Blueberry Crumb Cake: When the crumbs fall in your lap

After I finished my lessons today, Daughters came up to me and basically tattled on the behavior of Son, who had, in their words, behaved badly at the park, teasing and being unnecessarily mean to some younger kids who were complete strangers.  I was so shocked and stunned I couldn’t react.  Why would my sweet, adorable, little ANGEL do such a thing?

I knew, however, that their words were true.  They were relating the story of my angel as he’s growing up and learning HOW to behave in social situations, and this particular behavior I found very offensive and troubling.  I came out and looked him straight in the eye and I said calmly, “I want you to think about what you’ve done, and after mommy cools down a bit, we are going to have a conversation.”
“I don’t WANT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION!”  Son sobbed, through a river full of tears.  Good, I thought to myself.  At least he feels something and he knows that something is up.
As I collected my thoughts in the shower, I knew I wanted to make a point about the meanness of words.  I wanted him to understand the pain that comes from being mean and how words, however small, can cut deeply and often do.  I collected my thoughts, thought of the Bible and the ministry of Jesus while He was on earth.  Ultimately, I wanted him to know of the damage and pain that hurtful words and teasing cause.
After everyone was clean, calm, and composed, we all sat down on the sofa, albeit #3 was less than attentive as he hates the feeling of being in trouble.  But we sat, discussed and I explained what the Bible taught us about how to treat others and ultimately what Jesus taught us about how to treat others.  I ended with what it means to be a victim of someone who is unkind and teases and says mean things.
“Mommy writes stories about her life, her work, her food and there are more than a few times where people think that saying mean or unkind things to her is okay.  But I want to tell you that oftentimes those words hurt mommy’s feelings and just because the person who says them to me is a stranger, it doesn’t make it easier to hear.  How do you think mommy feels when someone says something mean to her?  And how do you feel knowing that people say mean things to mommy?”
#3 proceeded to burst out into tears, some out of remorse, perhaps some out of the relief that it wasn’t going to be a super long tirade of mommy explaining all the things that he had done wrong.  I tried to take the crumbs of pain from my own life and turn them into something of value and of learning for Children.  I’m not sure if they’ll remember it the next time the temptation to tease someone but hopefully they’ve learned from my own crumbly experience and it’ll become a small part of their own learning.
I made this delicious blueberry crumb cake this morning, without any thought of the crazy mental gymnastics I’d end up doing in order to figure out how best to react to the afternoon’s bullying/teasing situation.  The cake is buttery, totally rich and delectable, and if you’re a person who likes crumb (like me!) then you’re going to love the rich buttery wonderfulness that is in this cake.  This certainly isn’t low calorie or a diet food, but it’s a delicious way to showcase blueberries and a more-than-nice-enough cake to share with others.  I shared mine with teachers, neighbors, and friends.  
The recipe has two parts as you have to make the crumb topping separately from the cake itself, but making crumb topping (melt butter, add sugar and flour) is so easy you might decide that you want to add a crumb topping on everything.  Make the cake, either in a bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer and sprinkle with a ton of blueberries and you’re ready to go!
Blueberry Crumb Cake 
(adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food June 2008)
Makes 1 8X8 inch square, serving 6 to 8 people
Crumb Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
½  cup packed light-brown sugar
¼  teaspoon salt
1 cup of all purpose flour
In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and  salt; add 1 cup flour, and mix with a fork until large moist crumbs form. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.  (Refrigeration really helps set the crumb topping so that when you go to bake it you get a gorgeous topping and not a bunch of melted stuff.)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour 
¼   teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon baking powder
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
11 oz fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350.   Line an 8X8 baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang of paper if possible, and grease well with either butter or cooking spray.
Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture. 
Spread batter evenly in pan and sprinkle with blueberries.  On top of blueberries, sprinkle chilled crumb topping.
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.
Printable recipe

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