Mum’s Blueberry Cake
Every so often, I crave a dish that my mom used to make for family dinners and dig out her tattered, handwritten recipe book that’s held precariously together with old masking tape. Recently, I flipped through the yellowed pages in search of the sticky post-it note marking the recipe for “Mum’s Blueberry Cake” (which is actually Virginia Hospitality’s Blueberry Cake!). The cake itself is delicious, but the personal notes and revisions written between the lines of the recipe make this cake a family tradition.
I love this collection of recipes, recorded diligently since 1975 in a journal issued by Parks Canada, where my father worked for many years. This was the agenda that was given to employees to keep daily notes. Pasted into the front and back covers are notes and charts on conversions from celsius to fahrenheit, teaspoons to millimetres. Recipe sources are noted: “Cloud Biscuits – Bluenose Cookbook, page 18” and “Parmesan Cheese Chicken Bake – Aunt Bernice”. Some recipes are labelled “very good” while others are crossed out, never to be bothered with again. The book takes me into my mother’s world as a young parent and her daily challenge of feeding a busy family of four.
I wanted to make this cake for myself and my sister, so I sourced some local blueberries, picked up the baking supplies and got started. I really don’t bake very often (I love cooking savoury foods that I can whip up without following a recipe), so when I noticed this recipe listed the ingredients only, no instructions, I was a little confused. But really, how hard couldit be? I mixed the dry ingredients together, the wet ingredients together, combined and then poppedit in the oven (where I kept a careful eye on it). Fortunately, it’s a really simple cake, so it turned out perfectly!
I’ll be copying a few of my favourites from this recipe book to keep on hand for myself - and hopefully for others - to enjoy in years to come.