summer Desserts
Strawberry Spiral Biscuit Pie
Triple Berry Hand Pies
Blackberry, Blueberry and Basil Browned Butter Cobbler
Raspberry Crumble Tart
Grilled Fruit Pies in a Cornmeal Crust
Old Fashioned Skillet Cherry Cobbler