Back to baking

Edward and I have developed a sort of motto over the course of our holiday. We keep saying, “This is the best thing we’ve done on our trip so far!” Then the next day, “No, this is the best thing we’ve done so far!” We’re starting to sound like a broken record. Or a skipping iPod, as the kids apparently say these days…

The latest “best thing” we’ve done is visit a family cottage on Kenosee Lake in Moose Mountain Provincial Park, Saskatchewan. The property first belonged to my great grandfather, who had a little cabin which my mum would visit during her childhood summers. Later on my great aunt built a four-season house there, which is now owned by her daughters. Lucky for us, they are
very generous in encouraging everyone to come out and enjoy the property.

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We love cottage life. Some people can’t “do” cottages because they’re not very good at unplugging and sitting still. But Edward and I both excel at wasting a lot of time and accomplishing absolutely nothing, so cottages work well for us. If I consider it, I suppose we actually did quite a lot while we were at the cottage: we went on a horse ride, walked a birch forest trail and got bitten alive, and canoed out to a pelican colony. But we also pootled around and read our books. Oh, and did I mention I baked?

After countless roadside picnics and restaurant meals, it was so nice to barbecue and bake and find my way around a kitchen again. And because so many different people come out to this cottage on a regular basis and bring basics with them, this is one well-stocked kitchen! I adapted this lemon blueberry cake recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, one of the few cookbooks I found in the house. I’m often a little wary when I try a new cake recipe, especially one I just stumble upon, but this was a real success – light and summery and perfect for tea time, whether you’re lucky enough to be at the lake or not.

Blueberry Lemon Cake
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup blueberries (preferably wild)

1 cup icing sugar, sifted
Fresh lemon juice, as needed

Preheat the oven to 325 F / 160C. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the lemon juice and blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth down the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 65 minutes, until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cake out. Meanwhile, make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar with a spoonful of lemon juice, adding more juice in tiny amounts until you have a thin, smooth, spreadable icing. Use a pastry brush to brush the icing all over the cake while it is still warm.