Have you ever tried to bake a birthday cake while you were on vacation?
Tim and I celebrated our son Rocco’s first birthday while on a relaxing summer vacation in Asheville, North Carolina. We were living temporarily in a teeny-tiny rental, with a teeny-tiny kitchen.
We were enjoying the small, quiet moments: we relished slowing down time, playing with Rocco on the rug in the living room, reading books late into the evening, cooking simple meals together with ingredients from our minimal pantry space.
In fact, cooking in a little kitchen with a small amount of storage space is kind of like shopping with a smaller budget, or eating on a restricted diet. It proved to be a boon for creativity in the kitchen.
While my home kitchen is stocked near to bursting with a hoard of ingredients, my rental kitchen was full of possibility.
What goes on the grocery list when you’re starting with just the basics of butter, eggs, olive oil and salt? What meals are worth making, when you must purchase every ingredient that you might need that week?
A simple birthday cake for Rocco was the top priority for us.
For our blueberry-loving baby, we ended up getting a bunch of fresh blueberries, plump and sweet during the summer season. We bought other essential ingredients that we would be sure to use throughout our vacation: eggs, sugar, kefir, butter, and einkorn flour.
While I baked the layers, Tim hand-whipped some heavy cream with powdered sugar for the topping. The resulting dessert was rustic and delicious.
All three of us enjoyed it, not just the one whose birthday brought it about. We ate it for breakfast (pretty much our substitute for a blueberry muffin!) and snacks until finally, on the day when we’d be leaving, it was completely gone!
You and your family will enjoy my recipe as well, whether you’re at home in your own cozy kitchen, or on the road exploring new locales.Print
If you love fresh summer blueberries, showcase them in this sweet einkorn flour cake topped with freshly whipped cream.
For the Cake:
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain full-fat kefir or buttermilk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose einkorn flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
For the Topping:
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream (16 fl oz)
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Fresh blueberries, for garnish
For the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour one 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking pan, or two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, stir together coconut sugar and butter until creamy. Mix in the eggs until just incorporated, then mix in the kefir and water.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the einkorn flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir the dry mixture into the prepared wet mixture just until combined. The mixture will be thick.
- Gently fold in the blueberries, being careful not to overmix and break the berries.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool slightly for 15 minutes before removing from the pans to cool completely on the rack.
For the Topping:
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, prepare the topping. Whisk together the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Decorate the cake with the whipped cream topping, and garnish with fresh blueberries. Serve.
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: cake, blueberry, summer, einkorn flour, blueberry cake, whipped cream
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mix Together the Wet Ingredients
In a large bowl (you will be using this bowl to add all of your dry ingredients during a later step – so make sure it’s big!), stir together the coconut sugar and melted unsalted butter.
Stir in the eggs until just incorporated, then mix in the kefir and water.
Step 2 – Whisk Together the Dry Ingredients
Don’t have einkorn flour? Not really sure what it is? Learn how to use einkorn flour here!
Or just substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour. We’re easy.
You can even mix flours, as well – I used a little bit of oat flour that I ground from whole oats in my blender to get some flavor and textural difference. Keep in mind that if you’re baking entirely with whole grain flours, you may need to adjust the moisture content of the batter a bit.
Step 3 – Combine
Add the dry mixture into the prepared wet mixture, and stir just until combined. The mixture will be very thick.
Step 4 – Add the Fruit
Gently stir in the blueberries, being careful to not crush them as you are mixing. You can use either frozen or fresh blueberries – both options will work beautifully in this recipe.
Step 5 – Bake
Spray your baking pans with cooking oil, and dust them with a good coating of flour.
Use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish if you want a casual, family-style dessert that you can cut into squares in the pan. For a more classic look with layers, use two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans.
Scoop your batter into the pan or pans.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on what size pans you use, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool slightly for 15 minutes. Cool completely in the pan if you are using a larger baking dish, or remove from the cake pans to cool completely on the rack.
Step 6 – Decorate
Once they have cooled completely, prepare the whipped cream. Whisk together the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar by hand, until stiff peaks form. You can also use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment for this (but if you don’t have those available on vacation, that’s okay!).
Decorate with the whipped cream, and garnish with fresh blueberries.
Serve and enjoy!
Blueberries Are Just the Start
With bountiful berries available in the summer months, you can change up the type of fruit that you mix into the cake batter.
Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries… all will be delicious!
Just be careful mixing in the more delicate fruits, like raspberries and blueberries – because this is a thicker batter, the risk of crushing them will be even greater. Use a large flexible spatula, and fold them in gently.
Will it still be delicious if a few do get mashed in there? Of course! But I love cutting into a slice of cake, with a full, big, luscious berry waiting to be eaten!
Do you have a favorite summertime cake to make from scratch? What are your sweet memories of celebrating your child’s first birthday? I’d love to know! Leave a message below in the comment section.
For more cakes with bursts of fresh fruit, try these recipes next:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 13, 2016. Last updated: May 14, 2019 at 14:12 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.