I’m a 9 on the enneagram. The peacemaker. I love homeostasis, a 98.6°F basal body temperature, for everything to be right in my world. I tend to be easy going and agreeable, except in the presence of oysters, too tight of jeans, and the feeling of disappointing someone. That also makes me a people pleaser. It’s my biggest asset and my greatest deficit. I’m very good at self deprecating talk, but that’s not news to any of you. And if I get overwhelmed, I tend towards sloth. I said that way too fast, I tend towards sllloooooootttttthhhhhh. Which is how I’m feeling at the moment.
This post is sponsored by Driscoll’s and The FeedFeed. Here’s the secret to why Driscoll’s berries are always so flavorful. They follow the sun. So when nothing is growing out of the frozen Minnesota earth this time of year, my Driscoll’s organic blackberries are still juicy and flavorful. To learn more about Driscoll’s #BerryTogether campaign, head this way. Thank you for supporting the companies that support me.
I’ve always said, if you meet me at the end of the year, give me another chance at the start of the year. With the craze of the holidays, too many end of year deadlines*, and the constant message to buy more, more, more, I’m the worst version of myself. The weight of all the chaos and expectations is heavy enough to nail me to the couch. And yet, the people pleaser part of me wants to keep flitting away to keep everyone around me happy.
*I make most of my income at the end of the year. Actively working on trying to change that for my mental state and overall happiness. Sharing my new approach to a minimalist work life in the new year.
Underneath the surface of this inner turmoil, heightened by the end of the year chaos, are a bunch of should’s. I should write more holiday posts. I should host a party. I should send a holiday card. I should, should, should.
After one too many should’s over brunch, a much wiser friend said, “Melissa, stop should-ing all over yourself.” I laughed and choked on my coffee and said amen. We know these things in our head, but sometimes we just need someone to give us permission to stop should-ing all over ourselves. If you’re a number 9, if the end of the year stresses you out, if you are the queen of should’s, well then, I hope you can laugh and take her advice, too.
And if you find yourself saying, I should wake up early to make a special breakfast for holiday guests, then try this make-ahead Blackberry Coffee Cake recipe, and sleep in. It’s always best the next day. The ingredient list is long but familiar and the stripe of purple running through the center of the cake is stunning. Add fresh thyme for a touch of savory, and search for Driscoll’s Organic Blackberries. They follow the sun to grow juicy berries all year long. (So juicy Hal stole and consumed a whole container from my recipe-testing stash.)
Blackberry Coffee Cake
A 4-part coffee cake composed of a sour cream cake, a stripe of blackberry thyme, a crumbly streusel, and a messy glaze. Best made the day before serving.
- 3 tbsp. cold salted butter, sliced
- 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
Blackberry Thyme Filling
- 6 oz. Driscoll's Blackberries
- 1 tbsp. pure cane sugar
- sprig of thyme
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 c. pure cane sugar
- 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 c. wheat pastry flour
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Note: this is best made the day before serving.
Place all the streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside and allow the butter to warm up slightly while you compile the coffee cake.
Prepare the blackberry thyme filling. Rinse the berries and drain. In a small saucepan add all the blackberry thyme ingredients. With the heat on low, simmer for about 5 minutes, crushing the blackberries once they soften.
Begin making the coffee cake. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until well combined (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, thyme, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Once the butter mixture is ready, add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Add the sour cream and vanilla, still beating on medium-low speed, until evenly combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour in 3 additions until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Batter will be dense.
Into the prepared cake pan, add a thin layer of batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Carefully pull the batter to the edge of the pan to create both a seam and a bowl. Remove the thyme sprig from the blackberry mixture and pour evenly over the bottom layer, trying to keep the mixture from touching the edge of the pan. Add dollops of remaining batter and carefully smooth to the edge. Don't worry if some of the soupy berry mixture pops through. It's too be expected. Set aside.
Massage the streusel ingredients into a crumble and top the cake. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the center is baked through. Once the top is throughly browned, about 30 minutes in, tent with foil. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Carefully run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Remove from pan and place the cake on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the glaze once the cake has cooled. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Allow glaze to harden, about 5 minutes, before serving or storing. Store covered for up to 3 days.