The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Apartment Exchange Program and 101 Cookbook’s Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake

Is it crazy to exchange houses/apartments with someone for a week or two (or more)? Most likely this person will be one step up from a stranger in an interesting city or town with lots of tasty food and new people. Roaming around a new place is always on my top 3 things to do in life…maybe I will let the other 2 out later. I know way too much about where my friends live that I don’t want near their fungicide in their medicine cabinets. (I watched Seinfeld last night.) Actually, it’s their locale that I don’t have interest in because I’ve been there, done that. A small town in Indiana is not my idea of an exciting getaway. I was born and raised there. I love going back for visits but definitely not my choice in this “exchange program.” There are some other family/friends that I wouldn’t mind exchanging with but I can’t see that panning out.

What if you bring a friend or spouse? I know Greg will want to go and share this experience with me. Would you be charged, do you bring your own towels and sheets? Is southern Minnesota a destination anyone would want to go to? I should probably move somewhere that people are interested in before tackling this but who knows, maybe someone wants to trade places and feel the frigidness of -20 degrees in February. Any masochists out there?

I was thinking about this when I read that Heidi, at 101 Cookbooks, did just the above stated adventure in Paris! I have written about my adoration of her life and style here. I see it only fitting that I share one of her recipes: old-fashioned blueberry cake. This was actually, according to Heidi, from a 1974 Gourmet magazine recipe-it will be missed. She rewrote it and stated the importance of using organic unsulphered molasses, which I love. Simple, it has rustic appeal and amazing flavor. I only added a little sugar to the frozen blueberries and changed the cooking time.

Old-fashioned blueberry cake

101 Cookbook’s Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake
Serves 8-10

1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
5 tbsp milk (split)
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
2 eggs
3 tbsp unsalted butter, slightly melted
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries (although fresh would be fine too)
1/4 cup sugar-optional
1 tsp flour
powdered sugar and/or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix cider vinegar and 3 tbsp milk and in another bowl, mix 2 tbsp milk, molasses and eggs. Mix both of the wet mixes together and add to the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the butter and toss the blueberries with the sugar (optional) and flour in another bowl, then fold into the batter.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when it’s done. It was at this point that the top was done but not quite inside so I placed foil over the top to prevent burning. I cooked it another 10 minutes and it was perfect, except for the small amount of top that came off with the foil-oops. Let it cool and dust with powdered sugar and top with whipping cream (optional) when serving.

10 thoughts on “Apartment Exchange Program and 101 Cookbook’s Old-Fashioned Blueberry Cake

  1. Is southern Minnesota a destination anyone would want to go to? I should probably move somewhere that people are interested in before tackling this but who knows, maybe someone wants to trade places and feel the frigidness of -20 degrees in February.

    I think you have to look at the good as opposed to the bad. Yes, it’s -20 in February but there are some great things about winter here that people (myself included) forget:

    1. If it’s -20 it’s generally clear blue skies with a clean air feeling that I have not experienced anywhere else. Looking out the window with the sun shining and glistening off the snow really makes you believe it’s 90 degrees outside.

    2. This is one of the only places in the country where, even though it’s unbearably cold compared to everywhere else, life continues–moves on as if nothing has changed.

    3. When the temperature swings from -20 to +40 degrees overnight, you can walk outside in a t-shirt and say, “man it’s hot!” 60 degree swings in temperature are wonderful.

    That all said, I would love to do something like this if I had the ability. Unfortunately I am positive my wife would look at me like I was crazy and tell me instead to concentrate on going to work and hope that someday we’ll be able to retire to our cabin in Montana (a state I desperately want to retire to even though I’ve never seen in person) on 150 acres of wooded loveliness. But there is hope.

    1. I am just not a person that enjoys winter.

      Our first winter here sucked last year. I was expecting more snow, less wind and less wimps. Why 2-inches are a snow emergency state-wide is beyond me? I understand in the metro areas but here, in tiny town, it was a bitch. No parking for hours and hours, not an apartment-friendly area I guess. We had to play musical chairs with our cars all day long and feared being towed if we received any amount of snow overnight.

      Plus, the car wouldn’t start once which caused quite a problem for maintenance (even after we called to report it ). If you weren’t home all day, you could expect your car (if you owned more than one vehicle) to be towed or a foot of snow in front of your garage, which seems contradictory to plowing for the tenant’s convenience. Not only that but you couldn’t park on the street so you basically had to drive around for the 2 hours, if you were home, it took to clear an inch. Stupid cycle all winter long.

      We always had to clear ourselves out in the other places we’ve lived so it was our problem if we couldn’t get out but I have never lived somewhere where 2 inches was a big deal and never have I lived somewhere that towed when any amount of snow fell. I am also used to less school closings and delays with such a mediocre amount of snow, which adds to the wimp factor for us. I don’t want anyone in danger but we went on with life in Indiana with 6-7 inches of snow, which doesn’t seem to happen here and that was just how it went.

      I do appreciate the beauty of the snow but I can’t get it out of my head that it will be a HUGE issue this winter. Plus, we don’t own any property so to walk around or enjoy any part of the scenery would require driving and driving or sharing with a ton of people and paying for it. We miss having land to wander around on. So true about the huge swing in temp overnight, I was saying it was hot at 40 degrees. Montana would be wonderful and I know what you mean, I haven’t been to Oregon but I am convinced that is my sanctuary. Greg has been there a few times and loved it.

  2. Hi Annie — I came across your blog and having just returned from a 3 week-trouble free exchange in Paris, thought I would comment! Granted I live in Manhattan, and responded to a couple on Craigslist who wanted to vacation in NYC, but if you can find someone looking for a country getaway in MN, I would definitely recommend it! The experience went really smoothly. We left sheets/towels for our French guest, along with coffee, wine, etc. They in turn did the same, plus leaving us their Metro unlimited tickets. No money exchanged. No formal agreement signed or even references checked. It was all on the trust system. Good luck!

    1. Europe, I can’t believe I haven’t been there yet. I feel like it’s been calling for a while. Enjoy that trip, bouchonfor2! Where are you going? I could probably read it on your blog so I will get over there.

  3. They actually have a website that deals in home exchanges coincidentally enough its call

    Question what is the difference between unsulphured molasses and just regular molasses?

    1. I am looking at that site right now and wikipedia. Thank you for pointing it my way!

      Unsulphered (organic) doesn’t include preservatives in the extraction process and uses mature canes unlike sulphered, so no sulpher dioxide, according to wikipedia.

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